The VP Debate of Unknowns

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A new ABC News/SSRS Poll suggests nearly half of Americans can’t name the two vice-presidential candidates. Forty-one percent couldn’t name Donald Trump’s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. And 46 percent didn’t know Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential candidate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine.

So tonight’s vice-presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, will be all about introducing the VP candidates.

A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll finds that about two-thirds (68 percent) of likely voters intend to watch the VP debate, A majority (52 percent) are unsure and split as to which candidate will win the debate:

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Like the Presidential debate, Partisans are more likely to watch tonight’s debate than are Independents. Three out of four Democratic voters (76 percent) and 72 percent of Republicans plan to watch the Pence/Kaine debate. But only 56 percent of Independents are likely to watch.

Nationally, Pence is a little more popular than Kaine

Pence is slightly more popular than Kaine — 35 percent hold a favorable opinion of the Republican and 32 percent saying he is unfavorable, while voters are split on Kaine, with 30 percent viewing him favorably and an equal percentage viewing him unfavorably.

But in their respective states, Pence’s approval rating has taken a hit since he became Donald Trump’s running mate, while Kaine’s has not since he joined Hillary Clinton’s ticket, according to Morning Consult’s Senate and Governor Approval Rankings:

Pence’s approval rating in Indiana has declined from 48 percent in the first quarter of the year to 45 percent in September. During the same time frame, his disapproval percentage has risen from 39 percent to 45 percent.

Kaine’s approval rating in Virginia is at 54 percent, 1 point higher than in April. His disapproval rating from April to September increased from 24 percent to 26 percent.

The VP candidates will have little impact on whom voters will actually vote for. Only 11% of voters said having Kaine on the ticket would make them more likely to vote for Clinton in November. And just 12% said including Pence on the ticket would make them more likely to vote for Trump.

The Morning Consult poll was conducted from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent.

The 90 minute debate will start at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. It will be broadcast on all major television networks and cable channels and  C-SPAN. The Debate moderator will be Elaine Quijano, a correspondent for CBS News and an anchor for CBSN.