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IVN Poll: Colbert, Oliver, and Ron Paul Top Choices for New Debate Moderators

by Alex Gauthier, published

Ahead of last week's GOP and Democrat debates, IVN conducted an opinion poll asking readers, "If it was your choice, who would be the debate moderator?"

Respondents could choose as many news personalities they preferred as well as someone who wasn't included. This method, known as approval polling, means votes couldn't be “taken away” from any other choice because participants could select any potential moderator they preferred.

Over 400 readers responded with their top choices, a majority of whom (53 percent) wanted to see Stephen Colbert as a presidential debate moderator. John Oliver placed second with 29 percent approval and former U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), took third with 17 percent.

One of the actual moderators from last week's GOP debate, Fox News commentator Neil Cavuto, placed 7th with 8 percent. Surprisingly, although he was not named in the poll directly, Jon Stewart managed to place 10th with about 3.5 percent approval.

Perhaps the most surprising outcome was a tie for fourth between Bill O'Reilly and Cornel West - two political figures who could not be any more different. Each received about 15 percent approval among 463 respondents.

Could the Presidential Primary Debates Need More Than a New Moderator?

According to Adweek, last week's Republican and Democratic Party debates were the least successful, in terms of viewership, since the first GOP debate on August 6.

It's easy to imagine a star-studded moderator lineup would reverse the seemingly dwindling popularity of both parties' presidential debates. A Colbert-led debate moderation panel could be the cure to slumping public interest in future Democratic and Republican debates.

Similarly, one of the Republican candidates, Rand Paul (R-KY), challenged Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to a one-on-one style debate just last week. Whether or not Sanders will take the challenge has yet to be seen, but a new format for the debates alongside a new moderator could be just what the doctor ordered to cure an ailing political discourse.

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