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. whiskybravo

    Joe Biden, the sitting Vice President knew he would be before an audience of tens of millions of Americans.

    He performed like a complete jerk, mugging, grinning, smirking, grimacing, muttering under his breath, acting like a buffoon & interrupting both his opponent & the moderator & generally making a complete ass out of himself.

    Can you imagine how we Americans would be viewed if this idiot represented we America citizens on the world stage?

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

    bidden hit the the kid hands down. be real cnn!.......

    October 12, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  3. Texas22

    Paul Ryan totally won! Ryan showed leadership. He didn't need to talk louder or interrupt to get his point across. Which is exactly what leadership does. Biden laughing though most of the debate – was pitiful!!
    Ryan showed he could stand by Romney's side in leadership and hold his own, and be the sort of man Romney could have by his side.

    October 12, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  4. James

    Biden schooled Ryan. Ryan was clearly trying to stick to his prepared statements and Biden kept the pressure on him and disrupted his nicely prepared speeches. Biden was more dynamic, more honest, and more believable.

    October 12, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  5. Factcheck

    "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.

    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 point"

    October 12, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  6. km4candles

    I can not believe that when talking about Iran, Benghazi, etc. , that Biden actually laughed and smirked and rolled his eyes. Pardon me Mr. Biden, but I do not believe any of these things are funny. This country is heading down the drain, and you're laughing. It's not funny to all of us people that are struggling under this economy. I thought you would have more class than that!

    October 12, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  7. Name Suzette

    Biden won the debate hands down

    October 12, 2012 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  8. fayemac

    Yeah why cant we vote on who we thought won? No other site had Ryan even close.

    October 12, 2012 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  9. Debra

    I think I watched the same debate that everyone else watched. Biden was certainly more presidential than Ryan. Seems like they gave Ryan more time to run his mouth and spew his lies. Biden won the debate, so where in the world does CNN get their numbers.

    October 12, 2012 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  10. AdrienneName

    Did CNN ask only white conservative southerners again?

    October 12, 2012 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  11. PixelBrine

    Objectively there is really no way to say Ryan won. There was no way to argue Obama won the first debate. Biden clearly took the reigns on this one and communicated better on almost every issue.........Seriously CNN who the heck were you polling?

    October 12, 2012 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  12. Jeune

    seriously guys, Biden won the debate, I used to say cnn is the only independent social media, i guess that's know longer true, I was watching the debate and I am neither democrat nor republican, but clearly I feel like Biden won the debate, Ryan was ok, but he never want to mention any details

    October 12, 2012 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  13. livingasahuman

    I can't see how anyone, who isn't blinded by partisan loyalties, could have thought Biden brought anything to the table but disrespect.

    October 12, 2012 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  14. Mark2789

    Oh please...give me a break Who were you polling the Cheney, Bush clan? The VIce President cleaned the floor with this guy.

    October 12, 2012 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  15. Indpendant

    well the mod and Biden kept cutting Ryan off, Ryan is the smartest man in congress and knows his math, I was mad I didnt get to hear Ryan talk due to Biden kept interrupted, I thought Biden was rude and blames the CIA for Libya? really ? I think Ryan won because I know he is very intelligent and is the math Wizard in congress, and we were attacked, I dont like Obamas relaxed national security, I dont feel safe. last word Biden is No Mitt . Mitt attacks with facts and grace, not disrepctful, as a woman, i felt turned off by the way Biden pointed his finger at the moderator. Paul seemed like the adult in the house

    October 12, 2012 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  16. Jmihendrix

    Biden looked like an angry old fart. Just because he can talk louder and out of turn doesn't make his facts true. I really hope sensible people will go with their instincts on this one, not a very difficult decision.

    October 12, 2012 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  17. Anonymous

    TJ INCA said "He (Biden) was belligerent and rude the entire time, talking over the moderator and Ryan, attempting to control the debate – he came off like a fool. He looked like he smoked something prior to the debates." Funny, but this is exactly what ROMNEY looked like and was doing at that first presidential debate a week ago! He was loud, nasty talking over both the moderator and the president of the United States. Mitt Romney in that first debate was arrogant, condescending, smiling through his teeth, laying from start to finish, and interrupting at every turn, but since ROMNEY is YOUR boy that made it all right, however, you don't like it when the shoe is on the other foot do you? Biden was laughing every time Ryan was lying and not answering the question with facts and specifics and you now what? I was also laughing right along with Joe! Ryan looked like a 10 year old in a man suite and unable to live up to the image! No question about it BIDEN won this debate hands down!

    October 12, 2012 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  18. GoBiden

    Why is that when Obama was curtious last week, he was labeled a failure for the debate. I agree that he could have come out swinging but I think we was being civil, even trying to respect Jim Lehrer's time limits and rules. He did not started being a little more agressive when Romney was the one being rude and obnoxious.

    Now, when Biden is aggressive, he is labeled rude. Please, play by the same rules. Democrats took the loss in stride last week and Obama coped to it. I think people need to just view the debates with all the extra crap commentary. Let people decide for themselves. We are not all sheep that cannot make up our own minds. The President & VP have treated people as adults and not talked down to them. It's been hard and it's going to continue to be hard, but it's definitely getting better. One step at a time.

    Own up and take the loss like an adult. Dems did last week. Repubs should follow that example!

    October 12, 2012 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  19. Sue Undedicided

    Ok - not really undecided - I voted for Obama and want to again. Donna Brazile made the best comment yet. Obama is not Biden - don't blame Obama for Biden's debate. Obama is young and healthy and the risk that Biden will be President is low - gotta admit Biden is the cute uncle that everyone rolls their eyes at, but we all love in spite of what he does. Obama is the man! Don't judge Obama based on Biden!!!

    October 12, 2012 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  20. WingsOfGold

    If obama were to suddenly die due to an alcohol related accident like his father before him would one REALLY want Biden the silly simpleton at the reigns?

    October 12, 2012 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  21. Car Chaser

    Joe cooked him, Experience showed thru.

    October 12, 2012 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  22. Ps103

    Ryan proved himself very able in both substance and demeanor. He resisted the Vice President's attempts to rattle him. The Vice President's behavior was rude, condescending and calculated. It's a scary thing to have him “a heart beat a way” from the presidency. More than ever we need a change of leadership in the White House. Romney and Ryan can provide that needed change.

    October 12, 2012 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  23. Nick

    Biden needs to lay of the muscle relaxers ... He looked worse than the Joker from Batman

    October 12, 2012 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  24. RudyG

    Joe Biden? Classless and rude. He must have really felt the ship going down fast!!!

    October 12, 2012 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  25. GingerBread

    Biden was not at all presidential..Lot of people were annoyed by his actions and bully behaviour. Be decent and come with a sportsman spirit Mr Vice President..

    October 12, 2012 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
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