Media Tip Sheet: Voters Want Inclusion of Third-Party Candidates in Presidential Debates

May 21, 2024

A recent poll shows that 71% of voters want third-party and independent candidates included in presidential debates if they meet viable thresholds.

The poll also shows strong support for traditional debate formats and automatic microphone cut-offs, highlighting voters' desire for structured and comprehensive candidate assessments.

Faculty experts at the George Washington University are available to provide context, commentary and analysis on this matter. If you would like to speak to an expert, please contact GW Media Relations Specialist Tayah Frye at [email protected].

Danny Hayes, professor of political science, is an expert on campaigns and elections who can discuss the current election landscape and provide insights and analysis on current campaign strategies. He is an author of three books, all published by Cambridge University Press: News Hole: The Demise of Local Journalism and Political Engagement (2021); Women on the Run: Media, Gender, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era (2016); and Influence from Abroad: Foreign Voices, the Media, and U.S. Public Opinion (2013). His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation and has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, and numerous other academic journals.

Peter Loge is the director of GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs. He has nearly 30 years of experience in politics and communications, having served as a deputy to the chief of staff for Sen. Edward Kennedy during the 1995 shutdown, a VP at the US Institute of Peace in 2013, and held senior positions for three members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Loge currently leads the Project on Ethics in Political Communication at the School of Media and Public Affairs and continues to advise advocates and organizations. 

Todd Belt is the director of the Political Management Program at the GW Graduate School of Political Management. Belt is an expert on the presidency, campaigns and elections, mass media and politics, public opinion, and political humor. In addition to his expertise, Belt is co-author of four books and helps to run GW’s political poll, which recently shared new findings