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. joe

    Ryan was AWESOME

    October 12, 2012 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  2. 111Dave111

    Do you trust Ryan to help decide your health care future?

    October 12, 2012 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  3. money and The power

    Joe Biden

    won

    October 12, 2012 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  4. JAMM

    Ryan was more respectful , while both had the answers. The obama foreign policy is a large scam. It's all dirty politics.

    October 12, 2012 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  5. 111Dave111

    Do you trust Ryan / Romney to decide whether solid middle class jobs come back?

    October 12, 2012 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  6. Sirned

    For the first time I'm questioning the credibility of CNN. Not only this poll but the pundits discussing this debate afterward. So many right leaning commentators.

    October 12, 2012 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  7. MG.

    Congrats to Paul Ryan for his V.P. debate victory over bumbling Joe Biden! ... It's looking bad for the Democrats at being 0 for 2!

    October 12, 2012 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
  8. Mark Upshaw

    No one is more disrespectful than Romney but as soon as the democrats respond the same way, its negative! Last week it was call being aggressive, but hey if my party loses I will finds things to complain about too!

    October 12, 2012 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  9. Name Patearw

    Wear blue every day.. it's free to show your support ... great job Joe!

    October 12, 2012 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  10. Sam

    A sign that Joe won the debate-

    The republican pundits are complaining about the" biased-moderator", Joe's style and body language, the time allotted between the two men, etc....

    Personally I thought that Joe wiped the floor with Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  11. RealityCheck

    Biden totally bombed. He was delirious and had NOTHING to offer the American people.

    October 12, 2012 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  12. Steve Alex

    It's looking bad for Obama and the Dems at being 0 for 2 in the debates! Most of the media agree's with your poll ...congrats Paul Ryan!

    October 12, 2012 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  13. Tommygun

    "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."

    Nice bit of deceptive wording CNN, but you FAIL. If 31% of participants identified as Democrats and 34% identified as Independents, that means 35% – a MAJORITY – of participants were Republicans. So much for an unbiased poll.

    October 12, 2012 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
  14. Tren835

    Vice President Biden was absolutely impressive!! His responses and comments clearly showed his level of expertise, knowledge and skills. He thoroughly understands the issues and draws on his past experiences. I am very proud he is our country's Vice President. My vote will clearly go to President Obama and Vice President Biden. Biden won by a landslide!!

    October 12, 2012 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  15. Bowz

    Liberals probably loved Biden, since most liberals I know seem to enjoy paper-tigerring arguments by interrupting them two sentences in.

    October 12, 2012 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  16. ryan?.... what a joke

    Biden all the way

    October 12, 2012 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  17. emer

    a great teacher and his pupil

    October 12, 2012 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  18. moelarrycurly

    Biden kicked Ryan's tukkis all over the debate room. Ryan was on defense all night, and showed he had little understanding of most of the questions asked and problems normal Americans face. Ryan just didn't have command of any answer he gave and gave zero specifics when asked for them.

    October 12, 2012 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  19. vladimir.

    I believe with my all heart that Joe Biden won, and Ryan didnt have much to say cause he was kinda mixing things....

    October 12, 2012 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  20. chris m

    Elect a Democrat, lose an Embassy!

    October 12, 2012 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  21. NameFaye

    Biden's actions turned me off. His statements didn't help him or Obama. Get him out of office

    October 12, 2012 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  22. Cool Dude

    Biden killed Ryan. Biden showed passion in how he spoke, while Ryan felt no emotion to the questions.

    October 12, 2012 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
  23. chris m

    Yes, now liberals say CNN and ABC are part of the vast right wing conspiracy because they called the debate a draw. Hilarious.

    October 12, 2012 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
  24. Babawale Timothy

    Barack Obama is 85% qualified among other presidential candidates concerning security purpose.

    October 12, 2012 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  25. Samaita

    what? the truth VP Biden won and the young Ryan misfired on all but everything on the foreign policy, on Afghanistan, on Syria, on Iran, on Israel, he seem to keen on picking a fight with Russia and maybe China...wow, on this Ryan boy...u need to close to your strategic allys than ever boy! He got some few points on Libya on the foreign policy issue, he was schooled by the veteran! Kudo Biden Kudo!!!

    October 12, 2012 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
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