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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Read more of today's political news on the CNN Political Ticker.

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. Majesty Rider

    It was a knock out... OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!

    October 12, 2012 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  2. Ashley

    Joe Bidden was absolutely better.

    October 12, 2012 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  3. Panda

    Ryan clearly won. I was undecided until I saw this and so were many of my friends. Biden came across as odd and confrontational..interrupting Ryan? I could picture Ryan as President but not Biden. Going to vote for the cool, calm, and collected Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  4. Lynn

    RYAN!! He conducted himself in a manner fitting for a vice president. Biden did not show good leadership qualities.

    October 12, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  5. Evan

    Biden clearly was in command almost from start to finish. He could have thanked Ryan at the end though.

    October 12, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  6. Nate

    Honest opinion from an undecided....Everyone who is a Democrat said Biden won...Everyone who is Republican thought Ryan won...Here is my thoughts. I truly am not sure who I will vote for...but this debate did nothing for me. Biden came across to me as arrogant, pushy, and quite rude. Ryan on the other hand did come across as being polite and seemed to try to address issues, although Biden wouldn't let him.
    When Biden wasn't bashing Ryan he actually seem to answer the questions asked of him. Ryan didn't seem to do that very well. He skirted too many questions for me.
    Overall i call this a draw, Biden seemed like a jerk, but at least answered questions. Ryan came across acting more presidential and polite, but wasn't very clear.
    I was hoping to see more out of Biden than I did. Obama did nothing for me last week. Hopefully he will do better next week so I can get a better idea about things.

    October 12, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  7. nvtncs

    This indicatess that many pro-Romney people watch CNN.
    Is CNN becoming more like FOX?
    With David Gergen and Alex Castellanos on CNN, one can see
    why.

    October 12, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  8. NOMOREOBAHMANATION

    LOL.. can you believe these blinded Biden voters.. I dont think they watched the debate,, or ... didnt have the volume turned up when there guy was YELLINGGGGGGG.. LOL.. same rant from 4 years ago,, who needs 4 more years of depression,, finally I agree with the LIBERAL DEMO CNN.. but wolf blitz is still a ........ YAHHHH RYAN,, you def the man on this one,, way to gooo.!

    October 12, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  9. lovemygirl

    Benghazi will destroy Obama if the MSM pays attention.

    October 12, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  10. tony

    biden won far away

    October 12, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  11. mike

    i thought Biden came off as repellant politician....

    October 12, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  12. Rob F

    Biden was mopped up by Ryan. Progressives have no education.

    October 12, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  13. Gopisascam

    CNN’s downfall should serve as a warning to the entire mainstream media that catering to the far right will only result in failure. There is only room for one Fox News. The audience isn’t big enough to support two networks working the same side of the street.

    October 12, 2012 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  14. barbarianofgor

    Come ON, Biden won hands down. Ryan could only repeat the same lies, attacks and even accusations of behavior he advocated/did himself/with Romney. Biden exposed him for the liar he is. Did you like watching him shake and drink water, surprised he didn't ask for a break to ....

    October 12, 2012 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  15. ceg

    Romney was much more rude by far, its ok for republican'ts to dish it out but ya can't take it eh? Biden tore him one...

    October 12, 2012 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  16. YWalk

    CNN own poll now shows 66% Biden 44% Ryan – what gives ?

    October 12, 2012 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  17. barbarianofgor

    Come ON, Biden won hands down.

    October 12, 2012 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  18. breathe deep

    Frankly from what I saw was Biden answering questions asked by the moderator and points drawn by his opponent, while Ryan spent most of his time answering questions that weren't asked, and when even answered, would give a round-house "hey look over here at how much I love America" kind of answer. I played a drinking game tonight that consited of taking a drink every time Paul Ryan made mention of how he and Romney love and believe in America so much, or how much they support freedom and how much the valuers, arnd freerdorm, arnd dermorcarcy were the Amurcan valuers from which we set free for freedorm and Amurcan.... Aren't these the same people who complained when any kind of disagreement with the President came from a lack of patriotic values?

    October 12, 2012 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  19. barbarianofgor

    Biden won hands down.

    October 12, 2012 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  20. njket

    Ryan is even more phony then Romney! Romney/Ryan won't give details for their plans for this Country and just want Americans to trust them with their Principles? What a joke.... can't believe any American would vote for these two – I really can't!

    October 12, 2012 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  21. Earl

    Biden was a 'Cranky Old Man'... I've never seen a candidate as disrespectful as Biden was, is this what you want in a VP - I don't. HOW WOULD HE BRING CONGRESS TOGETHER, NO WAY. How would he interact with foreign gov'ts? Kind of scary that he might become President, we need to get him out of there NOW.

    October 12, 2012 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  22. Delilah

    Latest up date on this web site – 66% say Biden won the debate! Loved how he called Lyin' Ryan out and defended not sending more of our young men & women to war!

    October 12, 2012 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  23. Dr. Funkenstein

    A draw on substance, but the vice president loses on style

    Words like rude, arrogant, condescending don't win you points. BTW-those adjectives were from females in both the CNN and FOX focus groups of undecideds

    October 12, 2012 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  24. Atul Chaudhary

    No doubt that Ryan won this debate hands down. VP Joe's performance was much better than Pres Obama but he couldn't come close to Ryan's classy style. Except for couple of places, Ryan was on top of all topics. One thing that was really annoying was that Joe Biden wouldn't allow Ryan to talk. I think closing remarks of Ryan were much better than Joe Biden. Best comments (paraphrasing), "Ryan talks about Joe Biden's loose tongue, 'Pres Obama's 2008 remarks that they are after me because they have nothing to run'".

    October 12, 2012 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  25. breathe deep

    Frankly from what I saw was Biden answering questions asked by the moderator and points drawn by his opponent, while Ryan spent most of his time answering questions that weren't asked, and when even answered, would give a round-house "hey look over here at how much I love America" kind of answer. I played a drinking game tonight that consisted of taking a drink every time Paul Ryan made mention of how he and Romney love and believe in America so much, or how much they support freedom and how much the valuers, arnd freerdorm, arnd dermorcarcy were the Amurcan valuers from which we set free for freedorm and Amurcan.... Aren't these the same people who complained when any kind of disagreement with the President came from a lack of patriotic values?

    October 12, 2012 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194