Viewers will receive greatest benefit in presidential town hall debate

Oct 03, 2008

Next Tuesday night, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama will meet on the debate stage for their second presidential debate, but this time they will not be alone. The candidates will be joined by dozens of "undecided" citizens eager to interrogate the two presidential hopefuls.

While political strategists and media pundits are busy pondering which candidate is best served by such encounters, Mitchell McKinney, a University of Missouri associate professor of communication and presidential debate expert, says that citizens at home viewing the debate may be the greatest beneficiaries.

McKinney, an international expert on presidential debates, has analyzed the role and effects of citizens questioning candidates during debates.

His research reveals:

-- When citizens question candidates during debates, such as town hall debates, their questions are fundamentally different than those asked by journalists.

-- Debates in which citizens are involved as questioners result in less candidate clash and elicit more direct candidate responses.

-- Viewers of debates in which citizens ask questions report greater learning and higher levels of interest in the on-going campaign.

McKinney also has found that candidate forums and debates that involve innovations, such as the use of video segments and Internet questions, are particularly effective in reaching younger voters.

McKinney has conducted extensive research of various candidates' debate performances, including this year's presidential and vice presidential debates and numerous Democratic and Republican primary debates that featured Barack Obama and John McCain.

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia

Explore further: Huntington acquires Louis Pasteur's notes on brewing beer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys

2 hours ago

The U.S. Navy is seeking permits to expand sonar and other training exercises off the Pacific Coast, a proposal raising concerns from animal advocates who say that more sonar-emitting buoys would harm whales and other creatures ...

Uganda seizes massive ivory and pangolin haul

2 hours ago

Ugandan wildlife officers have seized a huge haul of elephant ivory and pangolin scales, representing the deaths of hundreds of endangered animals, police said Sunday.

Standalone wireless info display device an easy fit

8 hours ago

A Latvian team has come up with a good-looking WiFi display device, connecting to the Internet using WiFi, which runs on a high-capacity built-in battery and tracks what's important to you. This is a standalone ...

Recommended for you

Toward a scientific process freed from systemic bias

Jan 26, 2015

Research on how science works - the science of science - can benefit from studying the digital traces generated during the research process, such as peer-reviewed publications. This type of research is crucial for the future ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.