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. sam lee

    biden won hands down

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  2. jach

    Biden was the definite winner.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  3. JC

    It is frightening to think a man with with so little emotional control is second in line to be POTUS. Biden needs to be shown the door.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  4. Justin

    Biden win hands down. Poll is garbage.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  5. Sam

    This poll a complete joke, Biden clearly won this debate!

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  6. calvin

    Biden made Ryan his little B

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  7. Robert

    Whoever made this lie up at cnn needs to be fired

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  8. Jeff

    Sadly, one word sums it up: Immature

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  9. Cory

    Wow what a finish by Ryan tonight... unfortunately he is correct but most people have no clue and think the endless debit spending can continue without consequences.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  10. Agustin

    Biden

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  11. John

    Hey Dave, margin of error goes both ways there buddy

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  12. amy

    Biden is clearly the Winner based solely on Researchable Facts >>Do your Research, and Review every Question Given and the Responce>>You will clearly see that Ryan Past responce is not adding up with the beliefs he's reflecting Today... Do your Research! Romney/Ryan please explain How you guys will do what you SAY vs. just stating what you would Do! He's cutting him off because America wants to hear the FacTS!!

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  13. Val

    I think that's a bunch of malarkey!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  14. cortnie livermore

    Go VP Biden!The choice is clear. Either trust and middle out growth or lies and the rich getting richer from those other guys.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  15. Esquire2012

    For those of us with common sense watching the debates...It was obvious that Biden won the debates. This poll is rubbish!

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Biden was rude ans disrespectful. Sorry but it was absolutely offensive!

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  17. marctheduck

    Biden only really answered a few questions, unlike Ryan who stayed on the topic the moderator introduced. Biden's responses were: change subject, change subject, blame someone, change subject, change subject, scoff, change subject, change subject, feign indignation at something Romney said (mischaracterized). Don't confuse being loud and obnoxious with debating.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  18. USMama

    Biden BIG winner tonight. Granted, didn't like smirk and interruptions to his opponent, but brought out Ryan's inexperience and ignorance (foreign policy). Republicans have no concrete plans, no wonder they keep flip flopping. Biden seems sincere and involved, caring about middle class. CNN poll is a joke.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  19. westpeak

    It was a good debate and a close contest, but I do agree with the poll that Ryan edged out Biden.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  20. Michele

    Biden looked like a grinning monkey tonight, I was really afraid his dentures were going to pop out during one of his many ear to ear grins.On the other hand, Ryan seemed fresh and alert, stuck to the topics, didn't interrupt and was respectful to the office of Vice President. Ryan will be a spectacular VP.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  21. Aaron

    Biden successfully defended the Obama administration in this debate and left Ryan looking like a rebellious kid who didn't have all his facts straight. One place Biden failed was on the abortion question. He should have addressed more of Ryan's attacks.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  22. Stephen

    with a sample size of only 381 and a margin of error of 5%, this is one of the least credible things ive ever seem

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  23. Jain

    Are you kidding me... I voted in this poll few mins back and it showed the result as 35% for Ryan and 65% for Biden... Seriously????

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  24. Arco Joe

    I'm pretty sure Biden wiped the floor with Ryan. CNN just polled a bunch of old people at home watching the debate on TV.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  25. j malcolm

    I am getting so tired of CNN and they way they pull down one side and lift up the other. They really know who one the debate. They seem to poll only one side. Our house does not watch CNN anymore. They are going to start loosing a lot of people if they do not change their act.

    October 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
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