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. willie

    We know from past debates that Biden would do well. Yes, he does have more experience but what did he tell us about the future?? Nothing! He threw the intelligence community under the bus when it came to Libya. Had Biden kept his cool and been more respectful and statesman like, I think the headlines may be a little different this morning but he wasn't. He was trying to make up for the MIA president at the first presidential debate. Biden took it too far. JMO

    October 12, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  2. Ed

    I do not believe either won. However, I do believe Biden lost. Biden proved annoying, condescending, and giddy. He should have switched to decaf earlier in the day.

    October 12, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  3. Chris

    Where were Biden's specifics? He spent the entire time attacking Romney/Ryan proposals without offering any specifics of Obama proposals! His answers in response to questions about the lack of security in Libya were absolutely ridiculous. He needs to spend less time at the dentist having his teeth whitened and at the tanning salon and more time figuring out why unemployment in his home town is higher now than it was when he came into office.

    October 12, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  4. Truth

    How did Ryan win? This was a clear win for Biden. Not even close. He made Ryan look like he did not even have a plan and did not know what he was talking about.

    I will be the fist to say Romney dominated Obama last debate... but this was a clear win for Biden. CNN... this is why your rating are going down. You can not even get who won correct.

    October 12, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  5. doug

    neither really did good neither really did bad. both had slip ups and messed their words up. if i had to chose a winner i'd pick biden but not by much. "47%" & "you didn't build it on your own" both prez candidates have had slip ups. election year is sometime more entertaining than the BCS. and someone always gets screwed regardless of the outcome.

    October 12, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  6. no vote for romney

    Biden did GREAT! I cannot understand how anyone would vote for Romney.
    Even Martha asked Ryan for specifics and the best he could he was say "it will
    be a bipartisan effort"-talk about sound bites! It was obvious that he had
    no answer at all for her. And i love the "now you're Jack Kennedy" from Biden.
    Ryan was completely outclassed. I wish Biden could do all the debates. He'd expose
    this empty suit platform–another point Biden made that Ryan had no answer for was
    how do you cut taxes by 20 percent AND built up the military and control the deficit.
    Absolutely NO answer on that from him because he does NOT have one!

    October 12, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  7. Jampy

    Hands on Joe Biden won that debate, he attacked, had an answer to any point Ryan made and went at it. Experience showed here, although I will give Ryan credit that he did hold his own. And also, where is this poll???

    October 12, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  8. directrich

    Ryan won big time! Joe Biden was smug and disrespectful during the debate. Both brought up great points, however Biden was very disrespectful, not indicative of a good leader.

    October 12, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  9. Thezel

    In all honesty, I think Ryan did a pretty good job, but clearly showed the holes in the Romney platform. And Joe? well, Joe is Joe. And he did try to challenge Ryan on his "facts" Smiling, yes, he was cursing like a sailor inside though. A lot of "malarky" indeed.

    October 12, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  10. Gloria

    Biden won. Hands down.

    October 12, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  11. Anonymous

    Biden's approach was to scream and poke. When my wife does that, I lose interest in what we're talking about. The poles think Ryan won only because he was more gentlemanly. He was.

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

    At the time I voted on the cnn blog last night near the end of the debate it was 63 – 37 in favor of Biden. What happened?

    October 12, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  13. CT

    I don't think rayn won last night. You can't win if you don't tell the public what you will do sepcifically in the next four years. Biden, on the orher hand, was very informative and educational.

    As first time registered independent voter, I found its

    Sent from my iPhone

    October 12, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  14. brett

    I am neither democrat or republican so my take is unbiased. Anybody who thinks Ryan won, is absolutely in denial or flat out clueless. Biden was on point and yes he did laugh and smirk which was good because that shows confidence. We all do the same thing, especially when we know we are right about something and knowing the other person is wrong. Biden was clearly the winner and let me say this..obama better be glad he isnt debating Biden.

    October 12, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  15. Jeffrey

    Biden won no doubt about it. Ryan was talking around the bush. I am not sure who all voted for Ryan that means that much % of americans still are not knowledgeable about things.

    October 12, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  16. Janic

    What a BUFFOON! Serious issues being discussed, and Biden's looking like the Joker....but then again, the administration has no record to run on, so let's distract 'em with the antics of the moron, looking like a drunken old fool.

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

    How many people really think this debate swayed an "Undecided" voter to vote one way or the other. Seriously, this poll and any other tells me that 47% of the people that watched last night and voted on this poll were Romney supporters and 43% of the people that watched last night and voted on this poll were Obama supporters. I left 1% off for margin of errors...see, I could run a poll too.

    October 12, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  18. jason

    sometimes someone says something so egregious that they need to be interrupted. It's rare, but apparently not so rare when it's a republican speaking.

    October 12, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  19. hank danger

    Who on earth watching this pole would think that Ryan won? That fake android was called out on all of the GOP fiction and failed to even respect the moderator which really symbolizes the 50's mentality he and the party he represents has for women. Can anyone imagine this fake human as our president?

    October 12, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  20. KattyH

    Was Biden sober? His laugh was creepy...

    October 12, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  21. WeatherbyMarkV

    Well Tracy, in "real" polls you can't just get on your computer and vote and vote and vote. I think it's pretty evident why you "weren't allowed to vote".

    My thoughts:

    Content; 50/50 both guys
    Arrogance: 100% Biden
    Staying calm; 100% Ryan
    Believability: 60% Ryan/ 40% Biden

    Ryan gets the edge. I agree with the CNN poll.

    October 12, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  22. Big Jilm

    I love how Ryan's answer to the vet's question on campaign negativity was pretty much an example of extreme negativity -he didn't really answer the vet's question and just used it as another chance to attack Obama.

    We get that you don't like him. We hear your message there. Do you have any others?

    Republicans need a better domestic policy than "troll liberals."

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

    Ryan won only because he didn't completely cave? When you get to the nitty gritty, Ryan was asked for specifics on several issues and never gave any. Romney/Ryan continue to flip flop on the issues giving out what they think the voters want to hear on any given day. They are more interested in getting the office than helping our country.

    October 12, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  24. ej

    Clearly Vice President Biden won this debate. Ryan is inexperienced and it showed. If needed this man is not ready to be President. Who was voting to show that Ryan won in this debate? Obviously it must have been some underage kids. I believe CNN should do a redo on the poll to obtain correct numbers. The real numbers will matter on November 6. Which Obama and Biden will win.

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

    It doesn't matter who won because both sides are full of lies but I have to say there are more housing going up around town, I just got a payroll raise, my insurance open enrollment was yesterday and my premiums didn't skyrocket like they republicans said they are.

    October 12, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
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