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Tonight the stakes are high for President Obama and his republican challenger, Mitt Romney, as they take the stage at the University of Denver for the first debate.

What issues do the people of Bowling Green hope will be addressed?

"I hope they have a good viable plan to get America back to the way it used to be when i was a kid,"says Mr. Kiefel, an undecided voter.

And that is the question many voters hope the candidates will be able to answer.

Other than personal jabs, topics at the forefront of tonight will be domestic policy, jobs, and the economy.

"I think the most important topic for the people here in Bowling Green and the country is the economy, to talk about jobs.The question we ask is are you better off today than you were four years ago?"says Dr. Sandra Ardrey, Chair of the Political Science Department at WKU.

"Jobs that's the most important thing is jobs,"says Mary Lou Kiefel, an undecided voter.

And for small businesses who provide jobs for 49% of the private sector taxes are also a concern.

"Small business is kind of difficult though because you're having to pay the same rates that larger corporations are having to pay, which is kind of unfair,"says Stephen Parks, Manager of Candle Makers on the Square.

The latest CNN poll shows the candidates neck and neck, but tonight could make or break them.

"Two things you want to do in a debate, you want to speak to your base you want to sure up your base so they turn out to vote for you in large numbers but you also want to be able to persuade that little small number of undecided voters," says Ardrey

But what will it take to persuade those undecided voters...

"They have to have a position, in my opinion, neither of them have a plan. You need to get the people back to work,"says Mr. Kiefel.

While Ardrey says the challenger usually has the upper hand during the debates both candidates will have to fight to prove themselves.

"It's and opportunity to define your issues to outline your issues and to make them very plain and very clear."

This will be the first of three debates.

You can watch tonight's debate, right here on WBKO ABC, starting at 8pm.