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. Independent Rick

    VP Biden won that debate decisively. I thought Ryan would come through stronger, however he seemed befuddled.

    October 12, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  2. Glenn

    calling Ryan "likeable" is about as laughable as calling Sarah Palin "presidential"

    October 12, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  3. Derp

    Who cares, the VP debates are a total waste of time. They are completely meaningless. The town hall format is pretty stupid too. Only 2 Presidential debates matter at all. And even then it still doesn't matter because of our electoral college system, and the fact that whoever is elected will just be beholden to special interest groups/lobbyists.

    October 12, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  4. Beau

    Biden reminds me of the Joker.

    October 12, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  5. g v

    biden won debate and choice is clear. one is for all americans and another one is for rich and catholic. choice is yours

    October 12, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  6. Dave

    Biden claims the administration was unaware of the attack on the Libyan Embassy being a terrorist attack because the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) said the intelligence wasn't clear that it was a terrorist attack, even 24 hours after the attack. Later he said the intelligence agencies would know immediately if and when the Iranians could develop a nuclear weapon. It might be noted the Director of the DIA is a political appointee, not someone who worked his way up in the intelligence business.

    October 12, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  7. jp

    Ryan looked like a child. Don't need someone like that a heartbeat from the presidency. Biden won in my opinion.

    October 12, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  8. John

    I don't know what debate these people was watching ,but Joe Biden won that debate with hand down. It should be more like Joe Biden 73% and Paul Ryan 27% .

    October 12, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  9. Gina

    Biden – to call him rude while Romney pulled off the same antics last week is hypocritical by the right. Get a grip – Ryan is not ready for the presidency if something happens to his etch-a-sketch running mate.

    October 12, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  10. Chris

    Was I watching the same debate? I remember a debate where one of the last questions aimed at getting specifics for a tax cut where 2 minutes were spent by Ryan completely dodging the question and instead saying our highly regarded congress should get to pick those details. I also recall a debate where the closing question asked about the negativity in this campaign - a question which Biden answered with politicking and at least acknowledging the tone and saying he's disappointed with that fact. Ryan's answer, completely attacking the Obama campaign for singlehandedly creating negativity for a lack of a public record of improvement. I'm sorry, but anyone who answers to their negative campaigning with more negativity does not earn my respect, nor does he come out victorious in a debate where he stumbled to retort to the questions from both the VP and the moderator about a plan for economic recovery with absolutely no details.

    October 12, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  11. Ceceliaann

    Biden has been in Senate over 30 years. America has been sliding backwards for 20 years. He is a perfect reason why we need term limits. He should be called Bozo Biden. What an embarrasement to America. Ryan and his generation must help to move America forward. I am sad for my grandchildren. The last 4 years we have slid further backwards. We have been using in essence credit cards that are now at their max. Wake up America before it is too late.

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  12. curious

    Great job Joe.

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  13. CavPilot

    The liberal masses have been held hostage so long by the Progressive thought police, they suffer from Stockholm syndrome. They are brainwashed into believing that the opposition will destroy the middle class while ignoring the destruction that is taking place under this regime of malcontents and misfits.

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  14. Bob in Buxton

    Malarky. Biden gave him an old fashioned ass-kicking behind the barn. He kept smiling because he was in disbelief of what Ryan was trying to sell. Still no specifics from the Romney-Ryan ticket. "We have a plan – a 5 point trust us plan."
    Malarky! To Ryan's credit he took the ass-kicking and stayed on his feet. Both get credit for a useful debate. We have been paying for a war in the mid-east for over a decade. This is the major issue with our economy. Get rid of the Congress people that gridlock and we can get this country back on track.

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Biden embarrassed himself. The socialist moderator, ABC News' Martha Raddatz (did you know Obama was at her wedding?) was teaming up with Biden to interrupt Ryan. With nothing but failures for Obama and Biden, it wasn't surprising he opted for childish grinning and disruptive behavior. Had he debated like a professional, he would have lost even more severely.

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  16. Sarah S.

    Biden was so rude and condescending. And what was with the smirks, laughs, and stupid facial expressions.....did he think he emulating Reagan? He would not allow Ryan to finish a thought or commment and the Moderator appeared to be in the "tank" for Biden. I cannot believe a man like Biden, with so little class, dignity and civility, is just a heart beat away from the Presidency.

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  17. Owl Creek Observer

    VP Biden giggled his way through unemployment, dead Americans, socialized medicine and eradication of Medicare and Social Security. He was rude and offensive. He claimed that nobody in his administration had any clue that the Libyan embassy staff had repeatedly requested additional security, which was repeatedly denied. He badly distorted the Romney/Ryan positions on practically everything and he was given more clock time than Ryan, not even counting his constant interruptions. He did his best to look like a tough guy but, in the end, revealed himself to be nothing more than a sort of goofy shill for the hopey-changey left.

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  18. Frank

    Biden dominated. And if you think he is rude or arrogant, he has every right to be. There is a lot on the line and they are not going to let Romeny win this. And Ryan, I actually like him better than Romney. I feel more comfortable with him and can trust him, but he did not by any means win that debate. Not even close.

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  19. No BS Here

    Obviously Joe is going to cut off a person who spews out BS every other word.

    Funny thing is, people criticize Obama for not being aggressive with the Romney debate, now Joe comes out and starts pointing out all the BS, you see again the same people calling "FOUL" and using excuses like "rude". If anything Romney/Ryan ticket are the ones being rude for trying to feed the people of this great nation ours garbage flip-flop information.

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  20. Pam

    It is very sad that Americans can buy into the old "shiny" diversion tactics of used car salesmen...didn't any of them notice that Ryan used diversion and rarely directly answered any of the questions he was asked with any new specific details? ("Look at the bling...dont' pay attention to the men behind the curtain", please, are we really that dumb?).

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  21. Romeny=Bush Era Part II

    I can't take CNN and these slanted polls! Stop the polls and DO YOUR JOBS! Biden clearly won on FACTS and substance. Doesn't that matter anymore? Geesh!

    I'm going back to watching Cspan b/c I refuse to have my intelligence insulted.

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  22. Hawk in texas

    Of course the republican heavy audience would say their boy won. but the whole problem is that neither ryan or romney will give specifics. all they do is tell what they would do but wont tell you how they will do it. so as a matter of fact they are both lying to the voters. romney will never cut loop holes for the rich. and there is no way he can create 12 million jobs unless he hires them his self. and if he goes true to form most of those jobs will be in china.

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  23. Steve Jones

    Biden embarrassed himself. The socialist moderator, ABC News' Martha Raddatz (did you know Obama was at her wedding?) was teaming up with Biden to interrupt Ryan. With nothing but failures for Obama and Biden, it wasn't surprising he opted for childish grinning and disruptive behavior. Had he debated like a professional, he would have lost even more severely.

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  24. tp

    Biden was loud, rude and belittling. It shows he can;t keep it together under pressure. NOT a good attribute for someone 2nd in line.... Fire him and his boss!

    October 12, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  25. Stormer

    Ryan and Romney are the only ones giving specifics. Those who are not seeing that are blind and only reading/listening to the talking points of the democrats and the news media along with not doing any thinking on their own. Regarding the talking point of that Romney and Ryan only want to reduce the taxes of the rich; first, they want to reduce the taxes across the board. Reducing the taxes of the job creators allows them to hire more people therefore more taxes paid in. My boss is rich (also a democrat) but I am GLAD he is rich because it supplies me a job. Think for yourselves everyone and come to your own conclusions.

    October 12, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
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