Presidential debate expert offers insight on why 2020 Democratic primary debates matter

Feb. 4, 2020
Eric Stann, 573-882-3346,
Mitchell S. McKinney, 573-489-9709,

The views and opinions expressed in this “for expert comment” release are based on research and/or opinions of the researcher(s) and/or faculty member(s) and do not reflect the University’s official stance.

This is a picture of Mitchell S. McKinney

Mitchell S. McKinney

The eighth of 12 Democratic presidential primary debates in the 2020 election occurs on Friday, Feb. 7, in New Hampshire. A presidential debate expert at the University of Missouri is available to discuss with reporters why this debate is particularly important to voters now that Democratic primary voting has begun.

Mitchell S. McKinney, professor of political communication and director of the Political Communication Institute, has conducted extensive research on presidential debates and can provide reporters with insight on the following questions:

  • On the eve of the 2020 New Hampshire primary, and with results from the Iowa caucuses identifying the leading Democratic candidates, why is this debate especially important to voters in New Hampshire and also nationally?
  • How difficult is it for primary candidates to distinguish themselves while still maintaining party loyalty and unity?
  • How do primary debates help a party and its voters address the key issue of candidate electability, and determine which of a party’s potential nominees might be the strongest candidate in the general election?
  • How do candidates approach their performance in the primary debates versus the general election?

Editor’s Note: To view McKinney’s bio, please click here.

To arrange an interview with Professor McKinney, please contact Eric Stann at 573-882-3346 or

The University of Missouri has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world.


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