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. Gabbo

    More momentum for ROMNEY/RYAN – The facts are on the GOP's side ....liberals getting snarky contempt.

    October 12, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  2. K McD777

    How could Biden laugh when such serious matter are being discussed? This isn't a joke and I don't find it funny. Ryan is focused, serious, informed and the leader we need to get us out of this mess. Improving the economy and creating jobs is the way to care about people not just give another slick speech or inappropriate bout of laughter. I knew within minutes who had won and find it offensive that someone would laugh while the opponent is dicussing situations where heros lives where taken. Unfathomable??!!!

    October 12, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  3. Dennis

    Of course Ryan won the debate but most importantly Ryan showed America who would be best leader should he be called upon to be President. Honest, straightforward, steady, strong, polite and respectful. Whereas Grumpy Old Biden would be angry, condensining, overbearing, rude and unstable.

    October 12, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  4. E.Conti

    Joe Biden talks like the guys I grew up with, not rude not crude, just honest. For all the snob elites out there who were offended, grow a set! Romney could not care less for the working American, both he and his running mate are phonies, at best they are accountants. Accountants work for a leader they don't lead, don't be fooled again, Bush economics got us here fiscally and Romney economics are no better. The economy well into a recovery and Romney thinks if he gets elected he can take credit for the coming growth. Don't let Romney get away with his panic tactics, he is no more than a sleazy used car salesman who is trying to sell you a clunker that was a piece of junk when it was new.

    October 12, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  5. FKarlsson

    This wasn't a debate, it was a pointless argument, complete with the rude interruptions and dismissive laughter a bully like Joe Biden routinely employs. Very poorly moderated. Little in the way of presenting substantive positions that the voting public want to hear. Actually made me very uncomfortable. Glad I had the ALDS recording on the other channel, although A-Rod made me equally uncomfortable.

    October 12, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  6. BreckNDpendent

    I could care less about the "talking points" of either side. Both did a decent job of expressing their views. The ONE thing was obvious however. Joe Biden is a smug, disrespectful ass. I would not trust that man as far as I could throw him. It would be nice for a change if we could get past the constant negative attacks. TELL US WHAT YOU WILL DO THE NEXT FOUR YEARS, NOT what your opponent would do.

    October 12, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  7. Ted

    The people that say Biden won were all watching the same graph at the bottom of the CNN screen as I was. The lines nearly always went down when Biden spoke ad up when Ryan spoke. I guess it was too hard for Cendored News Network t manipulate that real time. You all saw it, yet still say Biden won. Spin is alive even in the comments.

    October 12, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  8. Kudatz1

    I think VP Biden sent a message in that you can get your oats from the Farmers clean grain bin, or as the Republicans offer it after it passes through the Bulls digestive system. I would rather have the clean oats the Democrats offer even though it has taken a little longer because the Republican agenda is to make this administration fail rather than represent the American people.

    October 12, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  9. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Vice President Joe Biden clearly beat the phony water drinking under 2hr marathoner.

    October 12, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  10. Todd Northrop

    The Whitehouse including Biden flat out, without a doubt, LIED about a terror attack. There is endless audio of the Whiyehouse blaming it all on a Youtube video and protests because of it. Never happend. This is murder we are talking about. MURDER! Wakeup you slugs. Your Whitehouse thinks your so zoned out on Youtube and everything else that they can just slip it in there. "Yup...we are sorry for our behavior. It was an irresponsible video made by one of our citizens. B.S! They dropped the ball. It was an attack on 9/11/2012. Idiots. Flat out lied.

    October 12, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  11. frank

    My friend Joe biden was annoying all night. To all the people who say Ryan didn't give specifics..each time he was going to our at the end of making his point the moderater cut him off she also let Biden interrupt him almost each time he spoke, she was horrible.

    October 12, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  12. chiniquy

    The coroprate masters want their boy Mitt to become president. The media has been slyly told by (the masters) that many of them will lose their jobs if the president is re-elected. All the headlines now are all positive for the former Mormon bishop Mitt Romney and Ayn Rand's disciple Paul Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  13. William

    Biden was off his meds. That crazy man is a heartbeat away from the presidency? Scary thought.

    October 12, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  14. 2tired2care

    Ryan got torched by Biden. Only an arrogant GOPier would see it otherwise.

    October 12, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  15. Sharon

    Why do you keep over sampling more Republicans? I guess I should just watch Fox for the same bias reporting.

    October 12, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  16. Steve Lyons

    Sure CNN, blame it on the participating audience. That Biden character reminds me "Two-Face" played by Tommy Lee Jones in Batman. Pure evil, with a grin.

    October 12, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  17. fred

    Dear CNN,
    Which debate were you watching? maybe you have the same computer glitch as FOX

    October 12, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  18. Style or truth worthy candidate

    After the first of Obama- Rodney with lot of lies from Mitt, the job of Biden to fact check everything. And this what he did with still.
    The first they were lying , Obama instead of fact checking was upset, what America said "he was too cool" and other racial slur .Yesterday Biden was fact checking because this guys was lying.
    My question is simple. Did America wants a team that brings America back recession or they want to vote for bunch of liars who who we will give our lives to corporations.
    Clearly, I never understand , the way people apprehend reality but most important I hope CNN will be as neutral as they claim to be.

    October 12, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  19. KC

    Yea, I am not surprised Biden was laughing. Most of the things Ryan said were laughable. The guy has no clue how the world works. Besides the fact that he just repeated crap he has been saying for months with zero facts or details of how he is going to implement these changes or pay for them. He is flat out lying about what the Republicans want to do with Medicare/SS/Abortion.. When Ryan was getting destroyed on a particular point all Ryan came back with is how the Democrats are spreading FEAR (talk about a good laugh), blame the president with general accusations (foreign policy exploding – compared to two wars, 9?11 and not capturing Osama- I would say that Obama has a way better record than the Republicans) and do what Republicans do best and whine about how they are being picked on by this divisive President. While the facts show that it is the Republicans who have whined and stone-walled any legislation so they can say the president has failed and they can regain the White House. Sorry but Biden ate Ryan for lunch.

    October 12, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  20. BlackDynamite

    Funny how CNN makes sure not to do a poll here, and ask us who won......
    BD

    October 12, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  21. Larry

    Biden won where it counts – with undecided voters. I wouldn't expect him to convince a republican to change their mind. A person would need to have a mind first.

    October 12, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  22. frank

    Dumb Joe forgot to mention that he voted for both wars.

    October 12, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  23. Not Fooled

    Biden won the obnoxious, rude and disrespectful vote. Also the lies were astounding, inparticular with what happened in Libya, and the cost of healthcare.

    October 12, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  24. AD

    Biden was rude, arrogant & stuck to the lib talking points. He lied about Libya – does he really think we are buying the statement that his "intelligence" reports said the attack was due to a you tube clip – one that no one had even heard of until the administration brought it up? Also, if he really thinks that sanctions on Iran are going to keep them from building nuclear bombs, I have a 'bridge to sell" him. Reality is – they already have enough materials to build a bomb...and have probably already done so.

    October 12, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  25. Chris

    I wish someone would tell Biden the tax bracket he continues to wan to pay more, who also pay more than 50% of taxes currently are Americans too! And guess what, 30% of americans ARE TAKERS! This administration is all about class warfare and has nothing to run on but more broken promises!

    October 12, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
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