Ahead of the first and only vice-presidential debate last week, voters had higher expectations for Sen. Kamala Harris to win the debate (43%) than Vice President Mike Pence (37%). Following the debate, six-in-ten Americans (59%) said Harris outperformed Pence. The debate helped Harris’ popularity (+7pts among Americans to 63%) while it had no effect on Pence’s (steady at 41%).
Among those who watched the debate, Harris scored higher than Pence on a few key metrics including:
- Supporting their running mate (64% Harris, 34% Pence)
- Uniting the country (62%, 34%)
- Stating their positions clearly (57%, 39%)
Additionally, after both fielded questions on the age and health of their respective running mates, Americans feel both Pence (65%) and Harris (63%) are qualified to serve as president if necessary.
While the debate focused on key issues such as COVID-19, the economy, SCOTUS nominations and race, these went over many Twitter users’ heads. Instead, they focused on one pesky fly.
A quick scan of Tweets from the night of the debate and the day after showed almost three million tweets about the fly on VP Mike Pence’s head (roughly a fourth of mentions about Pence total).
Outside of any insect-related conversations, 8.4 million tweets mentioned Pence and the debate while 7.1 million tweets mentioned Harris.