5 compelling questions for Democratic presidential debate No. 5

Will Pete Buttigieg continue to rise? Who is latest frontrunner in polls?

The debate stage is seen as it is prepared for the Washington Post and MSNBC fifth Democratic presidential primary debate at the from Tyler Perry Studios on November 19, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

The fifth Democratic presidential debate of the year is set to take place Wednesday in Atlanta, with 10 candidates taking the stage for a debate that will be moderated by MSNBC and the Washington Post.

Here are five compelling questions surrounding the second-to-last Democratic debate of 2019.

What candidates will appear?

As was the case for previous debates, candidates who will appear on stage qualified based on meeting minimum polling and donor requirements.

There will be 10 candidates on stage: former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, billionaire activist Tom Steyer, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

At the last debate in Ohio, there were 12 candidates.

Will Buttigieg continue his rise?

The biggest mover since the latest debate is the 37-year-old Buttigieg, who, in the latest poll of Democratic voters in Iowa, came in first at 25 percent. 

Warren was next at 16 percent while Biden was third at 15 percent. 

Since September, Buttigieg gained 16 percentage points in the poll for Iowa, which will be the first state to hold a primary or caucus on Feb. 3. 

Is Biden still considered the frontrunner?

At the moment, yes. 

Biden continues to lead the national polling average at 25 percent, according to the New York Times

But Warren and Sanders continue to be on his heels and the rise of Buttigieg is setting up a tighter race than thought in the summer, making these debates increasingly important.

What will format be?

The moderators will be Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Kristen Welker and Ashley Parker.

Candidates will have 75 seconds to answer questions directed at them and 45 seconds for follow-up questions. 

Which candidates will miss this debate?

Julian Castro, a former San Antonio mayor and former U.S. housing secretary, failed to qualify for this debate after being a part of the previous four. 

Another candidate who has appeared at all four previous debates but won’t be in Atlanta is former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who dropped out of the race Nov. 1.

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