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What to Know Going Into Tonight's Democratic Debate

Rebecca Cheng |
December 19, 2015 | 2:44 p.m. PST


Bernie Sanders will likely field tough questions about this week's data breach scandal. (Creative Commons)
Bernie Sanders will likely field tough questions about this week's data breach scandal. (Creative Commons)
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley will face off to a likely smaller television audience on Saturday night, contrary to the Republican Debate which drew in large viewership on a weekday. Nevertheless, ABC News, in partnership with the New Hampshire Union Leader, will host the third and last Democratic debate of 2015 at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. The moderators will include anchors David Muir and Josh McElveen and chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz. 

The candidates will likely debate issues surrounding the recent international climate change agreement brokered in Paris and how to handle threats of terrorism on United States soil, which have gained attention since the Paris and San Bernardino attacks. 

READ ALSO: Republican Candidates Duke It Out Over National Security

While Clinton survived her email scandal hearings and has been rising in the polls, Bernie Sanders faces new challenges after his own scandal about a data breach. On Wednesday, Sanders fired a staffer who had allegedly accessed voter data confidential to Clinton’s campaign. The Democratic National Committee decided to refuse Sanders access to the Democratic Party’s information about likely voters, which is crucial for any political candidate. Sanders then filed a lawsuit against the DNC and eventually gained back access to the database. 

Following the scandal, Sanders’s poll numbers dropped one point, and Clinton now leads with 55.9 points. Trailing at 30.8 points, Sanders also faces the difficulty of building a stronger foreign policy stance and matching Clinton’s area of expertise. O’Malley has failed to gain double digits as he remains with 3.7 points, according to the RCP Average. 

READ ALSO: Second Democratic Debate: Foreign Threats and Domestic Issues

Viewers can watch the Democratic Debate on ABC at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT. For those unable to watch on TV, they can follow social media updates marked with #DemDebate and watch via livestreaming on abcnews.go.com/Live.

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