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. R Champion

    Obama/Biden campaign is based on LIES, Screaming louder, interupting, rude behavior. Romney/Ryan campaign is based on a balanced budget, tactful behavior and an honest effort to improve the situation in our country and abroad. People please get real, Biden did not win. He lied and he was obnoxious. Ryan attempted to answer and was interupted by Biden or the moderator over 100 times. I am a democrat and I will NOT be a part of Obama/Biden telling lies and bullying their way back to the white house. I am voting Romney Ryan

    October 12, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. Biff Jones

    Biden came across as a dried up has been who belongs in a dark bar arguing with himself

    October 12, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. JD

    Biden won that debate hands down. Ryan has no answers just sound bytes. Reminds me of 3rd graders in school promising the class ice cream every day if they elect them. Knowing good and well they can't do that. Romney and Ryan are going to be the same results as McCain and Palin, looser!

    October 12, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  4. Realist

    The polls on CNN show that Ryan won the debate. The most interesting comment to me was that all of a sudden the Obama Biden administration is raising the Bush tax cut limit to people making a million dollars or more. This is a complete change from the $250K and up tax line strategy. I still didn't see any kind of a plan to move the economy forward or balance the budget from Biden. Taxing 1% of the population making over $1 million dollars a year is not a strategy for either. It now amounts to less than $30 Billion dollars a year in revenue which isn't a dent in a $16 trillion dollar deficit.

    October 12, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  5. Amos Hoople

    Biden's histrionics may have been effective but they did nothing to create intelligent discourse. If anybody should be rolling their eyes it's the American people over Obama/Biden's miserable failures.

    Defend your record, Joe. Tell me how I'm better off now. Tell me why I'm paying $4 for a gallon of gas. Tell me why our embassies are under attack and our ambassadors are getting killed. Tell me why Libya can't get another security team but Vienna can get a charging station for their Chevy Volts. Tell me about Solyndra and Abound Solar. Tell me about stiffing GM and Chrysler bond holders. Tell me how my partner and I didn't build the company where I now sit. Tell me about how you agree with China's one-child policy. Tell me what you and your boss plan to do about Iran and North Korea. Tell me why we don't have a budget. Tell me why my doctor hates Obamacare. Tell me how you plan to reduce the national debt. Explain to me how one can "lead from behind." Tell me how the private sector is fine. Come on, Joe, tell me...... explain. You can't, you fool.

    October 12, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. RCM1959

    You guys call a sample of 381 people a survey? Laughable!

    October 12, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  7. jd

    The fact, is that obama and biden are mocking the american people. They will force their view on anyone through bullying and arrogance. They are not the champion of the middle class, they have been the biggest producers of poor the whitehouse has ever seen.

    October 12, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  8. Questions401

    Every one says Biden didn't express himself clearly because he spent too much time attacking... I say calling Ryan on his out right lies is not attacking it is calling him on his out right lies.

    October 12, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. isnb

    @cjack I don't know what you were watching regardless of what was said Biden was rude, condescending, and arrogant. These are not qualities people want in their vp. Biden refused to acknowledge any points refused to acknowledge that economy inst doing well. He interrupted Ryan during almost every comment and spent the rest of the time smirking and laughing as if he considered the questions being asked beneath him. They were both their to answer to us as voters but Biden clearly didn't see it that way.

    October 12, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  10. Bob, NY

    Trying to explain anything to repubs is like Andy Griffith trying to explain anything to Archie Bunker. They would die before admitting to their wrong views. They're still mad about Bush being called out on the Iraq war. Intelligent votes are our only hope. That is why one party is obstructing the vote and wanting to cut education. The ONLY jobs they will create will be for cheaper foreign labor or shoe shiners. If you don't wish to work for a cup of rice per day...think about your vote...and then vote intelligently.

    October 12, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  11. joe

    Ryan clearly won Biden looked like Bozo the clown he did not let Ryan answer the questions kept interrupting he is a zero. Ryan is a smart man who really cares about our country . The spending has to stop or we will be like Europe. Vote R@R2012

    October 12, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  12. Canview

    Biden won hands down....I don't understand why CNN is siding with Ryan?? It was clear who had more substance and visibly who has more experience. Ryan was regurgitating his 3 day boot camp training on how to run America 101.
    Is CNN Blind or think that their audience are idiots?? why are the analyst/reporters like Wold Blitzer clearly siding with the Romney/Ryan camp...maybe be the "Bibi" Netanyahu angle....

