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. carolyn Wahl

    No way. Biden was by far the winner. No question.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  2. Joejava

    Right after the debate 3 of the pundits felt it was a draw. I thought Joe handed it to Ryan, straight. The media pundits
    cited appearance points against Biden. I'm at the point I don't care about how a guy looks, picks his nose, grunts or
    sweats ( not that any did that stuff) ; I want the facts and a solid delivery. Biden came out the more straight forward of the two. The media wants a close race- sells more tickets to the "game."

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  3. theman

    felt sorry for Ryan – totally out of his league 80% of the debate. Romney's choice

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  4. Lola

    I'm sorry, did we not watch the same debate?

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  5. Steve

    Biden repeatedly exposed Ryan. It wasn't even close.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  6. Ryan

    I like Biden, but he came off as kind of a jerk. The laughing was really rude. Obama can do better in the next debate.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  7. Ranxerox

    You must be sh!!ting me!! Biden so won that debate!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  8. FEQUIERE Charles

    Biden won the debate, he is talking with experience

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  9. Meri

    Biden won ...is voting closed already?.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  10. WV Gleeman

    Tell us again how Ryan was winning as Biden looked directly into the camera and talked to seniors in clear terms while Ryan fubmled over his closing (unspecified) loopholes spiel.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  11. J

    Did we watch the same debate!? Joe Biden cleary won!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  12. florida815

    CBS Poll and NBC Poll Biden won by 50+% to Ryan's 39% or less.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  13. Lynn

    Ryan could make the math work so he just kept talking so fast I couldn't understand what in the world he was saying. Biden could make the point. Ryan had to keep taking sips of water he was so nervous.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  14. Joe

    Sorry libs, rude and smirking Biden loses the poll. No class, no vote from me.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  15. CJ Roper

    I am totally ashamed that the Vice President of this country, a supposed diplomat, could behave so very badly. Rude doesnt cover it. Childish, defensive, rude, impatient, intolerant and brat-ish. Completely unacceptable public behavior. Imagine THAT behavior in a president! I think not.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  16. Obama Debate Coach

    Well, we tried, again!!! Next week we'll get the trophy

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  17. Bob

    Ryan was as truthful about the GOP's plans for taxes and Medicare as he was about his marathon time. Shouldn't kids have a vice president they can look up to? Do we need a vice president so vain and insecure that he has to take 30% off his marathon time so he can look like a "stud"?

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  18. Renand Pierre

    How Ryan can win this debate? He sounded just like Sara Palin 4 years ago. This poll is dead wrong!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  19. MSpencer

    Whom are you polling? Ryan spouted memorized numbers; Biden, real world effects. I am amazed and mystified at CNN's polling "results." And yes – I listened to the entire debate on NPR.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  20. Mirli

    Thank God for Joe !!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  21. Patty Kennedy

    Biden mopped the floor with Lyin' Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  22. JDHalfrack

    How can people say that Biden was over the top, but don't think that Romney was a complete ass during the first debate.

    Besides, calling someone out on being a liar is not the same thing as being a jerk. Don't want to be interrupted? Quit telling boldfaced lies.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  23. Sean

    Message to GOP "Don't send a child to do a man's job" ..Once sided match, Biden won!! ...Next!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  24. Bob

    Biden crushed it, we're tired of hearing GOP bs

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  25. Canuck

    Canada rules, USA drools!!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
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