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. James

    Glad to see that facial expressions are what we vote on today. This country really is going down hill.

    October 12, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  2. Jane

    CNN's own "quick vote" on the home page has Biden 63% to Ryan's 37%. Doesn't make sense to me. But Biden did win.

    October 12, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  3. West Coast

    Biden showed us once again why he is unfit to be VP. Ryan was much sharper and was able to connect on the issues whereas Biden stumbled around as usual. We also learned that Obama/Biden are still in complete denial over Libya. Or could it really mean that they are just incompetent? I'm really beginning to think that is the case. Ryan won the debate hands down.

    October 12, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  4. herrick9

    Biden by a bunch....

    October 12, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  5. skinsnrugby

    Here is the fact: It's the economy stupid! The 23 million people without a job know what's going on and will do something about it.

    November is coming and there is nothing Obama, the liberal media, the unions, or liberals can do about it.

    October 12, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  6. Al

    The only one that needs to win is the American working families. That is what the election is all about giving back to the people that do go to work, that do pay taxes, that are not going to let anything get in their way to be a good provider for their family, and that is without any unearned government program. Examples of unearned are Welfare, Food Stamps,Medicaid, WIC. Social security is earned by the person that worked and paid their taxes, Medicare is paid for by those that have done the right thing all their lives, those people that did right early on should NO be punished for doing good. It's should be allowed that people go and earn their own living, and not off the back of the working. But this is the new America that is designed to make the weak dependent on hand outs and hand downs. Pride is out the window and buried in the Rose Garden.

    October 12, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  7. cat

    VP Pres was so rude last right...left me with a bad feeling about Biden and the entire administration

    October 12, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  8. BaHaHaHa!!!!

    Joe Biden couldn't help from laughing at the rediculus statements Ryan made. I laughed right along with him...Joe had his facts and countered Ryan's rediculus claims. I don't know where CNN got their numbers, but to me it was obvious Biden won Hands Down! Ryan did good holding his own, but his content was weak.

    October 12, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  9. Mark

    I'm a conservative and I found no clear winner last night. The one thing I did not like was the Libya explanation. That was completely CYA for the Administration. I'm pretty sure everyone who has no bias could see that aspect....even Chris Matthews saw that one!

    October 12, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  10. wake up

    how to you know a politician is lying? Their lips are moving

    October 12, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  11. Fred

    Honestly, how many of you that voted for Obama have ever voted before prior to 2008? My guess is ZERO.

    October 12, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  12. Melanie

    Biden is mean, rude, old and not even likable.

    October 12, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  13. KC

    Hands down Biden won the debate. He exposed what Ryan is a Bush loving, Neo-con who thinks he can scare the rest of the world into doing what the US does. A person who wants to gut Medicare/Social Security. A program that he admitted he and his family greatly benefited from and now he wants to turn into a voucher program (Medicare) and a privatized social security system. He wants to INCREASE military spending so he can look tough but has no real ideas how he would do things differently than the president is doing in Syria. Seriously, this was a good old butt kicking Ryan received. Now Republicans are going to use this poll as evidence that Ryan won, really I thought all polls were wrong/corrupt?

    October 12, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  14. skinsnrugby

    November is coming and there is nothing Obama, the liberal media, the unions, or liberals can do about it.

    Landslide time folks!

    October 12, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  15. Chris

    Ryan lost to himself, after he failed to give a single example of a tax deduction that he would cut. And how exactly are Romney and Ryan going to cut taxes "20% across the board," get rid of the inheritance tax, cut capital gains tax to 0% and not lower the tax burden on the wealthy? I'm no mathematician, but that does NOT add up.

    October 12, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  16. Kate

    Joe Biden acted self-righteous and was extremely arrogant! He interrupted Ryan 82 times!!! Ryan stayed on message throughout the debate. Congrats Ryan on a great job!

    October 12, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Biden showed clearly why he would not make a good POTUS last night.

    October 12, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  18. AMerica

    I agree with Josh. Very Good Debate. Both were good. Good questions.

    October 12, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  19. Jeedi

    Biden looked fantastic. He is a better performer than most Hollywood actors. And it seemed like he was fighting for the American people. My vote goes to Joe.

    October 12, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  20. John N

    Ryan knew his stuff. The Vice President just embarrassed himself.

    October 12, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  21. Fixer2010

    GO JOE! Ryan is clearly easy to upset, and for all those saying that Biden was rude, wake up, this is a debate not a bedtime story.

    October 12, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  22. chris

    Biden was nothting more than a defensive old man. He clearly acted like a man who KNEW his adminisrtaion has lied about many many things. Biden is like anyone who has lied to someone. Get angry and defensive.

    October 12, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  23. hmw011

    Biden called Ryan a liar on numerous occasions yet he bold face lied about the Benghazi incident. Per the senate hearing the intelligence agency told the Obama Administration the next day that is was a terrorist attack, yet for political reasons they chose to tell the American people it had to do with a video and not because Obama has been spiking the ball saying how he killed Bin Laden and the he has Al-Qaida running. The fact that security on the ground in Benghazi had asked for additional manpower and that manpower was denied. They have gotten away with so many lies (Fast & Furious) and many others that they just thought Americans would ignore the facts. Then had the colossal gall to blame the Republicans for lack of funds. OMG this is just shocking.

    October 12, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Biden Won!!!!

    It is amazing. When the President debated Mitt Romney, Romney used the same style as Joe Biden but Romney took over the debate by talking over the commentator and butting in on the President. Instead of grading Romney on his rudeness, it was celebrated as "taking charge", "controlling and owing the debate" and a "real leader". But when Biden used that same style, it was called "arrogant and disrespectful". The bottom line is people have already made up their minds but want a little fame by appearing on TV in the undecided forum.

    October 12, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  25. Frank

    It's ok for Romney to interrupt and be aggressive with Obama, but it's not ok for Biden to do that with Ryan? I didn't even think this debate was close. Biden took Ryan to school in my opinion. You can see the obvious difference in experience. He speaks so that everyone can understand. He is straightforward and I like that about him. Anyone who thinks this debate was close should get their head examined.

    October 12, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
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