Columbia (Missouri US), Sept.24 : An internationally recognized scholar of presidential debates believes that the McCain-Obama presidential debates coming up this week and next month, will be as significant as the debates that took place between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in the run-up to the 1960 presidential elections.
With many polls showing Obama and McCain in a dead heat, many are predicting that the first presidential debate on September 26 could be a turning point in the election.
According to Mitchell McKinney, a University of Missouri associate professor of communication and internationally recognized scholar of presidential debates, the four key elements in the current presidential race will be:
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 cKinney has conducted extensive research of various candidates' debate performances, including the numerous Democratic and Republican primary debates that featured both Barack Obama and John McCain. n 1992, McKinney consulted with the Commission on Presidential Debates, advising the Commission on how debates could be structured in order to better educate citizens on significant campaign issues.
The co-author of The 1992 Presidential Debates in Focus, has also co-authored and edited four other books and numerous research articles on presidential debates.
Most recently, he advised the presidential debate committee of South Korea as Seoul officials planned their 2002 televised presidential debates.