Election 2012

Voters Say Presidential Debates Will Be Key: Poll

Barak Obama, Mitt Romney
Getty Images | CNBC composite

Voters say the presidential debates will be important in deciding whom to vote for in this year’s election, according to a new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday.

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The poll found that voters say the importance of this year’s debate is greater than it was in 2004 or 2000.

That may yet indicate some room for movement in the race: Twenty-two percent of those surveyed said the upcoming debates will be “extremely important,” and 16 percent said “quite important.”

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That’s up from 2004, when 19 percent said the debates would be extremely important and 12 percent said “quite important.” And it’s a bit higher than 2000, when those numbers were 22 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

But 62 percent said the debates will be “just somewhat” or “not at all” important — which may be an indication that the minds of many voters are becoming set as the last month of the campaign gets under way.

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In 2004, that figure was 69 percent.

Full results from the new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll check back here at 6:30p ET. The poll was conducted of 1,000 registered voters (including 300 by cell phone) from Sept. 26-30 and has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.

—By CNBC's Eamon Javers