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. Anonymous

    Good for Biden! His experience let him hold his own and that week off for prep kept him from his habitual gaffes/ Ryan is what he is, educated, polished and confident. Neither candidate blew anyone away and both were fairly well-predicted as to performance. Next up, Romney-Obama Round Two. Go Romney!

    October 12, 2012 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  2. Mike

    Mike in NV - You are a true Dem if you think that Biden won. Every news site is calling it a draw. You, sir, just should admit your biased and be done with it. Please, stop spouting your biased opinions as insinuated facts.

    October 12, 2012 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  3. Name Suzette

    What debate were they watching Ryan and his lies from the pit of hell did not stand tonight

    October 12, 2012 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  4. Edman

    VP Biden won hands down. He certainly did not let Ryan to gat away with the false statements we heard in the last debate from Governor Rpmney. Biden brought facts into all the arm waving and the hoopla. So fed up with hearing so much is wrong with our country from the likes of Ryan and Romney.....like everybody has forgotten how things were just 31/2 years ago?

    October 12, 2012 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  5. Chad

    Are you kidding me? Joe Biden won 100%.

    October 12, 2012 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  6. john

    Biden in a landslide.

    October 12, 2012 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  7. Darrell

    Would say Biden won this one though the best of the night may have been the moderator. She definitely called folks out or certain points/issues. But VP not sure how any can say Ryan. He did well but continued to go around the subject and had very little in the way of facts. If anything many of his retorts made it sound like they wouldn't do much differently than the current administration except in the economic approach. Biden kept it rather bottom line and seemed to actually address the people.

    October 12, 2012 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  8. payne

    Dont wait time watching CNN........its like a reality show

    October 12, 2012 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  9. Goldlining

    Biden was the indisputable winner. His statements had substance, passion and facts, contrasting Ryan's empty, whishy whooshy slogans. Biden connected with people, while Ryan avoided specifics. It's easy to criticize others and promise everything as long as you don't have to actually do it. But people are not that stupid.

    October 12, 2012 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  10. angelskyf0x

    I agree with several people who saw the rude smiling from Biden to Ryan's comments though in some facial expressions Ryan had this puppy dog smile facial expression which started to look fake. Ryan got served by the moderator in 20% question and once again the details went iffy. I love how the moderator did her damnest to shutdown long discussions to get the candidates on track.

    In terms of strong debates, I believe Biden won (when he wasn't attacking which I believe was provoked by Ryan who told Biden to stop interrupting him). He used the "Facts" on Ryan more effectively.

    Ryan's demeanor was strong and making him look more mature than his current image (ala he looks very young).

    October 12, 2012 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  11. heyweez

    Dunno how you can say Obama/Biden are right for America, given the state this great country is currently in. Give me a break...

    October 12, 2012 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  12. Troy

    ""CNN Poll: Debate watchers split on who won VP debate"" Since when is 48% to 44% for Ryan a split? would the headline have been the same if it was 48% to 44% for Biden? I'm so glad we have good honest polling, and good non-biased information from the media these days to help us all make an informed decision. Thank you CNN

    October 12, 2012 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  13. trekguyd

    Who won is really not the answer, but who was that clown that had all the facial moves and laughing like he know it all and the other person is wrong every time he speaks. Biden look like an a hole and discourteous with his always interrupting as the other person speaks. He came off as a jerk and not a nice person as he claimed to be. So for me neither of them really won and the interviewer also went after Ryan and gave Biden a pass on a lot of things.

    October 12, 2012 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  14. Skiking226

    democrats are saying Joe was passionate, as lots of emotion! So now being rude, loud, condescending, interrupting 82 times, is passionate? I liked Ryan's style, Biden is a bully, you want a man like Biden with his finger on the button, I think not!

    October 12, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  15. William

    Why will no one at CNN discuss that even the moderator tried to get Paul Ryan to come up with some specifics on Romney/Ryan positions, but he either would not or could not give any. Joe Biden had facts and specifics on Obama/Biden policies. I'm beginning to think CNN should be called CNN – The FOX Affiliate.

    October 12, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  16. alee

    VP and Obama they have the small businesses and my vote

    October 12, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  17. mary

    Just putting the performance part of it aside. Because the performance is not as important as the truth and the facts.
    Biden won.
    THE TRUTH MATTERS~!

    October 12, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  18. Phil

    Social media is a younger crowd and therefore weighted democratic ! That is not a true indication of who won! It looked like a draw to me although Joe was more disrespectful than Ryan!

    October 12, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  19. Lee Oates

    As far as I'm concerned Joe won the debate. But then I feel that Obama won the first debate. I am astonded that people declared a pathological liar (Romney) won. He flat lied through the whole debate to the American public, and his poles went up....or maybe the poles are being rigged. I would not put anything sleezy past the Republicans, including bribes, voter suppression, rigging the vote count, grand lying...etc. It clearly demonstrates the low educational level of most Americans voters.

    October 12, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  20. Dennis J. Smith

    I don't see how people think that VP Biden was rude. He was calling Ryan out on his lies and this we have a plan BS. Tell the American people about your plan Mr. Ryan? Stop this BS that you care about the middle class. You don't! Now I'm ready for the President to lay into Romney and his BS.

    October 12, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  21. Nichole

    Who are you polling? The deaf?! Biden won hands down.

    October 12, 2012 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  22. OA

    Biden did a GREAT job – respectfully called out all Ryan's lies and put them on the spot to actually answer the question.
    Romney/Ryan are clearly without a plan and will dance to any tune like a clown to get elected. Pathetic really!!!
    BTW – loved the moderator unlike the last one lead by CNN (that was pathetic)

    October 12, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  23. Rudy

    Impossible those results that CNN poll is showing, Joe Biden won by far. Is like debating against my dad on parenthood; he will beat me.

    October 12, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  24. mitchswpt

    Ryan came across with all the sincerity of an infomercial salesman. Biden won hands down. CBS has the results as 50-31-19 Biden-Ryan-Draw, CNNs own web poll has it 66-32 Biden. Fox News, tellingly, isn't even showing polls, telephone or web. CNN must have called Rommey headquarters for their sample.

    October 12, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  25. Jared

    @Mike in NV,

    That is a joke. CNN still leans to the left. Tonight Biden sounded and acted rude with his smirks, laughing and interruptions.

    October 12, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
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