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October 10, 2012

On eve of VP debate, Biden viewed unfavorably, Ryan liked a bit more

Coming into Thursday's vice presidential debate, a new poll suggests that neither Vice President Joe Biden nor Republican challenger Rep. Paul Ryan is viewed with much enthusiasm.

The national poll finds that more voters view Biden unfavorably than favorably, while opinions about Ryan are more evenly divided. Biden's image is far less positive than it was shortly before his 2008 debate with Sarah Palin; Ryan is viewed less favorably than Palin was just prior to her appearance.

The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 4-7 among 1,511 adults, including 1,201 registered voters, finds that 39 percent of voters view Biden favorably, while 51 percent gave him an unfavorable rating. Just more than four-in-ten -- 44 percent -- view Ryan favorably, while about as many -- 40 percent -- have an unfavorable view.

There's no consensus about who will do better in Thursday's debate: 40 percent say Ryan will do a better job while 34 percent expect Biden to do better.

 Biden’s image is little changed since September, but he is viewed less favorably than before his faceoff against Palin four years ago. In late September 2008, 53 percent of voters viewed Biden favorably and just 31 percent gave an unfavorable opinion. At the time, Palin's favorable rating was higher than Ryan's is today -- 51 percent to 44 percent.

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