HEMPSTEAD, NY (WCSC/CBS News) - Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will face off Monday night in the first of three debates leading up to the November election.
The stakes are high on both sides, in a race that has stirred intense interest and emotions around the country.
The candidates will face each other at Hofstra University for 90 minutes uninterrupted.
The two head into the first presidential debate in a virtual tie.
Although Trump is the political newcomer in the race, he says he has gone light on debate preparations. Clinton, on the other hand, holed up with her inner circle over the weekend to practice.
Clinton's running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, says the format will work to her favor.
"There's just a moderator and two of you on stage. You can run but you can't hide," Kaine says. "So we're going to see about Donald Trump, can he gave any details about anything?"
Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, says the Republican candidate will speak from both the heart and mind.
"They're going to hear broad-shouldered leadership that will make America strong again, make America safe again, make America great again," Pence says.
A new national poll finds three out of four voters will be tuning in for the debate. But the vast majority - 87 percent - say it's unlikely to have an impact on how they'll vote.
Rosanna Perotti is an associate professor of political science at Hofstra University. She says gender will be an important factor in the debate.
"What it appears like so far is the expectation for women is higher, that women have to outperform to illustrate that they can be tough without being men," Perotti says.
After a season of rowdy political events, the debate audience has been warned to refrain from any disruptive behavior.