Will VP debate at U change any minds?

The University of Utah magazine fall edition features an excellent article by Andrea Smardon about the Oct. 7 vice presidential debate at Kingsbury Hall between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris.

The article notes: “For nine decades, Kingsbury Hall has been the University of Utah’s center stage, hosting VIPs such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, Maya Angelou, and Ta-Nehisi Coates. But on October 7, its curtains will open to its biggest audience ever as the 2020 vice presidential candidates square off in their one and only debate. ‘We predict 100 million people from all over the world to tune in,’ says Jason Perry JD’99, director of the U’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. ‘And hundreds of student volunteers will get experience in the political process that you cannot get any other way.'”

While debates are very important, the U’s political science professors don’t believe many voters will be swayed either way. However, a debate can provide some momentum and alter perceptions.

“In 2012,” says the article, “when Mitt Romney faced President Barack Obama in their first debate, the incumbent was favored to win easily, but it didn’t unfold that way. ‘Mitt Romney comes out on top as Obama stumbles in first debate,’ reported The Guardian. ‘Does Barack Obama really want to be president?’ asked a Washington Post op-ed. A Gallup poll showed that 72 percent of debate watchers believed Romney was the clear winner, and he jumped ahead in the polls for the first time in his campaign.”

The VP debate will be moderated by Susan Page, the respected Washington bureau chief of USA Today. The debate commission, a nonpartisan group that has overseen all general-election debates since 1987, picks the moderators.
Read the full article HERE.