Mike Pence vs. Kamala Harris: Who is better suited to take over the presidency?

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
October 16, 2020, 7:00 PM UTC

Considering the old age of the two candidates for president, and the current president's recent bout of COVID-19, Americans are looking closely at the qualifications of Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s running mates, should they need to step in for their boss.  

Economist / YouGov data shows that Americans are closely split on whether Mike Pence and Kamala Harris have the qualifications to assume the presidency should something happen to their respective bosses. Around half (51%) think Pence is qualified for the top job, while 47% say the same of Harris. 

Harris does has an edge over Pence when it comes to her leadership abilities, however. While 49% say Pence is a somewhat or very strong leader, 58% say so of Harris. 

Regardless of who wins, the next president will be the oldest in US history, with Trump aged 74 and Biden aged 78 at inauguration if he wins, making them both statistically more vulnerable to the COVID-19 disease. 

Following Trump’s positive diagnosis, most Americans think it’s very likely (45%) or somewhat likely (38%) more politicians will contract the virus. As of October 15, at least one member of Harris’s campaign had tested positive. 

Nearly half (47%) of registered voters are concerned that politicians getting the virus could prevent the federal government from functioning properly, a sentiment that’s more widespread among Biden voters (63%) than Trump voters (25%). 

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 registered voters interviewed online between October 11 - 13, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 4% for the overall sample. 

Image: Getty