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. lovetosmile

    Ryan was effective but Biden won. Biden was very informative (lots of details) and compassionate, I learned a lot and believe a person who speaks from thier heart like Biden, I will trust.

    October 12, 2012 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  2. toni

    I thought catching paul ryan in the lie about stimulast money showed what kind of person ryan and roomey.

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

    Ryan is pretty stupid, he kept talking of the Obama administration withdraw a lot of troops in a dangerous place Afghanistan as a bad thing, and Biden kept on telling him that they replace those soldiers by trained afghans soldiers. it's like Ryan would rather see an American get hurt instead of an afghan.

    October 12, 2012 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  4. dazel

    Shame on people...During the first President debate, people said Romney won because without any shame he diverted all important issues.....now when Biden nailed down every detail...u people talking how arrogant VP was n what not..In fact, i felt he was so comfortable and smiling to people he knew in the audience.....the only reason was the truth is on his side...not the Romney/Ryan...Don't look at how the VP presented, look at his points. Ryan lied about Iran nuclear capability...when he can do this now. what about after 4 years...can't trust....my vote goes to Democrats....

    October 12, 2012 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  5. B joyce t

    CNN is just pitiful, getting more, and more like fox news. I c y msnbc is leading all other stations. U know that Biden told old

    young Ryan to school!! Wake up. By the way why were Ryan eyes getting so red, was he about to cry?

    October 12, 2012 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  6. RudyG

    Well, Joe Biden sure outdid all lies tonight – his Libya answer was a lie for the ages!!

    October 12, 2012 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  7. MATTER OF FACT

    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 DOUBT ABOUT IT BIDEN clearly won this debate hands down!

    October 12, 2012 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  8. mark

    Definitely Paul. When it really came down to it when discussing foreign policy both parties wasted more time to try and differentiate difference national policy but neither could point out better ideas in what we are already doing..dating back to Bush. At the end of the day I voted for Republicans across the board on my mail-in ballot vote. I will never vote for a liveral demwit again..and make the same mistake I did the last time around.

    October 12, 2012 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  9. Wilberforce

    Who won? Probably the moderator. The real question is who lost? Not much question there. OBiden, hands down!

    October 12, 2012 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  10. Landry

    Joe Biden gave us the equivalent of the HOWARD DEAN SCREAM tonight. The media is seriously underestimating the impact of his odd behavior.

    The RNC ad (already out there) is way too damaging. Too bad, because Joe is not that bad of a guy even if his politics are not mine.

    October 12, 2012 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  11. CarpeDiem

    I'm laughing at all the people outraged that CNN didn't say Biden won...HELLO?...Every news outlet is calling it a draw. If you want to talk about bias then look in the mirror.

    October 12, 2012 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  12. KPCali

    If I look strictly at behavior, Ryan won. Biden got so angry and nasty – practically frothing at the mouth at times. He was rude and condescending to the moderator. It looked like Ryan was amused at how crazy Biden got. I really like how Ryan explained things. Biden just didn't seem to understand why reducing troops during war season was really impacting the lives of our soldiers. Why couldn't we have waited to winter? If something happened to our president, heaven forbid, who would you want taking over? I'm sold on Ryan. And guess what? I'm a woman.

    October 12, 2012 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Biden won the debate hands down! CNN, no wonder your ratings stunk!

    October 12, 2012 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  14. Albert

    Truth by a Republican supporter
    Biden was stronger on content no doubt, but was also outrageously rude. Romney wasn't rude and so is Ryan. This displays immaturity and will cost Biden.

    October 12, 2012 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  15. debbie fields

    CNN fist reported their polls showed Ryan WON the debate now they hide it and say it was even! this is what I copied from their site!
    CNN Poll on VP debate winner: Ryan 48%, Biden 44%

    October 12, 2012 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Hahaha who the heck did you poll?? yes Biden's smirk and interruptions might have come off wrong, but look at the issues, Biden absolutely destroyed Ryan. This debate, no question, was a win for Obama/Biden. I dont see how you could see it any other way.

    Plus, still absolutely no details from Romney/Ryan on any policies. If i vote Republican, what am i voting for??

    October 12, 2012 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  17. Billy Bob

    Biden did a much better job than Obama and won the debate fair and square!!!

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

    coming from someone who is still unsure where my vote will go to. First of all I listen to all the debates rather than watch them, because honestly their facial expressions are pathetic. In this case all I heard was Biden constantly making random smirking noises, drove me nuts, he seriously has little or no self control, and was just completely rude always talking when ryan had the table. After this debate Obama will not have my vote because if he goes down, God help us if Biden is president. I'm not saying romeny is getting my vote, ryan wasn't "great" but he was much more impressive than Biden. From here on out it's either romeny.....or staying home.

    October 12, 2012 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  19. Melisa

    Biden won...easily. CNN is starting to just make things up.

    October 12, 2012 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  20. SwollenGoat

    Yeah this one was decidedly Biden's debate. CNN might want to revisit their polling process.

    October 12, 2012 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  21. Monica Joseph

    I am not american but what I have noticed from the past months is that Democrat did not go on CNN because they found them too partisan to Republican. If you read CNN 85% of the headlines are for Mitt/Republican. It is normal that the poll on CNN shows that Ryan run the debate.

    Please come back to your neutral position.

    October 12, 2012 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Biden would have won if it was a Jerry Springer show but it wasn't. This kind of disrespectful show serves the purpose of blocking the other debater's ability to get his point across to the audience... something Biden couldn't allow. Unfortunately for the Dems, although this kind of spectacle is entertaining, it will turn off the Independent voter. Sorry, try again.

    October 12, 2012 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  23. Aster L

    Biden did an amazing job coming out strong and refused to let Ryan get away with bald-faced lies. He did a great job. Ryan's responses were evasive and unspecific, something that Biden continuously reminded him about.

    October 12, 2012 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  24. George C.

    CNN, stop sensoring the right to free speech in these forums, when they are credible and professional.

    It is showing so many of us what side your agenda is taking on the matter. We may not be voicing it within these blogs but you can bet, word is spreading on your discrimination of free/clean speech.

    October 12, 2012 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  25. rizzink

    I thought Biden was immature and condescending toward Ryan... Anyone share the same thought?

    October 12, 2012 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
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