    October 12, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  13. Whiz1

    That poll (Ryan 48%, Biden 44%) is a biased poll...Biden won the debate, IMO

    October 12, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. Jared

    I think Biden overdosed on Viagra before the debate...

    October 12, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. Donna Noggle

    I am SO proud of Mr. Biden. I think he WON the debate FOR SURE and had his facts. I was only disappointed that he did not point out the Presidents tax plan which is posted on his website for all in the country to see. I do not understand why ANYONE thought that Ryan won. He looked like a student out of college with no experience.

    October 12, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  16. Yo

    If I to choose between Biden and Romney. I think Biden won!

    October 12, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  17. Brad

    Ryan looked like a deer in the headlights when the supposed "budget expert" failed to provide any specific responses when asked how he and Romney will cut taxes, increase military spending and magically "create" jobs, with dramatically increasing the budget deficit. What nonsense they are trying to sell the American people.

    October 12, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. Judy

    Wow, CNN is really off it's "rocker" with this one.
    There is no way that anyone would score lyin' Ryan as a winner in the debate. He answered with lies, then continued with lies and ended with lies.
    How many times does the R/R ticket think lies will work with the American people? NO MORE LIES R/R

    October 12, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. dms360

    How embarrassing was Joe Biden! I felt like I was sitting in front of a senile uncle with ticks, grins, smirks & outbursts that made it impossible to really take anything he said seriously. Biden doesnt wear the attack dog role well.

    October 12, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  20. MarkinWI

    Call it a Republican win.
    Call it a Democrat win.
    Call it a tie.

    Call it for what it was. Biden looking like your most memorable uncle at Thanksgiving table (good and bad). Ryan looking like a little kid that got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. What really matters, when it's all boiled down is that yet again, when asked TWICE for details on their tax plan, he couldn't offer up even a genuine suggestion on how it'll actually happen.

    Romney/Ryan have to offer a tax cut to the super wealthy to get their money, have to offer a tax cut to republicans in general for their votes, but also have to offer a tax cut to the middle class to get their votes. But in todays environment, they have to explain how to avoid adding to the debt to do it. So they say they'll close loopholes to make up that 20%. So why bother with all that legislation in the first place then?

    Please notice that Romney/Ryan have NEVER ONCE suggested that their plan would pay down any part of the deficit. In today's global economy, any money put into the stockmarket doesn't necessarily stay in the U.S. Disroportionately, most of it will end up outside the U.S. in foreign holding, where it will do us no good.

    October 12, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. GeneSeng

    It was over after the first 10 minutes. You could clearly see Ryan did not want to be there. Reaching deep to remember hs talking points after a hard blow from the Biden. I almost felt sorry for the guy until after it was over, I hear the spin the media put on it. Oh, Biden was mean, he was smirking...! You cant have a clear cut debate with someone that lies and flops. You can either get extremly frustrated and blow your top or you can laugh it off to release tension. That was not being mean or disrespectful.

    October 12, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. billy jester

    The President was faulted for beig too laid back, and the VP was faulted for being too agressive. I think that the real winner was ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER.

    October 12, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  23. Patty

    Biden was a buffoon and condescending. His laughing, smirking, eye-rolling and over 80 interruptions was just childish and disrespectful. His answer on Libya was totally false. The closing remarks clearly showed that Ryan is one of us.

    October 12, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  24. no choice

    Theres no difference between democrats and republicans theyre all controlled by the same banksters who robbed us with a so called Bailout. Ron Paul was about cracking down on these banks especially the Federal Feserve, thats why they kept him out.

    Good luck having 1 choice in this election Obamney.

    October 12, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. Alex

    I'm an undecided independent voter and I think Biden won this debate pretty easily. I think Romney won the last presidential debate. However, after last night, I'm getting annoyed that Romney and Ryan won't provide actual details about the loopholes and benefits they want to end to pay for their tax plan. I want to know whether or not they'll be cuts that will directly affect me buying a house or sending my kids to college. This is the biggest issue for me and I feel like they keep skirting it cause they're afraid the full details will scare off to many middle class voters... Or in the worst case, they don't really have a solid plan?

    October 12, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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