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. mcc

    Joe Biden has been in the office for decades to see it all. He clearly knows what he is talking about.
    Nice try Paul Ryan but, you can't produce specifics. Unless you make over one million a year, you would be a fool to not vote for Obama/Biden. This mess Obama/Biden walked into took eight years. They should get eight years to fix it.

    I also would love to have my son back home from overseas.

    October 12, 2012 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  2. terro

    Biden came off looking kind of crazy.

    October 12, 2012 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  3. CRB

    Ryan did not win (if there has to be a winner). We expect honesty from our politicians and we cannot even be honest with ourselves. The results were in HD...clear as day – Biden had more knowledge; more experience than Ryan. There shouldn't even be a discussion, just move on to the next debate.

    October 12, 2012 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  4. Joan Edwards

    Ryan clearly won this debate. CNN, by its own admission conceded that Biden had 8 'lows' and Ryan only 1 'low' point, that being the question on abortion. Not exactly a burning issue in the whole scheme of things! This, alone, would indicate that Ryan won this debate hands down in spite of all the rude interruptions by Biden and his attempts to distract.

    October 12, 2012 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  5. Olynmawr

    CNN needs a new polling guru. A 5% margin or error? I don't think so. The CBS pollster is closer.

    October 12, 2012 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  6. KingAZ

    Laugh everytime i read these comments that since you don't agree with CNN you call them biased and "fox news"...

    hahahha

    Calm down children... it's just the dawn of a new day.

    Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 12, 2012 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  7. Chip

    Syria is five times bigger than Libya?

    And Biden is the foreign policy expert in the White House?

    October 12, 2012 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  8. danster101

    Joe whooped little Paul.

    October 12, 2012 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  9. mitchswpt

    Ryan came across with all the sincerity of an infomercial salesman. Biden won hands down. CNNs own web based poll has Biden winning 66-32. CBS telephone poll has Biden winning 50-31, with 19 tie. CNN must have called Romney headquarters for their telephone sample.

    October 12, 2012 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  10. Mike

    People are too much on style and personality rather than on substance of the debate, which is why Arnold could be the governor.

    October 12, 2012 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  11. mjturvey

    I assume all the above comments are from Democrats? As a truly 'independent' viewer watching from the UK, Biden came across as a smug, condescending fool, with that ridiculous smirk on his face throughout. Let's hope nothing happens to Obama whilst Biden is vice-president, the prospect of him stepping into the shoes of the President of the world's most powerful country is a frightening prospect.

    October 12, 2012 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  12. Anonymous

    cnn clearly you guys only care for ratings.... most people think Biden won the debate..... style my ass!

    October 12, 2012 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  13. Mark Urbo

    The Ambassador was brutally sodomized, murdered and then dragged through the streets. If this liberal moderator had the same thing done to her husband, I wonder if she would ask the same questions ?

    ..or allow Biden to smirk and be rudely disrespectful. These issues are not funny to Americans. This was a shame of a debate and I really was impressed by Ryan’s composure.

    October 12, 2012 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  14. Rosa

    Come one CNN joe won the Debate I'm not dem! I'm a Replubican just telling the thrush!

    October 12, 2012 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  15. Lisa Mundt

    I am going to take Ryan's approach and be polite. However, Biden spent his time pointing a finger as to why he and Obama have been unsuccessful instead of proving that they can be productive in any manner at all. As a retired military member, Biden's ignorance of how terrorists think is frightening. And I don't know about you but my Mom had higher medicare co-pays over the past year and as a military retiree, Obama increased the rates we pay for TRICARE (first time in the 35 years I've been around the military) to pay for his big plan. My children are also paying higher premiums this year with next year projections even higher. Yes, this OBAMA CARE is really helping the people who need it most...helping them get poor faster! Dump the guys who have proven themselves unworthy and let's try for a balanced budget and low unemployment rate led by people who have proven themselves competent in those areas!

    October 12, 2012 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  16. Ben

    As a democrat, I don't like Biden's behavior - laughing at all tonight. It's a serious businsess for the country. Is it so funny?

    October 12, 2012 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  17. BMCbike

    I am a registered Republican, and I can honestly say that Biden won this debate. Ryan was not specific enough, nor provide any substance or facts. Ryan seems nervous, drinking/sipping water from the cup periodically.

    October 12, 2012 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  18. John stoltzfus

    why cant I vote and show you what I think here? are you afraid to post an option to vote here because all of the liberal cnn viewers will skew the vote or because all of the republicans will come here to show their support?

    October 12, 2012 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  19. mjturvey

    I assume most of the comments here are from Democrats?

    I'm not sure who 'won the debate but as a truly 'independent' viewer watching from the UK, Biden came across as a smug, condescending fool, with that ridiculous childish smirk on his face throughout. Let's hope nothing happens to Obama whilst Biden is vice-president, the prospect of him stepping into the shoes of the President of the world's most powerful country is a frightening prospect.

    October 12, 2012 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  20. Anonymous

    CNN is a want to be Fox News! There is is no dought that Biden Won thbe debate tonight. If CNN wants to continute to say it was a draw, than I should just watch Fox News. Your sponsors will go down the tube!

    October 12, 2012 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  21. Chris

    Biden came across like a smug, arrogant, disrespectful man. It was painful to watch.

    October 12, 2012 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  22. Rachel

    It was more than evident who won this debate when you look past the aggression. Ryan was never clear to exact specifications on what they would do to save this country. When he uses his personal experiences of family to make his judgement calls, it did absolutely nothing for me.

    Obama/Biden is the only way. They've had one heck of a mess to try and clean up from the past 8 years of an administration, something that is impossible to clean up in 4 little years, and best of all... they ARE moving forward.

    The answer to our salvation: OBAMA / BIDEN 2012. It is imperative.

    October 12, 2012 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  23. fayemac

    ryan lost big time. How can they even think it was close? Maybe he won on lies per second.

    October 12, 2012 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  24. Grainna

    Sad ... Biden was rude, obnoxious and very unprofessional nevermind un-presidential. His laughing, smirking actually downplayed some serious national security issues. He caused me at times to stop listening to him.

    October 12, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  25. john

    would love to know anyone who has been called for these polls. i am a 61 year old man who has always voted and hve never been call or asked to give my feedback on the debates or anyone that i know have been asked. FYI my income level has always been in the mid 50 to mid+60 as are most of my friiends. so that is why i dont believe these polls. they are made up to so the talking heads have somthing to talk about for their 24 hour news slots. if one party goes ahead the following poll will place the opposite party head next week to try and keep interest in the election alive. people just vote and decide on your own .

    October 12, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
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