With barely 48 hours to the first debate in Denver between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, pundits are not ruling out the possibility of a “game-changer” in Denver that may decisively give one candidate the advantage in what remains of the election campaign.

During the debate, to take place on October 3, 2012 7 p.m. local time, both candidates will have their first opportunity to reach out directly to the American people with both an explicit and an implicit message in words and their demeanour, respectively. Millions are expected to tune in, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Speaking to a media reporting tour in Denver Seth Masket, Associate Professor of Political Science at Denver University, said that Colorado, described as the “swingiest of the swing states,” would be watching the two White House hopefuls spar over domestic issues, in particular the economy.

On Mr. Romney’s likely tactic the popular notion here appears to be that he will be “fairly aggressive,” and attack Mr. Obama on the question of job creation. Yet Mr. Romney is also likely to use the debate as an opportunity to shift voters’ perception of him as a man who was “not concerned” with 47 per cent of the population, believing they held some sense of “entitlement” and would anyway vote for Mr. Obama.

However with the latest polls placing Mr. Obama around 10 points ahead of Mr. Romney, it is not only their performance in the “unscripted” segments of the debate that will matter to the outcome on November 6, 2012 but also who turns up to vote in “purple,” or battleground, states such as Colorado.

Experts at Denver University, the host of the first debate, said in response to a question from The Hindu that voter suppression issues could have a “substantial impact” on voting, particularly as a number of states including Pennsylvania and Florida had enacted laws requiring stricter voter ID standards.

Democrats fear that these new laws, which disproportionately affect minority groups such as Hispanics and African-Americans, will most likely cut into the votes received by their party, which these communities tend to support.

Yet with even a state Republican Party chairman, Ryan Call, admitting to media in Denver that “Barack Obama has more charisma than any one man should be allowed to have,” Mr. Romney and his colleagues would appear to have little to lose in an all-out battle for the White House in the weeks ahead.

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