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Elon Survey on Vice Presidential Debate

Elon Survey Finds Vice Presidential Debates to Lean in Biden’s Favor, Palin Exceeds Expectations.

By Christina Edwards

October 3, 2008

debateAs Election day draws nearer with only 31 days left in the campaign, Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joseph Biden met in the televised vice presidential debate Thursday night. Most post-debate comments from pundits found the debate to be fairly even, with a slight favor to Biden.

An informal survey of 230 Elon students, faculty, and staff found that 37 percent of the people surveyed thought Biden won the debate.  The survey was conducted by 18 students in a Reporting course who gathered a convenience sample, polling Elon individuals in person, by phone and online between 10:50 and 11:30 a.m. Friday.

“While I think both did very well, Biden comes off as more knowledgable,” said Pamela Moffitt of Elon’s Multicultural Center.

Most expert analysts found Biden to provide more specific responses while Palin’s spirited responses likely provided viewer appeal to Sen. John McCain’s target Republican base.

“I don’t know that I would say anyone really won. I thought they both did well. I think Palin did better than a lot of people had expected her to, based on the press leading up to it,” said Mallory Anderson, director of the Center for Leadership. “I think they both skirted the issues a lot. Biden responded to what people were interested in and did a good job of representing his campaign, and Palin did a good job in countering that.”

Palin, who has served one term as Governor of Alaska, has had her experience called into question particularly after a recent shaky interview with Katie Couric. 23 percent surveyed said they believed Palin won the debate, with another 12 percent saying she tied with Biden.
“I think Palin did better than a lot of people had expected her to, based on the press leading up to it,” said Anderson.

“I think they both did really well. They both explained their policies well and defended them well,” said Alexa Battey, senior.

28% surveyed either did not watch the debates or wished not to respond.

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