Although the presidential primary isn't officially over — at least nine states have yet to vote — attention has already begun to turn toward the general election with many eager to see the Democratic and Republican nominees square off against each other. But when will the presidential nominees debate? Only three debates have been scheduled for the general election so far.
The Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan and nonprofit group tasked with organizing these verbal sparring matches, announced the dates and locations for the 2016 debates in September of last year. As of now, a total of four debates have been planned for the general election cycle: three between the presidential nominees and one between their vice presidents. But voters will find themselves having to wait more than a few weeks to see presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump take on the Democratic Party's official candidate as the first presidential debate won't happen until two months after party conventions are held in July.
The first presidential debate is scheduled to take place at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, on Monday, Sep. 26, the Commission on Presidential Debates has said. The remaining three debates of the general election will be held in October. A debate between vice presidential candidates will be held at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, on Oct. 4, with a second presidential debate slated to be held five days later at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. The third and final presidential debate, barring any last-minute additions to the schedule, will be held at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 19.
An estimated 67.2 million people reportedly tuned in to watch the first presidential debate between incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney of the 2012 election, a jump of 28 percent compared to viewership of the first presidential debate of the 2008 election. Although that's certainly not a small number, it pales in comparison to the 111.3 million people who watched the Super Bowl that same year. Politics may not have the snacks or physical tackles of football's biggest game, but the takedowns are just as exciting!
Despite falling short of winning the title for most-watched TV event, a study has shown there is good reason to tune to the presidential debates. In 2012, Pew Research found two-thirds of voters in the 2008 election felt the presidential debates between Obama and Republican John McCain had been "very" or "somewhat" important in helping them decide on who they would ultimately vote for.
It might be more than four months away, but clear your schedule and mark your calendars now. The first presidential debate of the 2016 general election is coming.