October 11th, 2012
11:25 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Debate watchers split on who won VP debate

Danville, Kentucky (CNN) - Call it a draw.

Forty-eight percent of voters who watched the vice presidential debate think that Rep. Paul Ryan won the showdown, according to a CNN/ORC International nationwide poll conducted right after Thursday night's faceoff. Forty-four percent say that Vice President Joe Biden was victorious. The Republican running mate's four point advantage among a debate audience that was more Republican than the country as a whole is within the survey's sampling error.

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Half of all debate watchers questioned in the poll said the showdown didn't make them more likely to vote for either of the candidates' bosses, 28% said the debate made them more likely to vote for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and 21% said the faceoff made them more likely to vote to re-elect President Barack Obama.

According to the survey, 55% said that the vice president did better than expected, with 51% saying that the congressman from Wisconsin performed better than expected.

By a 50%-41% margin, debate watchers say that Ryan rather than Biden better expressed himself.

MORE: Romney calls Ryan with congratulations after debate

Seven in ten said Biden was seen as spending more time attacking his opponent, and that may be a contributing factor in Ryan's 53%-43% advantage on being more likable. Ryan also had a slight advantage on being more in touch with the problems of average Americans.

One of the top jobs for the candidates in a vice presidential debate is to convince Americans that they would be able to step into the top job if something happened to the president. The poll indicates that both men were seen as qualified to be president if necessary, by roughly equal numbers.

"This poll does not and cannot reflect the views of all Americans. It only represents the views of people who watched the debate and by definition cannot be an indication of how the entire American public will react to Wednesday's debate in the coming days," cautions CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

One-third of the respondents who participated in tonight's survey identified themselves as Republicans, with 31% identifying themselves as Democrats, and 34% identifying themselves as independents.

"That indicates that the sample of debate watchers is more Republican than an average of recent CNN polls of all Americans," adds Holland.

MORE: Obama: 'could not be prouder' of Biden debate

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, with 381 registered voters nationwide who watched the debate questioned by telephone. All interviews were conducted after the end of the debate. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points.

A CBS News poll of uncommitted voters who watched the debate gave Biden the edge over Ryan by a 50%-31% margin. Uncommitted voters made up roughly ten percent or less of the debate audience.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story

soundoff (4,842 Responses)
  1. Name

    Great Debate! Biden Won Tonight!

    October 11, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  2. Casey

    Great Debate! Biden Won Tonight!

    October 11, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  3. Christy

    No way! BIDEN nailed it!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  4. Kevin Pierson

    I like low hanging dudemeat.

    October 11, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  5. John Martin Sain

    Biden, with his buffoonery, made me feel embarrassed for America tonight.

    October 11, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  6. For quad

    Must've seen a different debate! Seemed like Eddie Munster was on the ropes for most of the night!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  7. Beatrice Helena

    Who are you people polling!!! Biden killed Ryan. Someone sleeping on the job.

    October 11, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  8. AF

    This survey is completely wrong just like Romney said. Biden won not Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  9. betgar

    What debate where they watching? This is why I've stopped watching CNN, time to pull the twitter feed!

    October 11, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  10. John M.

    Who did you poll? There is no way on Gods earth paul Ryan won this debate. CNN you have lost ALL credibility tonight

    October 11, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  11. islacita

    Something is wrong with this poll...

    October 11, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  12. Steen

    I think something is wrong with your poll thingy.. Biden clearly won that debate.

    October 11, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  13. Jina Ray

    I was trying to vote , but I didn't find the web who decided which one win.
    Ofcourse Joe Biden won , he gives all the facts. Ryan as usual was telling story and example not related. no plan.
    Go Obama and Biden they are the right one for American.

    October 11, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  14. Deafobama12

    I am disagree. Ryan is loser. I believe joe Biden is won on debate

    October 11, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  15. skywiseunlimited

    Biden wiped the floor with Ryan. Unquestionably.

    October 11, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  16. RL

    Biden handily won that debate.

    October 11, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  17. TEX

    Biden schooled Ryan in this debate. Biden won hands down!

    October 11, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  18. Denny

    Paul Ryan won the debate with Joe 'Big Mouth' Biden because he had command of the FACTS rather than repeating lies like Biden did, and because he was more likeable in his exchange with EVERYONE. Joe Biden is old, nasty and frankly, a real JERK, in my opinion. Go Romney/Ryan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  19. Klaas Jan

    Malarkey

    October 11, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  20. malice420dotcom

    When the media pundits feel it's okay to be disgusted with Biden's childish show the gap will widen. Likeability was lost for Obama more than one can spin. Thanks Joe

    October 11, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  21. islacita

    I think that must have been a faulty poll.

    October 11, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  22. Joe Dirt

    I dont know what debate you folks watched but Biden schooled Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  23. Norma

    I think it was the other way around, Biden 48% Ryan 44%. Biden knew what he was talking about. Ryan rambled with no facts!

    October 11, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  24. Pollarky

    It's a draw. Don't need a poll for that.

    October 11, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  25. simpaticocity

    You've got to be kidding????????????????????????? Are you now under the FOX influence?

    October 11, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
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