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. CC

    I don't know who they polled, but Biden wiped the floor with this kid.

    October 12, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. Auburn

    An angry out of control teenage fit thrower is how Biden came across,as a teenager refusing to allow the other to explain the truth!

    October 12, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  3. JimmyC

    It was funny watching Biden and clearly seeing how he acts like my two year old son. Doesn't want to share, throws a fit when he doesn't get his way, and interupts constantly. The clear winner here was Ryan who kept the debate to a presidential calibur. Even on CNN, which tends to be pretty liberal, Ryan still won in the polls.

    October 12, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. Ironhawk7

    I felt the VP was rude and disrespectful to his opponent by laughing at him. I have always believed you are respectful to others even if you don't agree with them. I am a highly decorated military combat veteran with 23 years of service. My vote will go to Romney/Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. Larry

    You have to be kidding.Biden won hands down Ryan looked like the lying weasle he is just like Romney.

    October 12, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  6. c

    When a person like Ryan lies a lot there is only two things you can do is either get upset or laugh. I would rather laugh then get upset about the lies.This is normal human reaction. Thats why Biden is real and Ryan was fake.

    October 12, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  7. Eli

    I wonder what debate the people polled by CNN watched. Definitly not the one I saw.

    October 12, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. mrg

    I don't see a clear winner on either side of this, debates are useless. But I do think it is rude for a grown man to laugh and snicker at his opponent, very annoying. No class.

    October 12, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. riptin

    This wasn`t even close Biden destroyed Ryan. Once again Ryan refused to give specifics on this great plan that Robme keeps babbling about. Three times he was asked to give specifics and just couldn`t do it cause he knew it would end what little chance they have now.

    October 12, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. justanotherchildofgod

    Your own front page poll shows that 62% of American say Biden won, and 38% say Ryan won.
    Update this story or remove it.

    October 12, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. JLJ

    Ryan definitely won. Biden was rude, disrespectful, and pompous.

    October 12, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  12. Reddy

    I guess Biden forgot that he was there for a VP debate? He came out as an arrogant 70 year old kid, Very un-presidential.
    I was an undecided voter, and after watching the last 2 debates felt Obama/Biden were extreme cases. On the other hand Romney/Ryan came out balanced and controlled. My vote goes to Romney/Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  13. Andrew

    The debate mostly lacked substance. Joe was mostly theatrics to be honest, but I also understand the "Razzle-Dazzle 'em" approach is effective on the weak-minded.

    October 12, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  14. Obammyloveshimself

    Joe Biden is the "Joker".........looked like Ross Perot's "crazing aunt in the basement".

    Well when you're second fiddle to a monkey, what can you expect?

    Go Romney/Ryan!

    October 12, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Don't believe CNN poll

    October 12, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  16. Lynn

    Oh..and I love this "fine print" on the CNN poll

    "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."

    Really? And why would you take a "sample" of likely voters that is "more Republican" than the country as a whole, CNN? Why wouldn't you use a sample that IS reflective of the country as a whole? Oh you guys aren't biased, at all.... Get it together CNN! You used to be so much more credible than you are now.

    October 12, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. gdf

    Who cares if either of these guys won the debate or not, what does that say? They're just in the sidelines anyway, unseen, second-string quarterbacks ready to go in just in case they're ever needed. What have we seen of Biden in the past 4 years? We've seen him more now that the campaign has been active than before.

    October 12, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. Rain McManis

    CNN likability poll: Ryan 55% Biden 44%

    This was a wonderful victory for the left, they needed to see 82 interruptions from Biden. I'm glad the lefties are going to be fired up after seeing this shameful performance by the Vice President of the United States. Ask yourself this, does this help with the moderates and independants?

    October 12, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  19. DC

    Would you want Biden as the face of our nation? As weak as Obama is at least he has the look and class of a President. Biden was rude and condescending. He kept interrupting and raising his voice when Mr. Ryan was speaking. You do that when you are not being honest. I wonder how loud Biden would have been if his history of supporting the credit card companies, as well as his son’s working for them, would have been brought up. What a phony.

    October 12, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  20. CalvinHobz

    Jesus, were we watching the same debate? Biden took Ryan to the woodshed!

    October 12, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  21. Perez

    Ryan won. But this debate doesn't mean anything, it doesn't change anything and I wonder why they even have them.

    October 12, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  22. BIDEN WON!

    Unequivocally, Joe Biden Won the Debate! There can be no question about that. He literally drew circles around the young whippersnapper Ryan who is still wet behind the ears. Vice President Biden's expertise on the questions asked showed that the administration has the most experience and would do much better in their second term. The Romney people wanted a boost but did not get it since as this report indicates the majority of watchers were Republican so go figure!

    October 12, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. listenPeople

    I really don't understand the media. I hope the American people are really paying attention to the actual debaters instead of the news reporters. During the Presidential debate Mitt Romney was very rude. Romney cut Mr. Lehrer off several times and President Obama. It was like a reality show. On the other hand President Obama was very respectful and played by the rules. Now that Biden reacts the same way that Romney did, now he's being rude and disrespectful. Get a grip people, wake up and smell the truth. R&R are not the guys you want. If this happens, I know that it is the end of the world.

    October 12, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. WHAT

    I didn't think it was even close. Biden had nothing to say substantive and laughed derisively constantly interrupting and talking over his opponent. Outright RUDE. If only he could debate instead of sneer. If you are a Dem, I don't know how you could be proud of the way he acted. Thank goodness Biden is not President... Embarrassing.

    October 12, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. dogpatchnews

    The only determination of who won a debate is whether the majority of viewers liked or disliked one person over the other. Looks, manners/mannerisms, type of speech etc., matter to voters. If a person's behavior overshadows the content of their speech, it can be a turn off or it can excite a group. Biden was rude, wierd and incredibly condescending. (this will trump many of his actual points) This will be a turn off to many people in the 30-45 age group. We in this group have successful careers, raised families are are now taking care of our parents. Ryan let him get away with too many interruptions and was in my opinion too deferential. It was like trying to talk to the obnoxtious drunk guy in the bar. You just let them spout their stuff. Biden's behavior said more about him than anything else. I am sure his base is happy, but I doubt he won over any independants. One thing came clear to me, Biden is the characature of the life time politician. Glad hander, say anything and listen to no one. This just reinforces the need for TERM LIMITS on everyone in public office. Both sides. It was creepy...

    October 12, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
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