Washington: The first US presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Monday could be one of the most watched events in television history, and the audience could exceed 100 million persons, experts claim.
Analysts expect it to beat the record set in 1980, when 80 million Americans watched Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan's only presidential debate. Monday's audience could even come close to the 115 million Americans who saw the 2015 Super Bowl, the most-watched sporting event in US history, CBS news reported on Friday.
According to them, Monday's presidential debate was shaping up as just as important a financial event as it was a political one, USA Today reported.
A strong showing from Republican candidate Trump in Round 1 of the three-debate showdown with Clinton could inject fresh uncertainty into what's shaping up as an increasingly tight race for the White House. In fact, any post-debate analysis that declares Trump the winner could force Wall Street to rethink its bet that Clinton was the odds-on favourite to win the November 8 election
While many presidential polls have narrowed since the end of this summer's political conventions -- most polls, including the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that gives Clinton a 6-point edge, show the Democratic nominee maintaining her lead, but a few now show Republican challenger Trump in front -- the majority of investors are still betting on Clinton, USA today reported.
The outcome of the first debate between the two could determine who was working in the West Wing of the White House early next year after Inauguration Day, says Greg Valliere, Chief Global Strategist at Horizon Investments.
"The first debate is huge, and whoever is viewed as the winner of the debate will be viewed as the favourite to win the election," Valliere said.
Meanwhile, Senor and Democratic strategist Michael Feldman, who helped run Al Gore's 2000 presidential run, revealed what goes into a winning debate.
In Monday's debate between Trump and Clinton, two candidates with historically high disapproval ratings, one strategy may involve showing a softer side.
"I would look for both candidates to use self-deprecating humour as a way to defy the caricature around them. Reagan did it in 1984," Feldman said.
To prepare, candidates often hold full-length mock debates in hotel conference rooms, set up to replicate the actual stage and prepare for every move, even the handshake.
"I know that sounds ludicrous, but there's all this psychology behind who seems more in control of a handshake," Senor said.
Clinton's campaign said she was not napping, but mapping out a strategy to push back at the debate.
"He doesn't often tell the truth, so she's going to have to spend some time probably correcting the record and making sure that voters understand the facts," said Clinton campaign Manager Robby Mook.
The Trump campaign also sent a letter to supporters on Thursday asking them to take a preparation survey and answers a series of question before Monday night's debate at Hofstra University in New York, US.
"While Hillary is listening to a team of psychologists and advisors to teach her what to say, I am turning to the very people who got me where I am today ... You. I am asking you to take the TRUMP Debate Preparation Survey within the next 24 hours to help me prepare for the biggest night of our campaign," the letter said.
"We will only win this debate if our strongest supporters offer their thoughtful input on the issues Americans care about most," Trump added.
Clinton has reportedly reviewed videos of Trump from primary debates, looking for trigger points that might cause him to lash out and lose points with voters, CBS local reported.
The Commission on Presidential Debates said moderator Lester Holt will follow a format that calls for six 15-minute time segments. Each topic will get two segments, according to the commission.
One aspect of debate preparations that experts say was often overlooked was that how physically exhausting a 90-minute debate could be.
Trump has never participated in such a lengthy debate against just one other candidate, and Clinton was recovering from a recent bout of pneumonia -- so it was possible that fatigue could be a factor for both candidates.