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