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. Wilson

    Bullyboy Biden showed what liberals are all aboiut. No record to run on??? Then be rudecrude and sociallyunacceptable, i.e. typical liberal.

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

    Paul Ryan was much more intellectual. While Biden was all over the place. He never once answered the question asked. He just kept saying well Romney said or did this. His ending statement was the worst in History. Who brings up the person your running against in your closing speech he didn't even look into the camera and address the nation. Paul Ryan won hands down. He wasn't even frazzeled. He looked straight into that camera and told us to vote for Romney/Ryan and why. I was on the bubble until the 1st debate and last night also helped me see that these guys will not buckle under pressure. These are the type of people I can't wait to see run the country. Romney/Ryan 2012!!!!!

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

    Biden was rude and pompous

    October 12, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  4. joe

    Romney won the first one 67% to 25%. This one is a small win for Ryan 48% to 44%. Obama has a lot of catching up to do in the next two debates. He's getting beat at his own game.

    October 12, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  5. frank

    Ryan WON and america will win with him...he made sense

    October 12, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  6. Clare

    Biden won!

    October 12, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  7. monicavlucas

    "Biden was rude." This is simple spin from Fox News that people picked up and repeated. Biden was not rude. The policies of the right are so blatantly selfish that we were all laughing. Does that make half of the country rude? NO. It makes us clear on the real issues and what it will take to continue our recovery. Ryan is working for a small percentage of the citizenry, and he was obvious about it last night. Laughing at absurdity is not rude. It's honest.

    October 12, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  8. Anonymous

    My kids asked who the scary old man was on TV that kept yelling. Now they will have nightmares of Biden.

    October 12, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  9. Amazed_476

    "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."

    Funny, I don't remember CNN pointing out polls that have samples of +12 Democrats as being unrepresentative of the population.

    October 12, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  10. Brent

    Both done well but Biden needs to act his age, very immature.

    October 12, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  11. Josh

    I think overall Biden won the debate, but it wasn't a blowout; so I think Ryan did hold his ground. However, I think Biden's job was to lay the ground work for Pres. Obama to make a come back for Tuesday Night. Biden did his job, but it's ultimately up to the President to win, (or lose), this election. Hopefully it will be the former...OBAMA/BIDEN, 2012!

    October 12, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  12. Abs

    Biden was the clear winner. Not sure which debate those polled by CNN were watching...

    October 12, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  13. Doug the Slug

    If the American people think Ryan won, it only proves that you can't underestimate the stupidity of the American public.
    News networks seem to love to spin these things as closer than they really are. I guess that it makes for better television. If you pull the lever for the Romney/Ryan clown ticket, then you deserve what you get. It's just too bad that the rest of the world has to suffer at the whim of the American voter.

    October 12, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  14. BR NC

    Biden clearly lied about Libya. Why would I believe anything else he says?

    October 12, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  15. monocle88

    The Vice President won this debate. These poll numbers are crazy!

    October 12, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  16. krelia

    I'll take my honest crazy uncle, over a sleazy car salesman anyday.

    October 12, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  17. me@cnn.com

    Smooth Ryan .. Easy winner here....

    Laughing Joe, great clown work.. that caused you to lose.

    October 12, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  18. aleks shevchenko

    Biden should be sentenced to anger management classes. He acted like a child. Ryan clearly stayed on message without stooping to Joe's level.

    October 12, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  19. Ralph

    I cant think straight – Joe Biden keeps yelling at me!

    October 12, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  20. Craig Spence

    What debate were these people watching? The one I watched showed Vice President Biden given responses to questions, demanding answers from Congressman Ryan, and addressing the American people in a personable fashion. Ryan, on the other hand, seemed to have taken a page from Governor Romney's book and couldn't give specifics on anything and appeared bewildered that he was being asked to do so! Biden was not the model of politeness, that's to be granted, but he held himself in check until he (and chances are most others in attendance and watching) got tired of hearing the same old run-around. Biden won. Check again.

    October 12, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  21. Jezzy

    Biden got this. He won.

    October 12, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  22. Tony

    I don't like the idea of Biden laughing as if we are on comedy central ,however,It is very obvious that Biden won the debate.Only God knows where CNN is getting their reports from.We all see how many litters of H20 Ryan consumed during the debate.It showed that Ryan was very nervous and doesn't have the necessary facts to substantiate his arguement.Americans need to wake up.

    October 12, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  23. Be Sane

    Great job Joe! WINNER! Joe and the President will fight for the middle class. We need them on our side and they will be.

    October 12, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  24. Esqibo

    Well, someone actually stood up against all those lies from these republican candidates. Great job by Biden, not allowing this nonsense in his watch. Biden is the clear winner. Candidates Romney and Ryan should no that lying will not get them to the White House.

    October 12, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  25. david williams

    since the CNN poll cannot "represent all of the American people" how can there be a margin of error? The poll is simply what the people questioned answered. It is amazing to see the media try to get around the fact that Ryan clearly won. Wolf Blitzer, beholding the 48 to 44 Ryan win, immediately declared it a "draw!" So did members of CNN's panel of experts. Sorry! You can't spin this one.

    October 12, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
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