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. fozz

    Biden won this debate. How was the stats collected for this poll anyway? Convenience sampling obviously!

    October 12, 2012 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  2. THirsty Ryan

    I have no plan, where is my water.

    October 12, 2012 05:49 am at 5:49 am |
  3. Demetrius

    I love how the Republican voters claim that Biden was rude and disrespectful, yet Mitt Romney was "presidential" when he interrupted the President of the United States.

    Its cute with the double standards, honestly, real cute.

    October 12, 2012 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  4. Jane

    Joe BIden was the clear winner. He made Ryan look like a little angry boy.

    October 12, 2012 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  5. clarke

    I felt Biden did better by answering with facts, ryan sounded like he was a campaign rally and so many times he did not answer the question , he also did not give specifics when ask.. Ryan did ok and Biden would have won, if his style would of been better. But that is Biden.

    October 12, 2012 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  6. Peaceupatowndwn

    Biden won , but tell me why Ryan couldnt answer any question without running from actually answering the question at hand . No I dont want them as my President nor VP im good #TeamObamaBiden2012

    Plus yes I am black
    Yes I am going around dragging all my friends to the polls

    Boo to the Entire GOP yall dont like The 47% of us anyways...

    The End

    October 12, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  7. Richard

    I'm not sure what some of you were watching, but obviously you were not watching objectively. I am an independent undecided voter. Biden came across as smug, conceded, and uninformed. I watched with 5 others undecided voters, all of which had the same opinion. Biden's, and the moderator for that matter, constant interruptions of Ryan were rude and distracting which appears to have been the goal. Toward the end when Joe calmed down and realized that he was not phasing Ryan, Ryan began developing a flow. Joe was all over and Ryan stuck to his message.....when he was able to speak uninterrupted. To me the debate was uneventful and will have no impact on my decision. Still undecided and want to see the remaining debates that have more meaning.

    October 12, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  8. matthew mwale

    Biden schooled Ryan,now we know that the date polls from CNN are not accurate,it was clear that Ryan was tutored on important issues that a Veep need to know since they are just a heart beat away from the presidency.Biden won by a clear win

    October 12, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  9. Chris

    The only person that won was Bidens dentist. Showing off those nice glowing dentures. His smile is a reflection of this administration. Laughing and shrugging off any ideas that are not from the democrats. I think obama is in real trouble if he does not start putting forward a real ideas, not just attacks.

    October 12, 2012 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  10. AJ

    Go Biden – you did AWESOME! – CNN is slowly adopting Mitt Romney's character – good for CNN.

    October 12, 2012 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  11. Gary

    Biden u were amazing lastnight that how a debate suppose to get....

    October 12, 2012 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  12. KOOLZ

    You ordinary people and listless 47 percenters need to realize that the Mormon G(g)od of this planet has decided that Romney is going to be the next President. OBEY AND BE HAPPY.

    October 12, 2012 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  13. Hookem

    Martha Raddatz was terrible trying to manage last nights debate. She acted like a typical liberal by making sure she asked about abortion but not one question about illegal immigration, price of gas, energy independence. Exactly why I stopped watching ABC News years ago!

    October 12, 2012 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  14. ronvan

    WE are just screwed up!! We watch these things and then argue over who won/lost, knowing full well that each one is going to push their agenda. We should ALL know about Biden. How he acts, most people say he "tells it as he feels it", and full speed ahead. And when he smiles, raises his hands, etc., WE slam him for it! For me, I heard nothing new, just the same old stuff spoken in a different way. ANYONE who thinks that our problems are going to be solved overnight are dreaming! And lets not forget that whoever wins it really depends on IF & WHEN BOTH parties are going to WORK TOGETHER.

    October 12, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  15. Connie Wozny

    I've been a CNN fan for years, but have to say that it's very clear to me that your writers skew Right. What a disappointment. Why is it that your headers consistently focus Republican?

    October 12, 2012 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  16. fdmtt1877

    It looked like Biden took Ryan to school. I also thought we might be looking at a future president in Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  17. johnnyonthespot

    Biden absolutely killed it!

    October 12, 2012 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  18. Mossdog of Moss

    now, i came in late, but stayed up to watch its entirety. i have to say Ryan won, making valid points. questionable replys such concerning what would each do/ do differently concerning Syria, Ryan stated he would have acted right away, vs, putting it off to see how it was going to turn out. legit answer. what would he do now, nothing? again appropiate. action was put off to the point where the actual Syrian rebals are infest NOW with AQ. cant really do anything now, other than go to war on the rebels behalf. he hit the notes on every other topic, unlike Biden. IMO: Romney won, looking at the current situations in all the questions.
    I do feel rather than slamming their partners opponents, and defending running mates, more time should/ could have been spent on topics at issue.

    October 12, 2012 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  19. Rusty

    Ryan demolished Biden! Biden was a bully who spent more time hee hawing and hollering than talking. Ryan was composed and concise. Independent voters will continue to lean toward th Romney Ryan ticket after this debate.

    October 12, 2012 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  20. Henri Lorie

    I also begin to feel that CNN (Blitzer in particular) has decided that Romney should win, and this has tainted their coverage in many ways in recent weeks. For me, CNN had been for objectivity and impartiality, where Fox News (and MSNBC) stood for silly partisanship. Where to go now? BBC News, I guess?

    October 12, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  21. jim

    I think it was toss-up. We saw Biden being rude and interrupting and laughing at lot. He put on a show. Ryan was more real and had solutions. Since a lot of Americans have no morals, integrity, character – it shows up in the people we elect.
    They are working for themselves and not for the people. It is all about getting relected and staying in office.
    In a couple of years , we will be following the plight of Greece. America better elect someone who is going to cut spending and get the budget under control. We need a trusted leader instead of someone the rest of the world laughs at!

    October 12, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  22. Dave

    The debate was a wash. Biden acted stupid the entire debate. He virtually yelled and stomped for 3/4 of the debate and Ryan only really landed a few punches.

    October 12, 2012 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  23. Chris

    I don't blame you guys for going weak on issues to become moderate but, do you (who actually studies this stuff every day) feel gratified with what you have been reporting lately? In this country 20% of people would say PBS and media is <1% of the budget and the other is getting their information from force fed moderism and lies that you knowingly publish. Educate America.

    October 12, 2012 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  24. GNC

    Joe Biden!!!

    October 12, 2012 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  25. RJ Kirker

    Forget how the debate played to a national audience, how did it play to voters in the states that will decide the election? In Florida, where seniors and retirees will ultimately decide which way this critical state goes on Nov. 6, Biden was Grandpa Joe, someone pretty much like them who spent 90 minutes setting the upstart youngster Ryan straight on how things really are. He spoke to them. Ryan spoke at them – if he spoke to them at all. Seniors aren't all that sure about Obama. But Biden seemed to put them at ease on Social Security and Medicare. Ryan? Not so much. Not at all, really.

    October 12, 2012 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
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