Purdue political science professor weighs in on VP debate

2016 Vice Presidential Candidates go head to head on Tuesday. (WLFI)
2016 Vice Presidential Candidates go head to head on Tuesday. (WLFI)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Vice presidential candidates Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence will go head to head in Farmville, Virginia. News 18 reports what you can expect from an expert’s point of view and what one local voter hopes to get from Tuesday’s debate.

Deciding the country’s leader is a serious matter. But in this year’s election, Purdue University student Beau Delaet said he isn’t feeling it.

“I think it’s become more of a joke with everyone I’ve talked to,” said Delaet.

You can see it in popular Halloween merchandising.

“Baby Donald Trump,” said a Halloween store salesperson as he showed a costume, poking fun at the Republican nominee.

With the election clock ticking, Delaet said it’s time to get serious.

“We need the facts,” said Delaet. “We don’t need the mud that keeps flying everywhere.”

Could the vice presidential debate sway his vote?

“It definitely could,” he said.

Purdue political science professor Jay McCann said swing voters, like Delaet, are what Kaine and Pence will be banking on Tuesday night.

“You don’t want to make yourself a story, if you can avoid it,” said McCann.

He said VPs will focus on their candidate’s main message, but one may have to work harder than the other.

“I think Gov. Pence has more explaining to do,” said McCann.

With Trump’s recent tax return and Miss Universe controversy, all eyes will be on Pence while Kaine gets to stay on the offensive.

“Trying to put forward plans for Pre-K investment, and child education, and child care, and other kinds of issues that would resonate with a lot of voters particularly swing voters,” said McCann.

He said if Pence wants Trump to take back the polls, he needs to identify him as a reasonably minded change agent.

“Who is outside of Washington and can come in and, you know, sort of reinvent government in new ways,” added McCann.

Delaet added, “I know a lot of people don’t really support either candidate.”

And right now, Delaet is one of them. But he has high hopes for the vice presidential candidates.

“Might be a turning point for the election,” said Delaet in reference to the debate.

The latest CBS News poll finds seven out of 10 voters plan to tune in.

The debate kicks off at 9 p.m. and you can watch it live on WLFI-TV or online at WLFI.com.