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. F.Sunderaraj

    I watched the Debate between Biden and Ryan and the Poll Result. I am amazed to realize that inspite of the USA's high literacy rate there is so much of political illiteracy there.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  2. Bayousara

    Someone's facial expressions would lose an election? You've got to be kidding! Joe was being classic Joe Biden. He has been around for a LONG TIME! He laughs like that all the time! This presidential race isn't about manners and presentation, folks! It is about giving America back to the middle class. If we can't do it, we won't have an America. I am sooo lucky to be a senior at this point in my life.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Biden LOST! Hands down... the guy looked like a total jerk that couldn't keep his mouth shut. Total put off.... Ryan should pure class.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  4. Charlie

    Face it, Ryan came off exactly like he is; the south bound end of a north bound horse. I've never voted for a Democratic candidate in my life but this collection of bozos has done it for me!! Obama-Biden 2012!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  5. John

    Paul Ryan won this easily! Biden resorted to interruptions, making faces and insults because he was called out on his lies.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  6. Party prince, tax

    Biden won! Who took this poll. Ryan told one lie after another. They want to continue to wage war on multiple fronts. Bring our troops home and build America – the infrastructure, economy, and the energy independence in ALL areas....

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  7. tim flike

    Biden was laughing his ars off,all the time.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  8. don

    I declare Ryan the winner. Cannot believe Biden showed such disrespect to another idea. His laughing and smirking shows his actual knowledge of the serious situation our nation faces. disgusting

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  9. Veritas Lavinga

    Ryan won clearly. Biden was rude and condescending. Ryan was professional, mature, and appreciative.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  10. Mel

    As independent, I have decide I'm voting for Obama and Biden... The republican cant be trusted!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  11. Ron in Seattle

    Absolutely clear to me who had the facts and who had conjecture with no alternate solution.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  12. SKH

    Biden is the true winner for tonight!!! No way Ryan won with all his lies!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  13. Slamo

    Ryan reminded me of a young jack Kennedy.....

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  14. jb

    This poll is a joke!! Come on! Biden WON!!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  15. OggieBoogie

    As an independent I heard all I wanted to hear tonight to make my final decision.

    Ryan: "We plan to meet with and sit at the table with democrats to discuss bipartisan approaches to resolving these complex issues. Believe it or not, sometime democrats have good ideas and we need to come together to implement critical strategies."

    Biden: "Whatever, *interrupt* you are lying! Blah, blah, blah blow.. hard"

    I am glad the liberal pundits at CNN think that this was more or less a draw, but it really was not even close. Biden clearly excited his base I am sure, but Romeny/Ryan already have their base excited, and have for some time. The REAL question is what the independents think. For me, my main problem with this administration has been the clear lack of ability to play with the other kids in the sandbox. Where is the talk about coming together to get things done from Obama/Biden???

    Really, the answer is just all too obvious. Only a partisan fool would vote for Obama/Biden at this point. Even as a moderate, I would have a hard time working with Biden and I could NEVER vote for him.

    Excite the base all you want, but I think good old Joe just blasted off his own head as far as wooing independents is concerned.

    From, an independent.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    381 registered voters who watched the debate! Wow ..... 381 people determined who won a nationally televised debate?????? Sad to say, I hate to believe what people are really thinking and saying! Do we need to do a reality check on CNN's method of polling?

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  17. smells like onions

    Apparently a Dem comment site. Anyone who really watched witnessed a ridiculous display by a senior citizen who was clearly out gunned by his opponent.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  18. Elle

    HIlarious that everyone who was all in heat for Romney over his "arrogance," "aggressiveness," and "willingness to stand his ground" are all of a sudden appalled (APPALLED, I tell you!) at Biden. No, these issues covered in the debate are not a laughing matter. But, clearly, Joe thought the way the Reps were addressing them was a series of jokes; so that's how he handled them. It took everything the man had to restrain himself from telling Ryan it's past his bedtime. This Independent's observation.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  19. Martin

    Biden slapped Ryan silly tonight. Biden won this debate hands down. Vice President Biden nailed Ryan especially calling Ryan on the two letter seeking stimulus funds for his congressional district. Egg on Ryan's face. Ryan who did not serve in the military and Romney who dodged Vietnam. Romney who skipped serving his country in Vietnam but instead cycled in France during his Mormon mission.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  20. Lynn

    I mean Ryan could NOT make the math work.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  21. Matt

    I don't know which debate these people are talking about. Biden won fare and square.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  22. Theodoros Shim

    LOL at the people confidently saying that the five point error margin clearly states that Biden won in reality...it could easily have been Ryan with another five point boost and biden with a drop. Can we agree it is a draw?

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  23. Silence majority

    My vote for Obama/biden

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  24. TX

    Talked to my sister and brother-in-law. Two truly independent voters. One voted for Bush.
    Both said that Biden won huge.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  25. bruce

    who did you poll exactly? Obviously not enough people. Ask me who won!

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
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