Posted by: lcowie | October 3, 2008

Vice Presidential Debate

Elon community analyzes Joe Biden and Sarah Palin’s performances at vice presidential debate

37 percent favor Biden, 23 percent Palin, 28 percent give no response

by Lesley Cowie

Sen. Joe Biden, courtesy of

Sen. Joe Biden, courtesy of

An informal survey of Elon students, faculty and staff the day after the vice presidential candidates’ debate found that Biden was the predominate winner. 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.

Of the 230 individuals polled, 36.9 percent favored Sen. Joseph Biden. This compares to the 23 percent that thought Gov. Sarah Palin won the debate.

Many of the poll takers cited Biden’s experience as a strength but gave credit to Palin for attempting to keep up.

“She [Palin] did well,” said Ocek Eke, a communications professor at Elon University. “Biden also did well. There was no personal animosity or hatred that you often see in these kinds of debates.”

Gov. Sarah Palin, courtesy of

Gov. Sarah Palin, courtesy of

Eke went on to say that his overall vote was for Biden because of his substance. Palin, he said, recited what her advisors told her to memorize.

“We are looking for someone who is able to stand on their feet,” Eke said.

Senior Sara Gould casted her vote for Biden because she felt that he addressed the issues more so than Palin. Palin, Gould said, talked more about herself than the issues.

One student, sophomore Justin Hinote, said that Palin held her own in the debate.

“I think it’s mostly because she went in, and everyone had really low expectations for her, and she sorta exceeded those expectations,” Hinote said. “I don’t necessarily think she did better than Biden, but just for the sheer fact that she had issues like the Couric interview, she did better. She came out with more positives that Biden did.”

The numbers above are not percentages; they reflect the actual number of poll takers who responded with each particular answer.

Defining the “No Response” choice

The next highest percentage of responses, after Biden, was no response. Many Elon students could not determine a winner, either due to the candidates’ performances or having not watched the debate.

Sophomore Peter Cooper was one of the 65 poll takers with no response.

“It [The debate] was a waste of money,” he said.

Although almost a third of the students polled gave no response, it is risky to assume that they are apathetic. Junior Lauren Caldwell proves that this is not the case for her.

“I haven’t watched it yet,” she said. “But I did TiVo it!”

With Election Day just a month away, the vice presidential candidates might be feeling the heat and pressure. Many factors are at stake during this election, such as the possibility of the vice president having to step up to be president.

With this being the first and only debate between the two vice presidential candidates, hopefully American voters got a good taste of what the two sides represent.

Senior Andrew Maurin discusses why he believes Sen. Biden won the debate.

Junior Ryan Sweeney shares his views of Biden.

Sophomore Justin Hinote stands up for Palin’s performance at the debate.


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