JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The candidates are getting ready for the final debate in Jacksonville before the GOP primary.
Across Florida, the candidates are making the rounds and getting their messages out. Voters in Northeast Florida say a lot is riding on the debate at UNF.
"I want to hear what they'll have to say that'll make a difference," said registered voter Thomas Cromwell.
"I need to hear about the economy and the budget," said registered voter Patrisha Stalnaker.
UNF Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Nicholas Seabrook says because the polls have the top candidates so close, this debate is even more important. "What happens in the debate tomorrow will be crucial as we go in as to who takes the lead," said Dr. Seabrook.
Dr. Seabrook has looked at the top campaigns closely. He's monitored their strategies and their behaviors. He's noticed a few things voters can expect to see on Thursday. "I'd expect both to attack Obama on the economy. From Mitt Romney, we need to see that he can push back against Newt. For Newt Gingrich, more of the same. He's been able to build momentum with his performance," said Dr. Seabrook.
He says both front runners have taken different approaches to getting their messages out. "The conventional wisdom is the type of campaign Romney is running. It's the one that usually pays off in Florida to win. Newt is running a different kind. There's more of a focus on social media. Tomorrow's debate is probably more important for Newt. He needs to keep the momentum," said Dr. Seabrook.
Voters like Thomas Cromwell just hope they see someone they can identify with. "I'm just hoping to hear honesty. They need to connect with people," said Cromwell.
The debate is being broadcast on CNN. It starts at 8 p.m.