BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Since the first time two presidential nominees took the stage in front of a national TV audience in 1960, debates have been a staple in American politics.

This election year, we’ve seen candidates in some of the nation’s most high-profile races not show up or refuse to debate their opponents. Over the last two weeks, Democratic candidates Rudy Salas and Melissa Hurtado dropped out of our debates in the 11th hour, leaving their GOP opponents on stage next to an empty podium. Another candidate, Leticia Perez, who is running for the 35th Assembly district, declined our invitation altogether.

We wanted to know: Do you think political candidates should participate in televised debates?

A large majority of respondents — 89% — said political candidates should participate in debates. 17 News received more than 400 responses to Wednesday’s poll.

Absolutely, I want to see how they perform under pressure. What their views are, how good they communicate to the public. Watching the Arizona Governor candidate hide in a closet to not face even anyone that’s in her own party for a debate is cowardice.

Adam C. Lambert, Facebook user

Yes but better structure and moderation needs to happen as well as appropriate follow up when they skirt around a question

Chrystal Grimes, Facebook user

No they don’t have to that’s their right if they do not want to participate, now if you want to change the election rules that says if you run for public office then you have to participate in a debate then I’m all for it absolutely.

Eddie French, Facebook user

This is a non-scientific poll conducted by 17 News. It is posted to KGET’s social media sites daily for varying amounts of time at varying times of day. Viewers can vote more than once. It is not representative of Kern County as a whole.