By Russell Varner
October 3, 2008
An informal survey of Elon students, faculty and staff the day after the vice presidential candidates’ debate found that the majority of individuals believe that Senator Joe Biden won the debate. Out of 230 people, 37 percent said Biden won the debate, 23 percent said Palin won, 12 percent said it was a tie, and 28 percent had no response. 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.
Some were greatly impressed by Biden and his answers and believed that Palin had a bit of a letdown. “Biden was more knowledgeable and answered the questions more directly,” said women’s soccer head coach Chris Neil. “Palin seemed to avoid questions and had her own predetermined answers.”
“From everything I heard last night, I think Biden was able to win the vice presidential debate last night,” said Brian Tracy, Elon’s Assistant Director of Athletics for External Affairs and Director of the Phoenix Club. “I heard a lot through the news sources on cnn.com this morning and msn.com, so that would be my take on things.”
Others thought that Palin’s “predetermined answers” helped her out a lot in her first major debate. “I believe Palin won the debate last night,” said George Russell, ticket office assistant. “She had good command of the fundamentals and what she believed in.”
Many people, though they said Biden won, were greatly impressed with how well Palin did in the debate. As Jennifer Tucci, a senior from Georgia, put it, “the expectations for Palin were so low that she did really well.”
“Senator Biden won [the debate last night] because of his issues on the foreign policy, how it didn’t sound like he was coached up on the different terms,” said Elon’s defensive line coach, Marc Yellock. “Palin did a good job of basically regrouping herself from the past week’s debacle. [But] Biden surpassed what I thought he would do and he did more than just blame Senator McCain about the troubles of everything. He showed ideas, he showed plans, he showed different things that I wanted to hear.”
“From what I saw, Biden definitely won, but Palin exceeded expectations,” said Brian Newberry, defensive backs coach for the Elon Phoenix football team.
“Palin handled herself better than expected last night,” said Lisa Layne, a program assistant and secretary to athletic director Dave Blank. “She brought a fresh approach and showed she could handle her own in Washington. But it was so close it’s hard to say who won.”
The third of these important presidential debates will be held this Tuesday night at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain will field questions from the audience while Tom Brokaw hosts the event. For more information on the debates, visit http://www.youdecide2008.com/2008/08/21/official-2008-obama-mccain-presidential-debate-schedule-vice-palin-biden/.
Brian Tracy, Assistant Director of Athletics for External Affairs and Director of the Phoenix Club
Jennifer Tucci, Elon student
Marc Yellock, Elon Defense Line Coach