PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The position of vice president provides the ability to cast a tie breaking vote in the senate, and more recently has become a key role in the campaign process; a name and persona that can help balance a main candidate…that is, if voters know who they are.
The office of the vice president was once called “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived.” Who said that? The nation’s first VP and second president of the United States John Adams.
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In the time since, nine vice presidents have had to fill the head office due to death or resignation.
We went to the region’s most notorious melting pots, Wawa, to get a read. So how recognizable is Donald Trump’s running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence, and Hillary Clinton’s right hand man, Virginia senator Tim Kane?
In showing twelve people a photo of Pence and Kaine, half of them had no idea who they were. In fact, the names Pat Toomey and Mike Huckabee were used. Of the six that did correctly identify the Vice Presidential candidates (or at least came close) one man also took the opportunity to point out a likeness between Sen. Kaine and Neil Diamond (also a correct assessment).
Can you see it?
Those who could not put a name to the face are in good company. In the latest CBS poll 67% (Kaine) and 57%(Pence) of voters were either undecided or did not know enough about the vice presidential hopefuls to rate their favorability.
For those who knew faces, they feel that a vice presidential debate will provide an opportunity to discuss issues, beyond personal jabs taken during the first presidential debate. But as for a vice president’s influence in the direction of the country…
“To be completely honest, I don’t know how much the president has to do with the direction of the country,” one person told us. “I think it has more to do with cabinet members and that we don’t have a say on.”
This was not an expansive study by any means. We talked to 12 people today, half at least recognized Pence and Kaine. Two only knew the name of the vice president for the candidate they were voting for.