10 things you need to know about the Clinton-Trump face-off

A recent poll showed half of America's likely voters will rely on the debates to help them make their choice

Reuters/afp September 26, 2016
A combination photo shows US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump (R). PHOTO: REUTERS

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump will face off for the first time on Monday in a presidential debate that could rank as one of the most watched and highly-anticipated political showdowns in US history.

Here are 10 key points about the debate:

The US presidential debate: what you need to know

1. The debate will be held at the Hofstra University on New York's Long Island.

2. It will be 90 minutes long with six 15-minute segments and no commercial interruptions. The debate will be aired live in Pakistan at 6am (PST) on Express News.

The questions will focus on three broad themes: “America’s Direction,” “Achieving Prosperity” and “Securing America.”

3. The moderator of the debate will be Lester Holt of NBC News.

4. Both nominees hope to use the debate to erase lingering voter doubts and address campaign-trail weaknesses: The volatile Trump will get a chance to show a depth and steadiness worthy of a credible commander in chief. Polls show some 57 per cent have a negative opinion of Trump.

Obama to Clinton before presidential debate: ‘Be yourself’

5. The cautious Clinton will be able to try to connect directly with voters who do not trust her, strategists said. Polls show some 88 per cent of Americans say they believe she is smart, but in the latest poll 66 per cent said they do not find her honest.

6. The size of the audience is expected to challenge the presidential debate record of 80 million who watched the 1980 encounter between Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Republican Ronald Reagan.

7. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, and Jill Stein, the Greens Party nominee, have not been invited to the debate as they did not reach the threshold set by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), of 15 per cent support in five national opinion polls.

8. Ahead of the debates, Clinton has been cloistered with aides and her papers at home in Chappaqua, north of New York, even practicing with relatives playing Trump.

Pressure is on Clinton, Trump in first debate

9. Trump says his debate practice is "going very well," trying to at least appear relaxed. Amid preparations, he has continued with campaign rallies, including Saturday night in Roanoke, Virginia.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday showed half of America's likely voters would rely on the debates to help them make their choice. Nine per cent of voters by some estimates still don't know who to cast their ballot for.


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