by Frank Schnittger
Thu Oct 8th, 2020 at 04:16:35 AM EST
The Vice Presidential debate ended with a slight win for Kamala Harris but is unlikely to change voting intentions to any significant degree. The moderator allowed Pence to constantly over-run his speaking time and interrupt Kamala Harris on hers, and made no attempt to ensure the candidates actually answered the question asked.
Kamala Harris played it safe, being in the lead, and didn't push back on the many dubious points he made and the many times he intruded on her time. Apparently a black women is not allowed to interrupt a white man or seem aggressive or assertive in response. The objective was not to "create a moment" but ensure that no potential support group was offended.
Pence articulated conservative talking points quite well, and certainly expressed them much more cogently than Trump. They bore little relationship to the facts or to the questions asked, but conservatives will be happy he expressed their ideology and talking points as well as could be expected in the circumstance. Most viewers will have been left frustrated that he rarely answered the question asked.
Kamala refused to answer the question as to whether they would pack the Supreme Court if Amy Comey Barrett is confirmed. It's hard to see a Joe Biden administration actually doing so, but the fact that they refuse to rule it out, puts the Supreme Court centre stage in the election. This may help to consolidate some conservative voters behind Trump. Equally the threat to Roe vs. Wade and the affordable Care act will consolidate liberal and moderate voters behind Biden.
So while the debate was considerably more civil than the first Presidential debate, it seems most unlikely that it will change voter intentions to any significant extent. CNN had Harris winning the debate 59-38% and her favourability rating went up from 56 to 63%, while Pence's favourability rating stayed constant at 41%. Their sample was, in their own words, slightly skewed Democrat, but that may only reflect the current underlying state of the race in the first place.