Presidential Debates 2012

Presidential Debates Scholar Says Neither Candidate Won, Incumbents Tend to Do Poorly at First Debate

Says each candidate's supporters think their guy won, apparently has not been paying attention


A University of Missouri professor and scholar of presidential debates says neither President Obama or Governor Mitt Romney dominated their first debate, nor clinched the election. MU professor Mitchell McKinney says Mitt Romney and President Obama's first debate went as first debates typically go. Neither candidate appeared completely poised and neither delivered any devastating messages … or mistakes. He says the next debate in two weeks should reveal more about both of them.

"This first match-up between President Obama and Gov. Romney produced no 'knock out' punches nor any 'game changing' gaffes or mistakes," McKinney said. "Both candidates' supporters will come away from this first debate proclaiming their candidate as the 'winner.' Overall, Mitt Romney's performance was likely strong enough to silence the critics of his campaign, those from within his own party, and re-energize his supporters. The results of the debate weren't too surprising. History has shown that incumbent presidents often have lackluster performances in the first debate."