As Gov. Mike Pence prepares for Tuesday’s vice presidential debate against Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, political scientists in Indiana consider the debate platform’s ability to sway votes in the governor’s home state.
University of Evansville political scientist Robert Dion says Indiana remains a red state, but Pence may help some of his fellow evangelical Christian voters pull the lever for his running mate, Donald Trump.
“He’s touching base with leaders of the evangelical Christian portion of the Republican Party and mollifying their fears and really selling Donald Trump to movement leaders,” Dion says.
University of Indianapolis political scientist Laura Albright believes Pence can help sway some support, even if the governor’s own approval ratings in the state have sagged during the past year.
“Pence can show that he can help even out Trump, and he can bring someone to the ticket that Trump has his attributes and some of the downsides as well — that he can kind of even out some of those disadvantages,” Albright says. “I think he can really make a difference in terms of voters.”
Both Dion and Albright believe Indiana’s strong Republican voter base makes it difficult for Hillary Clinton to carry the state.