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How Mike Pence and Tim Kaine are viewed going into debate - CBS News poll

By Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto

Overall, the 2016 vice presidential candidates remain largely unknown to voters nationwide, but both have net positive ratings, unlike the candidates at the top of the ticket. Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, is somewhat more familiar to voters than Democrat Tim Kaine.

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As the candidates prepare to meet for their first and only debate, voters are more likely than not to think each of these vice presidential candidates could serve effectively as president if they needed to step into the job. Tim Kaine and Mike Pence get similar marks: 37 percent think Kaine has the ability to do so and 41 percent say that about Pence. But a sizable percentage of voters don’t have an opinion.

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In 2008, the last time an incumbent was not seeking re-election, voters held contrasting views of each of that year’s vice presidential candidates. Sixty-five percent said Democrat Joe Biden could be an effective president, while just 37 percent said that about Republican Sarah Palin.

Still, majorities of voters say their vote choice will be based mostly on the presidential candidates. Eighty-four percent of voters say they’ll vote primarily on the presidential candidates; just 14 percent say the vice presidential running mates will have a great deal of influence. Similar majorities across party lines hold this view.

Seven in 10 voters say they plan to tune in to the vice presidential debate, including 47 percent who are very likely to watch. More Republican voters say they are very likely to watch than Democrats or independents.

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This poll was conducted by telephone September 28-October 2, 2016 among a random sample of 1,501 adults nationwide, including 1,217 registered voters.  Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Media, PA.  Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. 
The poll employed a random digit dial methodology. For the landline sample, a respondent was randomly selected from all adults in the household. For the cell sample, interviews were conducted with the person who answered the phone. 
Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish using live interviewers.  
The data have been weighted to reflect U.S. Census figures on demographic variables. 
The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of registered voters is three points. The error for subgroups may be higher and is available by request. The margin of error includes the effects of standard weighting procedures which enlarge sampling error slightly. 
This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.


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