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. Philip

    You got to be a brainwashed democrat to think Biden Won. He was so irritating. Like a wining immature kid who just does not know his manners.

    October 12, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. mike

    I thought Biden head was going to explode. I had to turn the tv off becasue he was upsetting me. His yelling and screaming and acting like an ass. I live in FL. I am sure this played well for DEMS in CA and NY. But in FL, VA, Oh, and middle of the road. He looked like I said an ass.

    October 12, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  3. ArtGuyDeluxe

    You guys might want to look at your own polls before posting these stories...

    October 12, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  4. Linda

    I believe that Paul Ryan showed sincerity and class and Joe Biden acted liked that uncle you wouldn't want to be left alone with in a house. Ryan did not back down from his beliefs, and Biden apparently didn't have any. If you listened for the facts, Ryan didn't just spew words. His were thoughtful and earnest. Biden was as condescending and spiteful as any I've every seen and he out and out lied. Lied about what they knew when on Libya (don't believe me, research it yourself), lied about Syria, lied about the defense budget (that the Democratic Senate has already gutted), and lied about the character of Romney and Ryan. What he didn't lie about was the fact that Democrats are very very okay with 50 million black babies being aborted by Planned Parenthood. Genocide is a go for Joe.

    October 12, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. M W

    Biden cleaned his clock, no contest – Ryan was rambling , with half truths that he figured his base would never understand anyway. GREAT SHOWING BIDEN

    October 12, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. Rod M

    I love the spin CNN puts on this, plus the bad math. If it's a tie as the article suggests because the survey had built-in bias because more respondents were Republican than Democrat, then the percentages of self identified Repubs should be bigger than those of Dems. Not so. Shared later the split is 33% Repubs and 31% Dems. The difference in 48% vs. 44% is larger than the supposed survey bias. The real outcome of the debates is that Independents continue to move toward Romney/Ryan, according to this survey result. I know it's kind of nerdy, but you can't declare a tie when the numbers suggest something much different, unless you're biased.

    October 12, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. commonsense

    Biden won, hands down.

    October 12, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. andy oudomsak

    i never see a debate that so disrespect your opponent and rude. and why do they set a time limited for each candidate. if they interrupt each other without let them finish their sentence, there no control on that debate. its stupid. and so turn off. if press obama win this election i hope he fire the vice press.

    October 12, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  9. Lallen

    RYAN WON THE VP DEBATE HANDS DOWN! He was respectful, professional, poised, articulate, sincere, and well armed with the facts and specifics needed. No candidate would lay out their whole game plan out for the world, media and opposing party to pick apart. We never see line item specifics on either side of the aisle, and certainly haven't seen a budget or plan for the middle class in the last 3 3/4 years!

    October 12, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. Michael

    Biden shot down Ryan's lies almost as soon as he could vomit them out... it was no contest.

    October 12, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  11. gavin

    I'm independent. Ryan clearly won this debate. Biden was a clown. He was on the defensive. Ryan had the edge on the economy, taxes, foreign policy, the budget, and Libya. Ryan won on substance, style, and facts.

    October 12, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. mike

    Biden CRUSHED Ryan. Biden was talking specifics, yet Ryan could never explain, for example, the specific "loopholes" they planned to close. Anyone who thinks Ryan "won" is foolish.

    October 12, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  13. EBJones

    My family sat and watched the debate last night and we realized why there is so much partisanship between the two parties in Washington. You can't "mock" your opponent and then turn around and expect them to be open in negotiating with you. V.P. Biden, as my kids would say, "dissed" his supposed friend. He was extremely rude to Paul Ryan and interupted him constantly. I was suprised that Mr. Ryan was able to hold his temper because I could not have had done it. Mr. Ryan showed who was a better man and much more of a statesman. Those of you who say that the Republicans won't work with the Democrat's, well this type of behavoir is why. I think it is clear who will make a better leader in Washington and it is not the current the current V.P.. I was very disappointed with the current V.P. because he did not act very Presidential. He knew the facts for the most part, but he knows nothing about being a leader. You can't win someone to believe your ideas, by dissing those with different opinions.

    October 12, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  14. Mike

    Biden owned the show I dont know what everyone else was watching

    October 12, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. Steve

    Some came to laugh.

    October 12, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  16. undecided

    I am not a fan of either vice presidential candidate. I think Biden did better, had all the facts and quotes.

    October 12, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  17. Architect

    Biden's interruptions were so rude, I don't see how anyone could say that he won.

    October 12, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. Richard1725

    Biden came across as ARROGANT and RUDE, guess thats what happens when you spend your entire life in politics....No grace, no humility, no manners...sort of like his boss..ya think?

    October 12, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  19. Matt

    Ryan won that debate. The smirks, the laughing, the constant interruptions and the yelling, Biden looked like an angry old man on that stage. How many more times are we going to have to hear people from the white house not take the blame for Lybia, admit it, you screwed up!

    October 12, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Biden went in knowing he was up against a smarter man and he decide to go for disdainful and deceitful.

    October 12, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  21. Auburn

    The real polls show 68.9 for Ryan and 31.1% for Biden. Enough of the spin let's hear the truth!

    October 12, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  22. elford

    This independent from Ohio was appalled by Biden's bullying and interruptions. On the heels of Romney's debate
    win and last night's performance I am more than comfortable with Romney/Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. Mark in CA

    If Democrats think Biden won the debate, it's because they saw themselves in the mirror. Smirking, condescending, totally writing off the other side as 'those guys' and not caring one iota about what anyone else presents to them if it doesn't match their narrow minded liberal agenda. You wonder why no one takes these bullies seriously when they talk about any issue, social or otherwise.

    October 12, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. J

    I didn't realize half the country was on a first-name basis with the Vice President of the U.S.. Or maybe it's that he lost the respect of half the country last night...

    October 12, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  25. debate

    Ryan looked too fresh and not experienced enough for the job. His answers were too shallow. I am not surprised many feel Ryan won as too many out their like Ryan are clue less about the subject matter.

    October 12, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
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