Post-Debate: Palin Still Seen as Unqualified, a Bump for Biden

  • October 06, 2008

While last week's vice-presidential debate had a larger audience than any other in history, voters' impressions of Sarah Palin have changed little, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. A special re-interview this weekend of voters who had been first polled a week ago found that most (55%) continue to have a favorable view of Palin, but most (52%) also still believe that she is not qualified to serve as president, if it becomes necessary.

In contrast, voters' opinions of Joe Biden have improved since the previous Pew survey conducted Sept. 27-29. Biden's favorability rating among registered voters recontacted over the weekend climbed from 54% to 63%, and the percentage believing he is qualified to serve as president jumped to 77% from 69% a week earlier.

Both candidates get high marks for their debate performances, though Biden receives substantially better marks overall. Roughly eight-in-ten voters (81%) who watched the vice-presidential debate rate Biden's performance as excellent or good, compared with 65% offering positive ratings for Palin. Biden receives higher marks for his debate performance than Barack Obama did in the first presidential debate (72% excellent/good). Palin, too, is viewed as doing a better job than did John McCain (65% vs. 59% excellent/good). 

The latest survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press was conducted on landline phones and cell phones Oct. 3-5 among 820 adults, including 710 registered voters, who were previously interviewed. It finds that congressional passage of the massive financial rescue bill did not increase public support for the plan.

Overall, people who were re-interviewed over the weekend are even more divided as to whether this is the right thing or the wrong thing for the government to be doing (42% right thing vs. 39% wrong thing). In the Sept. 27-29 survey, 45% said it was right for the government invest billions of dollars to try to secure financial markets and institutions, while 38% said it was the wrong thing.

Read the full report Post-Debate: Palin Still Seen as Unqualified, a Bump for Biden on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.