Will Thursday’s VP debate actually matter on Nov. 6?

The campaign’s lone vice presidential debate will be held Thursday evening at¬†Centre College in Danville, KY. The big question is whether the 90-minute encounter between Vice President Joe Biden and GOP VP nominee Paul Ryan will have any impact on undecided voters in the presidential contest.

It should be an interesting debate. You have the gaffe-prone vice president facing off against one of the smartest members of the House of Representatives. But don’t count out Biden, the veteran politician. If he can stick to his talking points, he could help the Democratic cause. But when he strays from the script, look out. Ryan is always well-prepared and he will be looking to build on the debate performance of his running mate, Mitt Romney.

But the expectations will be high for Ryan, so he must live up to the advance billing. Biden, on the other hand, will benefit from his reputation for misspeaking. If he does well, that could be considered a victory. Biden is expected to go after Ryan and Romney Thursday night, and we’ll have to see how the voters react to an aggressive posture by the vice president.

The VP debate starts at 6 p.m. California time. There are two other presidential debates — Oct. 16, which will be a town hall format at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, and Oct. 22 at Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL. That final debate¬†will have the same format as the first debate in Denver.

President Obama, who did poorly in the first debate, is going to want voters to have long forgotten his performance in Denver by the time the third debate is concluded. Romney, of course, is going to keep reminding voters of the first debate.

The race is close, and all the debates will have an impact — even Thursday’s vice presidential debate.