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. Jenn

    This poll is of 381 people, that is hardly a decent sampling size, or even remotely representative of debate viewers as a whole. It seems as if you were so eager to get the first poll in, you barely even tried to reach people for responses.

    October 12, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  2. galahadkoa

    I'm truly losing any belief in the american people if they think the debate was as close as this ridiculous poll...

    October 12, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  3. smitty

    Biden gaffes, regarding his gaffes......."but, l always say what I mean."
    Amazing.

    October 12, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. Hubert

    Biden won this debate by a wide margin. Ryan was not able to show that he was honest .

    October 12, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  5. Cttnc35

    If You Want More Taxes & Higher Gas Prices Vote For Obama You Want Lower Taxes And Lower Gas Prices Vote Romney

    October 12, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  6. Stat guy

    To base a poll on 381 votes is pretty sloppy. Yes, you mention a 5% margin of error but your sample size is pretty damn small to make such bold headlines.

    October 12, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  7. BC

    Of course Republicans are going to say Ryan won, would you expect any different? For those that say Biden was rude, he didn't stand by like a lame sheep and let Ryan get away with the lies he was spewing. I think Biden won this debate.

    October 12, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  8. Jarrod Bennett

    Lol. Yeah. NOW the numbers don't mean anything. That's why there was no slide in the Presidential polls over the past week, right?

    Get over yourself, CNN.

    October 12, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  9. Joy

    I thought Ryan was horrible he was asked very specific questions and could not answer them...For someone who is looking for a reason not to vote for Obama I find that disappointing...I would like to know what funding and loop holes they will close...I agreed more with what Biden said then Ryan last night. I think Biden did a better job of giving direct answers and showing that in real life Romney/Ryan don't want to say what they are going to cut because it will affect that 47% lol and they need some of those votes.

    October 12, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  10. Andi Young

    Biden won. Some say he was too aggressive I say he was confident just as Romney was when he won over Obama who was not aggressive enough. It will never be just right! While I must say Ryan did not do bad, he definitely did not shine last night.

    October 12, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. TownC

    Liberals will love this debate because Mr. Biden reflected the lack of respect and contempt that leftists feel for the rest of us. This will play well on the liberal coasts but not so much in Ohio, and Wisconsin and Virginia and every other toss-up state.

    October 12, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  12. Kris

    That is so silly....Paul Ryan did not win that debate. LOL Who thinks this stuff up? Paul Ryan even looks like he is up to something.

    October 12, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  13. sam

    Contents:
    Biden: 65; Ryan: 35 (no specifics, and don't talk of bipartisanship when you practice partisanship)

    Presentation:
    Biden: 40; Ryan: 60 (Didn't like Biden interrupring and laughing too much though have to conceded that he had to do 10-15% of that so that Ryan doesn't build a castle of lies)

    October 12, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. Sharon Floyd

    Ditto about debate. It couldn't change anyones mind.

    October 12, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Laurie, I'm a mom of an 8-year-old, too. Kids are so honest! Go Romney!!!

    October 12, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  16. Marco

    Debate? Nawwww, mon. It was an image of an angry old man, shouting and without anything important to say...the face of the current white house.

    October 12, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  17. TD3

    How easily people are swayed by the pundits. Biden dominated and schooled Ryan, who came across as tentative, untrustworthy, and who simply repeated his lines without actually saying anything at all.

    October 12, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  18. Kate

    Well, CNN, take a look at the results of your Quick Vote poll and you'll see a totally different set of numbers.
    62 for Biden...and 38 for Ryan. I'm not sure who your polled debate watchers were, but I think they got it very wrong.

    October 12, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  19. Yo

    Great job Biden! I will vote for Obama and I will vote for you in2016!!!

    October 12, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  20. GuestME

    Biden won!!! He stated facts with his experience. The R/R campaign just makes assumptions and changes their stand on issues every couple of days.

    October 12, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  21. SugarKube

    Ryan 48%
    Biden 44%

    The clear winner was Ryan (first debate). Ryan brought up new ideas while Joe rudely and bitterly clung to the status quo.

    October 12, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  22. Marty, FL

    VP Biden won for the middle class.

    God Bless USA

    October 12, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  23. cjack

    Biden won this debate hands down! I don'/t know if I was the only person listening, but Ryan never answered when asked what would the Romney/Ryan do to fix the economy or create jobs? He never once said what they would do or how they would do anything. He is just as fake and phony and Romney! It's nothing personal, but they come off like plastic.

    October 12, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  24. SriDivyaRam

    Accept the truth!! Biden won the debate n he showed how powerful the Democratic People are... so dont ever try to blame the party n obviously they are the winners.

    October 12, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  25. RealityCheck

    Biden was a disaster. What a mess this administration is. I hope they don't destroy the White House packing.

    October 12, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
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