CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Experts predict presidential candidates will start to change campaigns and debate stage tactics to appeal to a larger group of voters.
The WMBF News Political Expert and associate professor of politics at Coastal Carolina University, Holley Tankersley reflected on past elections.
“At the end of the day, most voters are going to vote on their comfort level with the political party, and the political party stands for a particular set of issues,” she said.
However, Tankersley said this election cycle is substantially different from past years given the status of each party.
"Because the party, at least on the Republican side, is fundamentally split. So, because voters can't use party as that short-hand cue anymore, they need to know what the policy stances really are,” she explained.
Tankersley said voters are already getting some of that crucial feedback on the democratic side.
“With only two candidates on the Democratic side, they can have more detailed discussions about policy issues, they can actually talk about the nuances of their stances on fracking or the nuances on gun control,” Tankersley said.
On the Republican side, Tankersley said candidates have touched on international security and the economy but haven't opened up in detail when talking policy.
“It's more about jockeying for attention and position,” she said. “There's simply not enough time on that debate stage to get into some of the policy details. That we would see discussed in, say, a general election.”
Tankersley said as the weeks pass, voters are going to be looking for answers to two questions.
“What does my candidate stand for? And can he or she clearly articulate that when they move into a more competitive general election?” she said.
Tankersley added voters can expect the candidates on both sides to start changing their campaign strategies to prove they would be the nominee who could win a general election.
That is something they would need to prove to both party leaders and potential voters.