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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Read more of today's political news on the CNN Political Ticker.

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. Dave

    Maybe if Ryan had some time to rethort, rebut, some of his points may have been more clear. Bidens act is tired and stale. He is simply, for whatever reason, an angry, bitter man.

    October 12, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  2. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Vice President Joe Biden clearly won the debate over the phony water drinking under 2hr marathoner.

    October 12, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  3. Steve

    One week the media say Obama was too passive, then the next week they say Biden was too forceful. Does anyone else see the media trying to make a close race out of this. Follow the money , who benefits from a close race?

    October 12, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  4. Michelle

    This poll is malarkey! Ryan got schooled!

    October 12, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  5. Dave

    And the shot by one of you, republicans have no mind, classy. Only a Dem could be that witty. Enjoy your Friday collecting handouts clown.

    October 12, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  6. Mike

    "When a wise person debates with a fool, the fool rages and laughs, and there is no peace and quiet." Proverbs 29:9.

    October 12, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  7. pollssuxs

    Joe Biden won hands down.

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

    It's a huge misleading lie to say Iran has enough weapons grade Uranium to make 5 nuclear weapons. Sounds like another past president we once knew who made similar remarks and lead us into a 12 year war under false pretenses.

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

    I can hardly wait to see what Jon Stewart and Comedy Central do with the Crazy Joe footage.

    October 12, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  10. Anil Sharma

    Thankfully voters are smart and will not get swayed by stage performance. Otherwise Hollywood would have monopolized the White house!

    The two debates clearly established that Romney and Ryan "performed" to the audience saying what will win the audience as oppose to what they truly believe in.

    Last 4 years have been "the great dig out" after 8 years of non-stop Noreaster storms. We have to give Obama/Biden some more time to complete the job. We don't need Bush-era policies back! If we make that mistake we may not be able to dig out this time.

    October 12, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  11. charles bowen

    Don't believe this poll check the source of these lies , CNN/ORC...Biden WON ! Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

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

    Clearly a GOP poll then if Ryan won. I honestly can't say that I heard Ryan answer 1 single question that was asked to him. Last night was the first time I have every heard of the RR 5 point plan...at least we know it has 5 points now. Ryan is not ready for the VP seat let alone the Presidency...he was/is IMOP in over his head.

    October 12, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  13. Susan

    As a registered Democrat, I was embarassed at how rude Joe Biden was to Martha Radditz.

    October 12, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  14. Onyebuchi

    I think Biden won the debate. Ryan's complain that Biden was making Romny/Ryan appear bad probably decieved some watchers and attracted pity towards him. Biden appeared my honest.

    October 12, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  15. WiseUp

    ANYONE LIBERAL OUT THERE WANT TO WORK FOR 50% OF THEIR PAY??????

    October 12, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  16. Dan

    A draw is okay... Shows Ryan can hold his own against an old man in politics.

    October 12, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  17. Nita

    Is Cnn on the R/R train.... how long were your polls open.? Joe was in CHARGE, Ryan my know alot about " Stuff" but he is out of touch with the middle class.

    October 12, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  18. REPUBLICAN ARE THE GREATEST

    Mit Romney won this debate because Ryan stayed even with Biden. Next week Romney will defeat Obama again to victory in November.

    October 12, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  19. ucistu

    As an independent I think Biden won. Who cares that he acted a little weird with his smiles. Biden clearly won this one

    October 12, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  20. mary

    What we didn't need was an Attack Bulldog being disrespectful to an Intelligent Border Collie. I will not be laughing my way to the Voting Booth thanks to Paul Ryan remaining strong throughout such a disrespectful held debate.

    October 12, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  21. bobo

    I like how Biden thinks most small businesses in American only make $250.000.00 a year. LMAO!!!!

    October 12, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  22. Eric

    1/3 were A, 34% were B, ...

    Seriously, who thinks mixing representations is good practice?

    October 12, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  23. MIddle Class Independed Swing State Voter

    Until last night I was undecided but leaning toward the Romney/Ryan ticket b/c I'm not necessarily pleased w/ everything that the Obama Administration has done. However after last night's debate, I'm going to vote for Obama b/c the republicans refuse to give details about these "loopholes" and I'm not going to risk that they will do the right thing by the middle class. Not only that, but we don't need more wars. So I'm going w/ the devil I know as opposed to the one I don't know.

    October 12, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  24. Brian

    So let me get this straight… Your scientific poll of 381 people call it Ryan 48% and Biden 44% and yet your public poll of of 22289 call it Ryan 38% and Biden 62%? Statistics, how do they work???? What happened to the CNN of the 90's that could actually get their facts straight and provide objective coverage?

    October 12, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  25. corey

    This country is crazy. The people who voted for Bush twice(republicans and tea party) are now trying to convince themselves(lets do it again). Wow. Do you guys not get it. This country was bankrupt 3 months before Obama took office. That means we almost ceased to exist as a sovereign nation. If we didn't borrow money at the time to fill the financial hole that was stolen, we would already be under a differenct currency. Yes i said stolen! Money doesn't evaporate like water, it is simply transferred or stolen. Biden destoyed Ryan. It wasn't even close. Actually I'm insulted at the lack of his intelligence. Here we go again, A Male (sarah palin). No substance at all! Vote intelligence, Obama Biden!

    October 12, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194