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. aurelius

    Ryan came across as a FOX contributor.

    October 12, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  2. Bev

    that was the worse debate i have ever watched i'm dissapointed in biden he was rude would not let ryan speak i guess when you have no record to run on thats what happens

    October 12, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  3. timinfla

    Biden was rude and condicending, even scolding the narator at one point. Ryan won this one

    October 12, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  4. Tim

    Biden won the debate but I don't agree with him on some issues. I'm still voting for ROMNEY/RYAN 2012!

    October 12, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  5. MDDD

    Biden

    October 12, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  6. cm

    If you are talking about the water drinking contest- Ryan won.
    Biden won on facts and truth.

    October 12, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  7. Dale

    Joe Biden.....even though ryan may have presented himself better, i look beyond that there was lacking of "substance", he couldn't lay out a plan, ryan didn't have his facts correct about iran, he avoided some issues or danced around them. Oh for all the women and the abortion issue, read the romney plan on it, lets not forget the convention and what the RNC put forth, and how Romney / ryan have openly stated differences in public forums now.......flip/flopping, doesn't tell the entire scope of thier idea( to pull in voters). grants, increased health care for seniors, pre existing conditions will be considered under the romney plan, --Ryan had no "meat" just looked good. ( maybe he should go back to the gym and bulk up a bit more)

    October 12, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  8. Biggster

    Funny. I was pretty sure, Biden won.

    October 12, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  9. Jules

    Biden easily won the debate. The difference is that Vice President Biden knows his stuff and Paul Ryan recites his stuff. Ryan learned a lot of things in debate preparation so he could spit it back out, but Joe Biden really knows it – he didn't just learn it.

    October 12, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  10. Tina

    Biden won by far.

    October 12, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  11. Namejeff

    48 to 44...that's not "split"

    October 12, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  12. Brad

    Clearly, Ryan was the intelligent adult in this debate. As to who won the debate – the moderator! She had little control of the debate and demonstrated a clear bias. I guess Republicans need to start inviting reporters to various personal functions! It's ok though – the left can keep telling themselves that they are wining......at least for a few more weeks.

    October 12, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  13. mersey

    There sure are a lot of out of touch progressives on this web site. If any of you think middle America likes the smug antics on display by Joe Biden during this debate, you definitely live on a parallel universe. I know you see nothing wrong, because reading your comments, most of you are as smug and arrogant as Biden himself. Another debate, another loss for the Democrats. Life is good!

    October 12, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  14. Uomo Del Ghiaccio

    The debate was very close and Paul Ryan held his own, but Joe Biden was just plain rude and disrespectful. Combine it with his regular gaffe's, hair-brained ideas and it makes me wonder if he is capable of stepping up to be president if necessary. Remember that if it was up to Joe Biden Iraq would now be three different countries.

    October 12, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  15. Jose

    I'm scratching my head. Biden easily beat Ryan. Called bs on the incorrect facts, and Ryan had no comeback, could not name several specific examples of their policies. Ryan came off as uninformed, and full of magic instead of cold logic and rationality. Obama clearly lost the first debate and Biden clearly won this one. Frankly, it made me realize how lucky we are to have a competent man a heartbeat away from the presidency. Ryan? Leading our nation? He looked kinda like a muppet.

    October 12, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  16. Big Ed

    If you win a debate by constantly interrupting whenever your opponent makes a point, acting like a drunk in a bar and coming off like a senile old man. Biden won. If you win a debate by being cool headed and having a command of facts, Ryan smoked him.
    Even with the help of the moderator in trying to get Ryan off his game, Biden couldn't pull it off.

    October 12, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  17. Phil Nedham

    Very disappointing...Not the debate.....it was outstanding.....but the so-called analyses by the CNN "experts". Perfectly and abundantly obvious who won...Biden – hands down. So, he was rude – so what?....he was dead-on- the money with pinning Ryan's vacuous statements to the floor. Even Ms Radditz couldn't get any specifics out of him. Biden had fact-checked facts vs. Ryan's often wild accusations and so-called realities. Of course registered Repubs will say he won. They're all living in their deluded universe. On the flip side – does Obama genuinely deserve a second term?..I don't think so...but the alternative – being a guy who say anything to anybody to get elected – makes Obama the regrettable default choice. America – in this election – no matter who wins – you lose this time around

    October 12, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  18. Logo4245

    Biden was condescending, arrogant, rude, unhinged and weird. If you found his behavior attractive in any way, I suspect you watched the debate at home alone with your nine cats.

    October 12, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  19. michelle

    Biden was not rude. The smiling was clearly a reaction to lies Paul Ryan was saying. Do you want him to sit there with no expression on his face while someone sits across from him and lies and twists facts? It was a DEBATE- people debate the issues. Biden gave great answers-lots of facts and information.

    October 12, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  20. Voter

    Ryan won. Biden showed himself to be an out of touch, crazy, old man.

    October 12, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  21. wakeupamerica

    Biden came across like an immature employee who got called in for a chat with his (much) younger boss last night: Sarcastic, angry, evasive, dramatic, and clueless. I had an employee like that once...then I FIRED HIM! Wake up America - that guy is one heartbeat away from being your president!

    October 12, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  22. Dan

    Ryan. Biden was pretty comical though trying to make up lost ground.

    October 12, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  23. Ken

    Biden was disrespectful, rude and arrogant. Whenever Ryan challenged him on any sbject, Biden's face got red and he would say "those are the facts" about ten times, as though that was going to be convincing.

    Ryan was the opposite. He was couteous and respectful, and when challeneged his answers were well-prepared and well-informed. Ryan won hands down.

    October 12, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  24. themsey

    it seems the poll was biased in favor of republicans and then allowed for an error
    i don't even think fox would be that manipulative

    October 12, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  25. SanAnton

    Joe "the village idiot" Biden was stuttering and stammering and smirking innappropriately. He once agian showed what a buffoon he is.

    October 12, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
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