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. Kennedy I.O.U.

    I feel disappointed that the respected CNN is turning to be unreliable as Fox TV. Please, don't undermine the station credibility. V.P. Joe, won the debate.

    October 12, 2012 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
  2. Got Geddy?

    Paul Ryan schooled the circus clown Joe Biden, as expected. I guess when you have no record to run on, you have to resort to laughing and scowling at your opponent. I guess he thinks it's funny that 23,000,000 people are out of work and that the Dem policies haven't helped - only hurt - the situation. November 6 cannot get here fast enough.

    October 12, 2012 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  3. Ind in sc

    It would seem per the posts here Biden won. Apparently talking over the other guy and being rude and disrespectful iis now deemed the deciding factor in politics. It's no wonder we have the politicians we have and deserve; blissful ignorance. Sheep being led to the slaughter

    October 12, 2012 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  4. Brian

    Biden held a stronger argument. He was rude, which was disappointing, but Ryan didn't do much for me.

    October 12, 2012 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  5. bryanbeus

    Biden was downright rude.
    I heard that he spent the last six or seven days in pure isolation memorizing the numbers to try to win this debate—and he didn't. What that proves is that if given as much time as he wants to prepare (which is not given the majority of the time) he succeeds only in being disrespectful and supercilious.
    Not getting my vote.

    October 12, 2012 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  6. Gary Theisen

    Ryan looked more presidential. Biden looked unhinged – as usual.

    October 12, 2012 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  7. Michael

    I listened on the radio on my way home from work. Couldn't see Joe's face, but I listened as he loudly interrupted Ryan again and again. Joe was a complete jerk. I was embarrassed that this was broadcast worldwide.

    October 12, 2012 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  8. louis

    Why do you to lie this wasn"t even Close Biden by a mile...even the moderator tried to get specifics and Ryan couldn't/wouldn't give any. You don't have to fudge the #'s anymore we will pay attention

    October 12, 2012 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  9. Eastender

    Biden for President - Obama can be his VP. Ryan doesn't have the experience to play with the big boys.

    October 12, 2012 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  10. doyen

    Badin was clear,and simple,tough

    October 12, 2012 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  11. Canadian view

    Joe Biden hands down won !

    October 12, 2012 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  12. FrankBlack

    In the real world Ryan came off much better than Biden. Biden was arrogant, disrespectful and petty. Many Americans picked up on that and were turned off by it. Someone commented that people on Twitter think that Biden won? Come on Twitter?

    October 12, 2012 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  13. caretaker989

    Yea they got these results from a poll that surveyed only 391 registered voters who watched the debate with a 5% +/- error...so yea this isn't accurate at all

    October 12, 2012 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  14. Leif

    The audience won. Best debate in the entire election cycle so far.

    October 12, 2012 04:55 am at 4:55 am |
  15. Nickuru

    Biden clearly won this debate.
    I am not certain that Romney beat Obama ilast week. Romney is sizzle and chintz and no facts to back him up. The media is a big business so obviously Rupert Murdoch and his sheep are bleating about the Romney campaign. Romney argued that he did not claim tax breaks when he out sourced American jobs to China, India and Brazil during the debate. Who wants a president who will outsource America's jobs overseas while promoting tax cuts for the rich? If Romney gets elected we will go into The Great Depression Version 2.0

    October 12, 2012 04:55 am at 4:55 am |
  16. Jason Marcel

    I just finished watching it because I worked earlier, and it's clear to me that Joe Biden could step in as President if needed and Paul Ryan could not.

    Biden could handle any question about everything while Ryan looked like he had just studied real hard for a big test. On Afghanistan, I felt that Paul Ryan had no idea what he was talking about. Same with Iran and Syria, it was all coached and canned answers from him.

    On taxes and individual liberty for women, Joe Biden clearly took those issues. I felt Biden scored a major hit when he reminded everyone that Paul Ryan wrote the administration letters asking for Stimulus money. The Stimulus was supposed to be evil, remember? So bad indeed that Ryan and other Republicans were begging for funds to help create jobs.

    Joe Biden not only won this debate, he commanded it.

    October 12, 2012 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  17. Name darius lawton

    this is for joe morning show,joe bidren won the debate,it was like a father schooling his son the fact of life

    October 12, 2012 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  18. charles

    Stupid CNN is becoming just to please GOP. Even my seven years old daughter knows Biden won. Come on CNN this is shame on your part.

    October 12, 2012 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  19. James

    Biden's debate method is to LAUGH at his opponent. For someone with supposed experience in debating, this just made him look juvenille and pathetic. Is this how he works with people on the other side of the isle? Its no wonder nothing gets done in Washington with LEADERS behaving like this. Seriously. Think about how well this would go over if he were debating a foreign official. And he clearly wants to be our next president.

    October 12, 2012 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  20. Germanicus

    I think it was pretty close matchup but Biden seemed both more in command of the debate and got in better punches.

    October 12, 2012 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  21. Teacher's Pet

    Joe Biden was awesome! Wish that Obama had unleashed himself like this. Although the camera angles favored Ryan, (except from the side views, which made Ryan look like Pinocchio, Joe Biden was both charming and brilliant. Although some may not like that he had a smile on his face, one thing about Joe....what you see is what you get, and one could tell that he knows way more than this young hotdogger. Great job, Joe! I'm sending you money!!!!

    October 12, 2012 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  22. Danise Johnson

    Sometimes I wonder if all the reporters are watching the same debates as I. Ryan stood his ground and answered the questions about abortion, and said the same thing twice. I heard a reporter say Ryan ran from the issue. She also catagorized me as being a women who believes in abortion . Not everybody believes in abortion lady. We don't "all " need to be scared. Its all the children without a choice that needs to be scared. The irresponsible men and women who dont use protection and then abort their children need to be scared. Scared of the guilt that will eat at them for the rest of their lives ( if they have a conscious). Guilt manifests itself in many different ways and its all damaging and even destructive.

    October 12, 2012 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  23. susan

    Biden never fails to show he's a buffoon

    October 12, 2012 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  24. Siavash Lashgari

    Biden won for sure.Ryan is a nervous yong man.it is dangrous to give country to hand of this people.

    October 12, 2012 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  25. Lauly

    Biden was just plain, weird. His smirking and constant interrupting was so annoying. I guess when someone else is so much smarter than you, you have to deflect the attention off of them and back to yourself somehow. His excuse on the Libya issue was laughable. He was trying to convince us that they didnt know of the dangers to the consulate, but then on the next topic, Iran, he assured us that they would know if Iran had nuclear weapons. Which is it Joe? They never take responsibility for their mistakes. His behavior was so un-presidential!!

    October 12, 2012 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
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