Vice President Joe Biden and Republican VP candidate will throw it down in Danville, Kentucky on Thursday for their only vice presidential debate of the 2012 election, but the chances that this debate will have a major impact on the Obama vs. Romney race are small. According to a new analysis conducted by Gallup, none of the eight VP debates from 1976 to 2008 have meaningfully altered voter preferences.
A review of voters' preferences for president before and after each debate reveals that the vice presidential shodowns have had almost no influence on the election.The median change in support after the VP debate was just one percentage point in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2008 for both parties. Vice presidents have not been good at moving voter preferences in the past.
Take a look at the numbers:
So will this debate be any different? Some political analysts are suggesting that due to President Obama's historic meltdown in the first debate, this debate could hold more importance in shaping the outcome of the election. If Biden loses outright to Ryan, so the thinking goes, then Obama may be in serious trouble as he tries to recapture momentum in the polls. If Biden manages to defeat Ryan outright, then the media will once again swing in Obama's favor. And if he has any of his characteristic gaffes, then the internet world will go wild in response.
But, with both Thursday Night Football and the MLB Baseball playoffs held on the same night, this debate might attract less viewers, and hold less importance, certainly that the first presidential debate and most likely than the Biden-Palin debate in 2008.
Pre-debate polls show that Ryan hold the edge over the Vice President when it comes to favorability ratings. According to a Pew survey, 51% of registered voters view Biden unfavorably, compared to 39% who give him positive reviews. Of independent voters, 52% see Biden negatively. For Ryan, by contrast, 44% of registered voters view him favorably, while 44% view him unfavorably. Approximately 40% believe Ryan will outperform Biden, while 34% expect Biden to do better.
The debate will be held at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, from 9:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m., moderated by ABC's Martha Raddatz. For live coverage, including real-time analysis, live stream, and updates, follow along here.