CNN poll: Pence won debate
© Getty Images

Indiana Gov. Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceHaley has 'positive' meeting with Trump Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mitch McConnell's great Trumpian miscalculation MORE (R) was the winner of Tuesday’s vice presidential debate with Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineLiberty University professor charged with alleged sexual battery and abduction of student Senate parliamentarian looms over White House spending bill Menendez jabs State official over Colombian group's terror designation MORE (D-Va.), according to a CNN/ORC instant poll taken immediately after.

The poll found 48 percent saying Pence performed better, and 42 percent saying they thought Kaine won.

ADVERTISEMENT

Forty-three percent of respondents thought Kaine did worse than expected. Pence’s performance exceeded 67 percent of viewers’ expectations.

CNN said slightly more Democrats were watching the debate than Republicans, which was reflected in the respondents.

Pence was generally praised after Tuesday’s debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., with political watchers saying he maintained a calm demeanor even as he was forced to defend some of Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE’s more controversial statements.

Both candidates delivered a number of jabs as they touted their running mates and got under each other's skin. Kaine, though, appeared at times more aggressive, repeatedly speaking over both Pence and moderator Elaine Quijano.

Pence's steady performance could boost Trump, who has had a difficult week after his first debate with Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE.

Last week, Clinton was seen as the winner of her first presidential debate against Trump, with 53 percent of those polled by an ABC News/Washington Post poll pegging her the winner, compared with 18 percent for Trump. After her debate performance, Clinton saw a bump in the polls.