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Politics 2 candidates, 20 voter questions: Comparing and contrasting Biden, Trump town halls

18:50  16 october  2020
18:50  16 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden held dueling town hall events on Thursday after the second presidential debate originally scheduled for that night in Miami was canceled after Trump, who had tested positive for COVID-19, refused to participate in a virtual format.

On the surface, the two town halls were as different from one another as the candidates' personalities, but there were also marked similarities, such as the relative length of time the Biden and Trump spoke, the number of voter questions they fielded and the topics discussed. And though the town halls were more than 1,100 miles apart, they were held in two of the most critical 2020 swing states, with Trump in Florida and Biden in Pennsylvania.

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a close up of Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during an NBC News town hall event at the Perez Art Museum in Miami and Democratic Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden participates in an ABC News town hall event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Oct. 15, 2020. © Brendan Smialowski, AFP via Getty Images President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during an NBC News town hall event at the Perez Art Museum in Miami and Democratic Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden participates in an ABC News town hall event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Oct. 15, 2020.

Here's a look at the comparisons and contrasts between the two campaign events.

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Who talked most?

Biden's event was an hour and a half, about 30 minutes longer than Trump's, giving the former vice president more total time to answer questions. Overall, he spoke for about 49 minutes to Trump's 32, which means that relative to how long their town halls ran, they got to speak for roughly the same percentage of their respective events.

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  • Length of Biden town hall: About one hour, 30 minutes
  • Length of Trump town hall: About one hour
  • Time Biden talked: About 49 minutes
  • Time Trump talked: About 32 minutes

This does not include the nearly 30 minutes of time after the town hall concluded that Biden stayed and continued to answer voters' questions.

  • Number of times Trump mentioned Biden: 8
  • Number of times Biden mentioned Trump: 10

COVID-19, QAnon and court packing: Here are the top moments from the Biden, Trump town halls

Biden wears mask, Trump doesn't

Photos from the events show that while Biden wore a mask as the town hall was about to begin, Trump arrived without a mask despite a recent hospitalization after testing positive for COVID-19.

While Biden remained on stage and far from the voters asking questions, in images from his event inside Philadelphia's Constitution Hall, Trump greeted audience members from a few yards away at his outdoor town hall at the Perez Art Museum in Miami.

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The voters

Number of voters who got to ask questions:

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  • Biden 11
  • Trump 9

Number of women voters who asked questions:

  • Trump 8
  • Biden 4

Trump questioners:

  • 5 leaning Biden
  • 3 leaning Trump
  • 1 undecided

Biden questioners:

  • 6 Republicans (one of whom did not vote for Trump in 2016)
  • 4 Democrats
  • 1 registration unclear

The moderators

Trump's NBC event was full of combative exchanges with host Savannah Guthrie, who regularly pointed out false statements from the president when he answered voters' questions.

Biden's ABC News town hall was more intimate, with more interaction between Biden and the voters asking questions than between the former vice president and host George Stephanopolous.

  • Number of questions Stephanopoulos asked Biden: 23
  • Number of questions Guthrie asked Trump: 39
  • Time into town hall before first voter question for Biden: About 1 minute
  • Time into town hall before first voter question for Trump: Nearly 20 minutes
  • Number of times Stephanopoulos added fact check or clarification: About 10
  • Number of times Guthrie added fact check or clarification: About 45

The topics

Voter questions on COVID-19:

  • Trump 3
  • Biden 2

Voter questions on Supreme Court:

  • Trump 1
  • Biden 1

Voter questions on taxes:

  • Biden 1
  • Trump 1

Voter questions on immigration:

  • Trump 1
  • Biden 0

Voter questions on abortion:

  • Trump 1
  • Biden 0

Voter questions on the environment:

  • Biden 1
  • Trump 0

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2 candidates, 20 voter questions: Comparing and contrasting Biden, Trump town halls

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