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. bryanbeus

    Proverbs 29:9 – 'If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.'

    October 12, 2012 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  2. Olga118

    Oh come on people. Biden was terrible. It was painful to watch. He came off like the insecure bully on the playground.

    October 12, 2012 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  3. john

    Although I could have done with out all the smiles from Biden, there is no doubt that he won. Hands down. He had more truthful facts with less distortion. Ryan gave the American People a true sense of his and Romneys' style of government not for the 100% but for the have mores and women are just on the sidelines mopping floors and having babies. No R&R do not share my Ideal America–far from it, and they scare me.

    October 12, 2012 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  4. Anonymous

    If you are independent, then you better pick a side, because you are going to lose.

    October 12, 2012 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  5. rams112

    I was surprised that immediately after the debate, Wolf Blitzer said it is a draw oblivious of the fact that he must be neutral. After that he opened for the poll to take place. Anyway, Wolf is a well-known Republican!!!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  6. Huh

    They sampled 381 voters and there's a +/- 5 point margin of error? What planet does this CNN statistician live on? It's not that I want one side to win over another; rather, I'd like to see accurate data collection and interpretation methods! #cnnfail

    October 12, 2012 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  7. Name darius lawton

    This is for the television show joe in the morning ,joe biden won the debate it was like a father schooling his son

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

    Sorry to say, What was Biden doing? What chance we had to make ground was killed by his RUDE behavior! This is debate 101, #1 stay composed and respectful, win with words! Biden's expressions looked like my teen when i ask him to clean his room, The cheering section needs to stop and we need to get it together!

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

    These first 2 debates confirm how unfit our top leaders running this country are; this is what are children have to look up to! Dear Dad how m,sad! We need leaders that want to bring our country and parties together and not divide us and that is what Romney/Ryan have promised to do. 6 trillion dollars later and these guys are proud of what they have done! We should have everyone employed with that money spent!

    October 12, 2012 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  10. ryan evans

    Answer: Not you

    October 12, 2012 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  11. Harleigh Kiffer

    Joe Biden never learns and once again his attempts at being cute and humble only show how obnoxious and out of touch he has always been.

    October 12, 2012 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  12. Byron Allen

    Ryan clearly won because he presented ideas for solutions ot problems. In restrospect, Biden has ZSRO answers for any issue. What dod Biden offer to save MEDICARE from bankruptcy? ZERO...NOTHING. What about the IRanian situation? ZRO...NOTHING. What about the unemployment? ZERO...NOTHING. Biden, was a jerk, arrogant and condescending and obviously did not come to c=have a serious discussion about the issues. The Democrats have no solutions and it showed.

    October 12, 2012 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  13. rsimcox

    It was pretty close to me as far as the debating, but Biden certainly came out as unlikable. It is simply a fact that Biden in the big chair is a scary scary thought.

    October 12, 2012 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  14. rsimcox

    Biden in the big chair is a scary scary thought.

    October 12, 2012 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
  15. victor imoh

    Tonight Biden was Romney and Ryan Obama.

    October 12, 2012 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Wow same people, keep drinking that kool aid and thinking Biden won. Neither side won this one.

    October 12, 2012 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  17. Shawn

    Where are you getting your statistics from – Biden took this one home all the way. I am really starting to think CNN has an agenda of its own. Good job Biden! Hopefully the president will pick everything back up on the 16th and have a better day! Obama-Biden2012!!!

    October 12, 2012 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  18. the7thseal

    biden clearly won.biden ate ryan alive

    October 12, 2012 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  19. werescrewed2012

    Paul Ryan looks just like Eddie Monster

    October 12, 2012 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  20. Mr D

    Don't know what debate CNN was watching but Biden clearly won this one, and I'm a Republican. Ryan was not ready at all for this debate.

    October 12, 2012 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  21. Mass. Resident

    Biden Won Easily! He SchooledThat Kid!!!

    Obama/Biden! 2012!!

    October 12, 2012 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  22. WellHello

    I'm a republican but Paul Ryan was terrible, Joe Biden won hands down. Where are you getting these results?

    October 12, 2012 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  23. Barb

    Ryan explained the answers much better. Biden seemed to be living off Regan's name and descions saying how great they were. Remember Regan was a Republican. Kind of makes you wonder.

    October 12, 2012 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  24. mij

    Ryan won!

    October 12, 2012 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  25. smc

    Who cares about who won!?!? Going back to the same failed Republican policies of the past 30 years would be another disaster.

    Wake up people! This country needs to move forward and say NO to Romney/Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
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