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. Puay Chan

    The 47% said Joe Biden

    October 12, 2012 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  2. texto

    CNN are just becoming ludicrous day by day. Are they being a partisan hack? Biden decimated Ryan ..

    October 12, 2012 04:24 am at 4:24 am |
  3. Neal Kluge

    Cnn:"The poll indicates that both men were seen as qualified to be president if necessary, by roughly equal numbers"

    PLEASE GIVE US RAW NUMBERS> RYAN MAY HAVE WON 60-40; i suspect CNN will call that a draw !!!!

    October 12, 2012 04:24 am at 4:24 am |
  4. fbowman

    What I saw was a rude old coot trying to school an exceptionally bright respectful young man. Who needs an old coot a heart beat away from the presidency? Both got their points across but Biden was just weird.

    I think he'd hit the Kentucky Bourbon before walking on stage. He rocked back and forth in his chair, smirked, laughed uncontrollably and the topics under discussion were no laughing matter.

    October 12, 2012 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  5. numbers71

    Biden clearly won. Is CNN trying to become Fox?

    October 12, 2012 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  6. jackenstien

    I can't say who WON this debate or who had the correct facts, but I can say that Biden acted rudely while Ryan kept his cool.

    October 12, 2012 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  7. B

    Once again we saw one being very presidential and respectful and the other was rude, arrogant, somewhat of a bully and very non presidential. I thought our next VP did a great job! How we must look to the world with this man as our current VP. I applaud our next VP who did a great job and kept his cool. Go Romney/Ryan

    October 12, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  8. MaryM

    VP Biden won the debate

    October 12, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  9. Columbia, MO

    What debate did you watch? Oh, your poll only had 31% Democrats...

    October 12, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  10. 蜡染人员

    Biden = desperate, angry, old laughing fool. Had to interupt and laugh because he had nothing to debate with.

    October 12, 2012 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  11. RyanO1974

    Biden set Ryan straight. Democrats are usually always too nice. Glad some people are standing up to the BS coming out of the Right wing machine.

    October 12, 2012 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  12. inthemiddle 2012

    I watched the debate and the reruns of it. I still see the VP winning this debate. Ryan dodged question after question. Yes both men smirked and laughed and demeaned each other. I expected that in a heated debate, but Ryan gave exagerated answers or just walked around the question. Atleast he admited that the Obama admistration was correct about Liba.

    October 12, 2012 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  13. Ann

    Vice President Biden was incredibly rude and condescending! Paul Ryan was respectful. Both articulated their points well. The moderator did a good job, though seemed to join Biden in interrupting Ryan more frequently than in the reverse.

    October 12, 2012 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  14. G2

    This CNN Poll is beginning to look like voter fraud. There's no way that Ryan won this debate. They must have been watching something else.

    October 12, 2012 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  15. nokat

    Biden seemed focused on being a clown, constantly trying to take swats at Ryan and missing.

    October 12, 2012 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  16. Jetranger

    The Great American GONG SHOW !!!

    October 12, 2012 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
  17. MNM

    Biden clearly won this! Who did this poll...Jack Kennedy?

    October 12, 2012 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
  18. randy pella

    Cnn just lots all credibility. Biden Floored Ryan and then sat on him for good measure. Cnn must have been watching an old rerun.

    October 12, 2012 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
  19. Steffie

    I usually like Biden, but he was so irritatingly smug and rude that I had to change the channel. I don't think he helped the cause at all, he acted like a smarmy sleazeball politician. The $^#& we are dealing with in the economy, debt, and jobs are not a ^%$@# joke...not to people like me...

    October 12, 2012 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  20. cooler

    Who can support Ryan who wants women to carry rapists' children?

    October 12, 2012 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  21. Anonymous

    CNN were too busy reading the tweets and forgot about the debate.

    October 12, 2012 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  22. Bob

    It's hard to think that Biden and Obama could ever be bipartisan with that kind of disrespectful demeanor towards the other party. I kept thinking....seriously.... Kanye?? Is that you?

    October 12, 2012 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
  23. Chuck Snow

    As a Massachusetts blue blood Democrat, I have to admit that Biden displayed poor form tonight. He acted like the hick I always thought Bush was. He was rude arrogant smug and disrespectful.

    October 12, 2012 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  24. Demo Crats

    FOX NEWS FORMERLY CNN , give me a break, ryan got his debate table handed to him poll small

    October 12, 2012 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  25. Rafael

    I think that neither VP candidate won, but Joe looked and acted very disrespectful specially when it got to the part about the Libya situation.

    October 12, 2012 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
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