CNN Poll: Pence Wins VP Debate, 29 Percent Move Toward Voting for Trump

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine (L) and Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence (R) debate during the Vice Presidential Debate at Longwood University on October 4, 2016 in Farmville, Virginia. This is the second of four debates during the presidential election season and the only debate between the vice …
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The CNN/ORG instant poll of vice presidential primarily Democrat debate watchers, shows Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana topped Democratic candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (VA). Some 29 percent said they moved toward voting for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after the exchange.

Despite the Democrat-heavy audience displayed in the new poll, 48 percent said Pence won the debate over Kaine. Only 42 percent of those debate watchers said Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s running mate won.

Two-fifths of those registered voters surveyed said they were Democrats, 30 percent Republican and 29 percent unaffiliated or part of another party.

Almost 30 percent of respondents said they were more likely to vote for Trump after watching the debate, while just 18 percent said they moved toward Clinton. An original image broadcast by CNN of the numbers of debate watchers that moved toward voting for Clinton or Trump after watching the vice presidential candidates were reversed, showing more moving toward Clinton; however, a CNN reporter corrected the numbers after they had been posted to the screen and revealed that the true result. More than half of debate watchers surveyed said “neither” when asked who the debate made them likely to vote for.

Kaine was agressive in the exchange, and it may have cost him. He jumped from 28 percent “unfavorable” before the debate to 40 percent after. While 16 percent of those asked weren’t sure if they saw Kaine as favorable or unfavorable before the debate, only 4 percent were unsure after.

Some 43 percent of respondents said Kaine did worse than expected compared to 38 percent that he did better and 15 that said he did the same as expected.

Pence was seen as doing better than expected by two-thirds of those polled while only 14 percent said worse and 15 percent said he performed the same as expected.

It wasn’t clear just by what margin the poll leaned Democrat, but 58 percent said they thought Kaine better defended Clinton while 35 percent said Pence defended Trump better. 48 percent said that Kaine had a better understanding of issues while 41 percent said Pence was the candidate that better understands issues.

Kaine was seen by 76 percent as more on the attack of Pence while just 14 percent said Pence attacked Kaine more.

Even greater numbers of respondents found Pence likable than said he won the debate. 53 percent said Pence was more likable while only 37 percent said Kaine was.

Pence’s favorability jumped seven points after the debate. 57 percent of survey respondents said that had a favorable opinion after the debate compared to 50 percent favorable before. His unfavorable rating also increased a small amount, from 36 percent to 40. Those unsure dropped from 15 percent before the debate to 3 percent after.

Pence was seen as more broadly qualified to take over as president if needed according to CNN. 77 percent said Pence was qualified compared to 70 percent that said Kaine was.

The poll had a sampling error of +/- 4.5 percent according to CNN broadcast reporting on the poll.

CNN reported its polling methodology:

The CNN/ORC post-debate poll includes interviews with 472 registered voters who watched the October 4 vice presidential debate. Results among debate-watchers have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. Respondents were originally interviewed as part of a September 28-October 2 telephone survey of a random sample of Americans, and indicated they planned to watch the debate and would be willing to be re-interviewed when it was over.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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