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In debates, voters want to hear most about terrorism and the economy

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If the 2016 presidential debates move forward as planned, voters have some clear preferences about what issues they want to hear the candidates talk about more – or less – in those forums. Given the chance to decide how much time is spent on each issue, voters would allocate more time to discussions of the candidates’ plans on keeping the U.S. safe from terrorism and on economic growth and much less time to discussion of abortion policy.

In a Pew Research CenterAmerican Trends Panelsurvey conducted in June, 3,767 registered voters were asked to imagine they were moderating a 100-minute national debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and to allocate that time across 10 issue areas.

On average, voters allocated 15 of a total 100 minutes to hearing the candidates’ plans for keeping the U.S. safe from terrorism. Just over half of voters (53%) earmarked more than 10 minutes to this topic, while only 18% gave it less than 10 minutes (29% gave it exactly 10 minutes).

Both Trump and Clinton supporters want to hear more debate on terrorism compared with other topics, but Trump supporters allocate even more time than Clinton supporters (17 minutes vs. 13 minutes). Four-in-ten of Trump’s backers (40%) would devote at least 20 minutes of the debate to the topic while 17% of Clinton supporters would allocate 20 minutes or more. – READ MORE

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