ROCKFORD-- The third and final debate between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney will face a lot more competition for attention than the first two debates. That's because it will go up against Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Fox and Monday Night Football, which features the Chicago Bears playing the Detroit Lions on ESPN. Because of the scheduling conflict with the baseball game, Fox will be the only major network not airing the Presidential debate.
It's the football game that could be more problematic for Romney, however. That's because Michigan is an important battleground state where Romney currently trails, and Detroit Lions fans will likely gravitate towards a football game against a longtime conference rival over a Presidential debate with a pre-determined format focused on foreign policy. The latest polls in Michigan taken more than a week ago show Romney trailing Obama by 6-7 percentage points.
The Republican nominee's debate performance to date, where analysts believe he clearly won the first debate and appeared to battle to a draw in the second, has helped him close the gap in several battleground states where he trails. A new poll in Ohio shows Romney closing the gap, although he still trails Obama by five percentage points there.
The 'Real Clear Politics' website currently gives Romney an edge in electoral votes, 206-201 with 131 votes still a toss-up. However, Romney trails in many of those toss-up states, and the website notes that if the election were held today, polling indicates the President would win re-election by a count of 277-261. Winning Michigan's 16 electoral votes would flip that outcome.
Here is tonight's prime-time schedule.
WTVO-17: Presidential debate 8p-10p followed by the WTVO-17 News at 10.
WQRF-39: NLCS Game 7 coverage begins at 6:30p to conclusion followed by a delayed WQRF Fox News at 9.