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How to watch the 1st presidential debate

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(WXOW/AP) - President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, will meet on the debate stage for the first time Tuesday night in Cleveland.

Millions of voters will get their first opportunity to compare the candidates’ policies and personalities side by side on national television for 90 minutes just five weeks before Election Day. 

The latest poll from the Elections Research Center at UW-Madison shows Joe Biden has a slight lead over President Trump in Wisconsin. However, according to the director of the Elections Research Center, Barry Burden, the debates usually don't have a ton of impact on the polls and he doesn't believe this debate will be any different.

"I think it's unlikely that Biden's going to raise his standing in the polls above where he is today," Burden said. "He's sort of at the height of where you can expect the challenger candidate to be."

While the debate may not help the former vice president in the polls, Burden thinks the debate could help President Trump slightly.

"It's possible that Trump could reassure some of his supporters who are maybe having second thoughts about supporting him or have questions about his candidacy," Burden said.

Another big topic sure to be covered at the debate is the New York Times report regarding the president's taxes. Burden said if the moderator, Chris Wallace, doesn't raise the question, Joe Biden definitely will.

"It's an opportunity, I think, for Biden to get Trump off of his narrative. But Trump will also try to use it to his advantage," Burden said. "He's likely to blame the media for being unfair to him, he often criticizes mainstream media outlets for attacking him or unfairly pursuing him."

Burden said unlike in 2016, this election cycle doesn't have as many undecided voters, so there's not a lot of wiggle room for each candidate to move the needle one way or another. However, if voters are on the fence, each candidate does have a chance to prove himself.

"I think Biden would do well to repeat the success of the Democratic Convention, he gave a very strong speech accepting the nomination on the final night of the convention, a better speech than he has given at other events is better than his performance and other debates earlier this year," Burden said. "So I think maintaining that energy level and kind of confidence on the stage is going to be helpful to his campaign."

As for the president, Burden said this election cycle is being viewed more as a referendum.

"Americans have developed pretty strong views about Trump, they're either with him or opposed to him," Burden said.

Here’s everything we know so far about the upcoming debates.


  • 7 p.m., WXOW-TV: ABC's one-hour 20/20 debate preview
  • 8 p.m.-10 p.m., WXOW-TV: Joe Biden, Donald Trump presidential debate
  • 10 p.m., WXOW-TV: 10 p.m. Report

Debate #1: Tuesday, Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Ohio

Location: Case Western Reserve Univerity in Cleveland.

Moderator: Fox News anchor Chris Wallace

Time: 8 – 9:30 p.m. CT

How to watch: Live on WXOW and streaming at It will also be on the

Details: The topics were selected by host Chris Wallace. Each topic will be the subject of 15-minute blocks.

The topics will be:

  • “The Trump and Biden Records”
  • “The Supreme Court”
  • “Covid-19”
  • “The Economy”
  • “Race and Violence in our Cities”
  • “The Integrity of the Election”

The debate will be co-hosted by Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic.

More information from the hosts can be found here.

Two more presidential debates are scheduled for October 15 in Miami, and October 22 in Nashville.

There is one Vice-Presidential debate set for October 7 in Salt Lake City.

WXOW and will carry all of these debates live.

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