ALL NEWS

Do Vice Presidential debates matter?

Oct 5, 2020, 7:03 AM | Updated: 9:06 am
FILE photo: 2022 General Election debates will begin in October. (Photo University of Utah)...
FILE photo: 2022 General Election debates will begin in October. (Photo University of Utah)
(Photo University of Utah)

SALT LAKE CITY – As Vice President Mike Pence and California Senator Kamala Harris get ready to debate at the University of Utah on Wednesday, some people wonder whether vice presidential debates matter. 

BYU Political Science Professor Richard Davis believes this one might matter a lot. 

“There is the possibility that person will become the president and, in this case, that’s probably even a potentially stronger possibility since we have two of the oldest candidates ever vying for the presidency,” Davis says. 

But Davis says voters typically only look for a few things. 

“Typically, people do not vote for a vice president, they vote for a president,” Davis says. “[But the vice presidential nominee] also speaks to the presidential candidate. Who have they chosen, and what is that person like? It’s sort of a judgement on what the presidential candidate’s decision making and emphasis is,” Davis says.   

Vice Presidential debates have produced some memorable moments in the past.


When and where to watch the upcoming Utah political debates


Third-party candidate Vice Admiral James Stockdale had an existential moment on the debate stage in 1992 when he asked, “Who am I? Why am I here?” 

Perhaps the most famous smackdown in Vice Presidential debate history came in 1988 when Senator Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) took issue with Senator Dan Quayle’s (R-Indiana) constant references to President John F. Kennedy. 

“I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy,” Bentsen said. 

However, both those memorable moments did not translate into a political victory for either Bentsen or Stockdale.

One thing that can work to a candidate’s advantage, Davis believes, is low expectations, as they did Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) in 2008. 

“When they are low for a candidate, that’s really quite good for the candidate. They don’t have to meet a high bar to be praised for their performance,” Davis said. “Actually, the sense was after the debate that she came out okay.”     

       

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

The Chinese national flag is seen at the entrance to the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing...
By Zachary Cohen, CNN

A look at China’s history of spying in the US

The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that violated American airspace this week has fueled a diplomatic crisis with the postponement of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's planned trip to Beijing.
19 hours ago
AirMed is responding to an incident in the Peter Sinks area after an adult female was hit by a snow...
Waverly Golden

AirMed responding to tubing accident in Peter Sinks, Logan

AirMed is responding to an incident in the Peter Sinks area after an adult female was hit by a snowmobile. 
19 hours ago
A balloon flies in the sky over Billings, Montana, U.S. February 1, 2023, in this picture obtained ...
Zachary Cohen, CNN

US military has shot down the Chinese spy balloon off US East Coast, US official says

The US military has shot down the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard, a US official said Saturday.
19 hours ago
The Goonies House...
Taylor Romine and Ralph Ellis, CNN

Man wanted for leaving a dead fish at ‘The Goonies’ house saved by Coast Guard in daring rescue

A man wanted by police in an incident at a house featured in "The Goonies" was the subject of a Coast Guard rescue when he was tossed from a stolen boat as it capsized, authorities said.
19 hours ago
SLCPD said the driver is fully cooperating with the investigation and the children received non-lif...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD makes arrest connected to fatal stabbing case

SLCPD announced the arrest of 26-year-old Ivy Chase Grant today. Grant was booked into Salt Lake County Metro Jail on a charge of obstruction of justice. 
19 hours ago
Troy Dunn, founder of the Location Foundation, appears on an episode of Dr. Phil. Photo credit: Des...
Mark Jones

Locator Foundation working to reunite loved ones with one another

The Locator Foundation is working to reunite family members who have become separated from one another and haven't been able to reconnect.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Do Vice Presidential debates matter?