MU expert says presidential debates likely to be as significant as 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate

Sep 23, 2008

With many polls showing presidential candidates Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain in a dead heat, many are predicting that the first presidential debate on Sept. 26 could be a turning point in the election. In addition, with the surprising selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate, the St. Louis vice presidential debate could be the most viewed in U.S. history.

Mitchell McKinney, University of Missouri associate professor of communication and internationally recognized scholar of presidential debates, has identified the specific conditions necessary for debates to be influential in the outcome of an election. McKinney assessed key elements in the current presidential race:

-- voters' familiarity or comfort level with the candidates
-- how close the race remains at the outset of a debate series
-- the number of undecided or leaning voters
-- the strength – or weakness – of traditional party allegiances

McKinney says the upcoming presidential debates have the potential to be as significant as the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates and the 1980 Reagan-Carter encounters.

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia

Explore further: Study shows more than half of peer-reviewed research articles published during 2007-2012 are now open access

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study shows growth in second screen users (Update)

Dec 03, 2012

(AP)—Many U.S. viewers are becoming more active while watching television, judging by the findings in a new report that illustrates the explosive growth in people who watch TV while connected to social media on smartphones ...

Recommended for you

Cloning whistle-blower: little change in S. Korea

9 hours ago

The whistle-blower who exposed breakthrough cloning research as a devastating fake says South Korea is still dominated by the values that allowed science fraudster Hwang Woo-suk to become an almost untouchable ...

Color and texture matter most when it comes to tomatoes

Oct 21, 2014

A new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), evaluated consumers' choice in fresh tomato selection and revealed which characteristics make the red fruit most appealing.

How the lotus got its own administration

Oct 21, 2014

Actually the lotus is a very ordinary plant. Nevertheless, during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) a complex bureaucratic structure was built up around this plant. The lotus was part of the Imperial Household, ...

User comments : 0