VP Debate: Not-so-lofty expectations ahead of single debate

FARMVILLE, VA. (MEDIA GENERAL) – The sole Vice Presidential candidates debate will get underway Tuesday evening, but there’s little expectation the audience will be as large as the first debate between Presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, held last week at Hofstra Unveristy in Hampstead, N.Y.

Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) will spend 90 minutes on stage at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., discussing at least 10 different topics from security to economic reform. The VP candidates’ debate will not include a town-hall audience, opting instead for questions from a single moderator: Elaine Quijano of CBS News.

There’s no public estimate on how many people will tune in, but using history as a guide, the audience could reach upwards of 50-60 million viewers.

According to TVNewser, the most watched vice-presidential debate in recent history was the 2008 match-up between current Vice President Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Ala.). In the 2008 debate, nearly 70 million people were watching.

Drama Free Night?

Compared to the first 2016 debate, most experts expect the vice-presidential match-up to be less polarizing than their running mates’ appearance last Monday. Gov. Pence spent over a decade in Congress and is well-established in conservative circles compared to his running mate.

Neither Sen. Kaine nor Gov. Pence have sought the presidency before.

Sen. Kaine spoke with supporters outside a Virginia church over the weekend and stressed his strategy, including “being himself.”

The latest polls suggest the Clinton campaign saw a slight boost nationally following the first debate, however its unclear if either party would see much of a difference after Tuesday’s less-high-profile event.

For the latest developments from Longwood University, the site of tonight’s debate, follow @markpmeredith on Twitter.