A majority of registered voters believe Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) won Wednesday’s vice presidential debate, a Morning Consult survey released Thursday revealed.
Harris had an advantage going into the debate, as 43 percent of voters predicted she would perform best. Only 37 percent said the same of Vice President Mike Pence. Ultimately, Harris exceeded expectations: 51 percent said she “performed best,” compared to the 40 percent who said the same of the vice president:
Thinking about the vice presidential debate on Wednesday October 7th, who do you believe performed the best?
— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) October 8, 2020
However, the debate appeared to instill confidence in voters across the board. Prior to the debate, 50 percent expressed confidence in Harris’s level of preparedness to take on the presidency. That rose to 53 percent among all voters and 59 percent among debate watchers post-debate. A majority already expressed confidence in Pence’s preparedness prior to the debate, 57 percent, but that number grew to 61 percent among all voters and 60 percent for debate watchers, specifically, post-debate.
Per Morning Consult:
While viewers’ appetites were largely satiated when it came to talk of the two candidates’ public records, roughly half of those who watched the debate said they didn’t hear enough about health care, gun policy, the economy or immigration. When it came to the coronavirus — a key issue for Pence, who led the White House’s pandemic task force — 36 percent said they didn’t hear enough about it.
That’s more than three times the share of debate watchers who heard a lot about Pence dodging a question about whether he would want Indiana to outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court were to strike down Roe v. Wade, and nearly twice the share who heard about Harris refusing to say whether she and Biden would support increasing the number of justices on the court.
One of the biggest critiques from progressives following the debate involved accusations of Pence “mansplaining.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) piled on, essentially accusing Pence of sexism, while USA Today‘s Susan Page failed to dismiss the widespread leftist narrative. When asked if she thought Pence would have “treated a male moderator that way” by interrupting, Page said she did not know and added, “I don’t know that I’ve seen him in that kind of setting with a male moderator.”
Notably, it was Harris who took an opportunity to define “debt” for the audience during the debate.
The surveys were taken October 2-4 among 1,990 registered voters and October 8 among 1,047 registered voters. The margin of error is +/- 2 percent and +/- 3 percent, respectively.