WASHINGTON, D.C. — Voters are divided about who will do a better job in Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.
Tim Kaine and Mike Pence start out tied in the expectations game, with 38% saying they expect each man to do a better job in Tuesday’s face-off in Virginia, and about one-quarter of voters unsure which one will prevail.
Both Kaine and Pence have the support of a majority of those who back their running mate — 68% of Trump supporters think Pence will carry the day, 64% of Clinton backers say Kaine will.
Results from the same poll released Monday found that while both Kaine and Pence have positive-leaning favorability ratings, sizable shares of voters still say they don’t know enough to have an opinion of each of them. Overall, their favorability numbers are identical among registered voters: 38% view each favorably, 30% unfavorably and almost 3-in-10 have no opinion of each of them.
Looking ahead to the next time the top-of-the-ticket candidates will meet on stage, in a debate set for Sunday, October 9, more say Clinton will do a better job in that event’s town hall format than think Trump will thrive. Among registered voters, 54% say Clinton is likely to do the better job with that one, 38% that Trump is more likely to succeed.
The survey also measured voters’ views on whether several topics related to each candidate’s personal life are appropriate or inappropriate for the debate stage.
Most voters agree that it is appropriate for candidates to bring up charitable work or donations (70% appropriate), health and medical records (65% appropriate) or personal finances (60% appropriate). But most say it is inappropriate to talk appearance (73% inappropriate) or marital history (79% inappropriate) on the debate stage.
How voters feel about the appropriateness of those topics seems connected to their choice of candidate: Only about half of Trump voters say personal finances are an appropriate topic (49%), well below the nearly three-quarters of Clinton backers who say the same (72%).
Clinton voters (61%) are less likely than Trump backers (72%) to say health is an appropriate topic, while Trump voters are less likely to say it’s appropriate to discuss charitable work and donations (59% among Trump backers, 80% among Clinton supporters).
Voters behind both camps are largely in agreement that appearance and marital history aren’t appropriate topics for the debate stage, though Trump’s supporters are slightly more likely to consider marital history appropriate than Clinton backers (23% to 19%).
The CNN/ORC Poll was conducted by telephone September 28 through October 2 among a random national sample of 1,501 adults. Results among the 1,213 likely voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. It is 2.5 percentage points among the 1,335 registered voters interviewed.