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. Kann

    Lately i feel watching CNN for some days, it looks like CNN is becoming Pro Republican

    October 12, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. Tino Borges

    Well, i don't understand the people in America! in order to win the white house, the candidate has to be a rich corrupted guy who transferred Jobs to China and kept his money in overseas banks so he doesn't have to pay taxes in America and now we are supposed to believe that this guy is going to look after us??? who put is in this situation, do you know? 8 Years of Republicans who have humiliated us by charging our food, our military, our health care and much more to a Chinese Credit card! Yes, the republicans put us on the Chinese welfare, in order to survive we have to beg China to pay for our food and everything else! and now we are supposed to vote for the same people who did this to us???? wake up!!

    October 12, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Cindy

    Biden was rude in how he kept interrupting Ryan. Do Americans not realize that Obama was mentored by communists, socialists and criminals before he became President? Do they not realize that he wants to change American into an Muslim Socialistic society and take away our freedom step by step? Are people that ignorant to want to vote for him again when he won't even put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegience? Do they not realize that he is not Patriotic but a Muslim? He bowed to a Muslim leader! He is against Israel! He is against Life and protects immorality! Wake up America before it's too late for Obama voters are deceived and of course, Blacks are voting for hin because he is black and not for the right reasons, I can't believe America would vote for a man who undeniably wants to take away our freedom little by little and is trying to turn us into another communistic/socialistic country. RYAN WON THE DEBATE!

    October 12, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. gdf

    Contrary to what many believe here, CNN's readers do not accurately reflect the population of the U.S. CNN is leftists/democratic-leaning, as are the readers ... so we can't think that our numbers and views here count as accurate poll-sampling for all those who've responded.

    October 12, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. MiddelClass for R\R

    Biden is old and out of touch with the middle clase...and he has no class... OLD GEEZER. Its time to take the White House back!

    October 12, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. A

    Being rude? Or confidence? If you can't take the heat, get your butt out of the kitchen.

    October 12, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. O. Pinion

    I thought Biden was in rare perfect form and kicked the doe-eyed Ryan all over the place. Obviously knew what he was talking about and exposed time and again the inconsistencies of Ryan's stated positions. The answer on the question of whether elected officials should impose their religious views on the entire nation was far and away the most revealing, and perhaps will make more of a difference to voters than the pundits realize.

    October 12, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. christinaohio

    Biden came off looking like a drunken fool and very disrespectful.He lied more than once and interrupted too many times t count.I am ashamed he is VP right now and will do all I can to see that those 2 incompetents are gone in 3 weeks.I think Biden has fallen off the wagon again and was obviously drunk with the wild arm motions and total lack of respect.Was he losing his place repeating himself so many times or is he suffering dementia?

    October 12, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. Herbert

    what a damn joke Biden is.if you can't debate blame the other guy. the old fart and his master obummer has made this country a laughing stock.

    October 12, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. mason

    CNN did report the detail of the poll information last night. I figured last night it was more republican who voted last night. the poll was uneven. CNN is not the center news any longer.

    October 12, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  11. Texo

    I trust that youg man that had the facts and good manners.

    That old man was angry, confused and blaming stuff on everone but him and his boss. I will vote for that young man with the facts and good manners. He can sit at my dinner table any time. That old angry man I will give him soup but he will need to stay out in the yard to eat it.

    October 12, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  12. Mrs Time

    I seriously don't see how people can say Ryan won when just like Romney he lied out of his rear. At every turn VP Biden schooled him in more ways than one.

    October 12, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. MAC

    Biden clearly won, stating the facts and shooting down everything false that Ryan said.

    October 12, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. Goose66

    I love the "no details" criticism from the left. Biden harped on it a lot, as well. Where are the details from the left on their plan? Biden said that if the Republicans would just get out of the way, there would be a jobs bill and other legislation to move things forward. He didn't provide any specifics on those, nor has the President. Why are they not be called out for not having a plan?

    October 12, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. Once a Clueless Republican

    I'm tired of people who think it's okay for Romney to be a bully in a debate, but not Biden. Tired of people thinking it's okay for Paul Ryan to act cool, calm, and collected. In other words presidential! But the actual president gets a FAIL for acting presidential? Give me a break!!

    October 12, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. STRD

    While Biden knows his stuff, Ryan did, too. Biden wasn't smarter, he was just louder. And any points Biden might have scored in subject matter, he lost in statesmanship. Ryan demonstrated himself as very competant and a class act – someone I would feel proud to have leading our country if something happened to the president. Biden as president. Can you imagine?

    October 12, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Michael

    Biden made a blundering fool of himself last night- just like Obama did against Romney before this. If these are the ppl "y'all" feel comfortable as having for your Presidents, then by all means, plz re-elect them!

    October 12, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Bill

    Biden promised four more years of the same BS. Biden smiled a lot and acted goofy. Biden looked like fool. Ryan was cool, calm and collected. I am hoping for change. If you thought Biden won, then you are a registered Democrat, leaning socialist and had your mind made up prior to the start of the debate.

    October 12, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  19. Soph

    Ryan kept repeating the same lies. Their math on the tax cuts do not add up. I did the math in my head during the Obama – Romney debate. I was shocked the president did not call him on it. He just wanted to come out presidential and be polite? Come on you are going to loose the election to be nice?? I am glad Biden reacted the way he did. Someone has to put a check on their lies!! Biden Won the debate no question about it. And yes he should not be nice !!

    October 12, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  20. Nietodarwin

    RADDATZ: Well, let's talk about this 20 percent. You have
    refused – and, again – to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20
    percent across-the-board tax cut. Do you actually have the specifics?
    Or are you still working on it, and that's why you won't tell voters?

    RYAN: Different than this administration, we actually want to
    have big bipartisan agreements. You see, I understand the...

    RADDATZ: Do you have the specifics? Do you have the... (AND THEN RYAN CONTINUES TO EVADE, AFTER BEING ASKED TWICE FOR "SPECIFICS" THE GOP IS FULL OF LIES)

    October 12, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  21. Ken

    The VP won this hands down. When the other side can not give you any details of thier plans, then in fact there is no plans OR they do not want you to know the details as you would not agree with them. Ryan and running mate can not get pass what happened in 2007/2008 that put USA in free fall. They do not understand that the party for the rich is over and the middle class is not going to pick up the tab any more. They both look like the CEO the said things will get better if you just trust them (then shipped your job over seas to get thier bonus). Ryan just had to much double talk to beleive him, he knows the details but will not share them with us because they favor the rich, AGAIN!

    October 12, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  22. Rick

    I am sure the loyal Obama fans thought Biden did a great job, though those of us who are less enthralled by the president and his actions saw a very unprofessional vp last night. Biden worked very hard not to be civil, or to let Ryan get many of his points into the open air. Biden was utterly disrespectful. Some would say that is how you debate and I would say that is silly. A debate is to allow the diverging personalities to fully express their views and opinions so we can hear then and so they can properly address each other. Ryan did a good job of expressing his view points, when the moderator and Biden did not talk over him. Ryan clearly showed more poise and tact, much more reasonable than Biden. However, Bidens approach mirrored much of the extreme liberal approach to listening to others viewpoints, simply don't allow them to speak.

    October 12, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. mijder

    True, the Razzle-Dazzle/No Substance approach was very effective for Romney in the first debate. Seriously though, I'm not sure what debate these folks (drink) were watching, but Biden ruled the night, lecturing Ryan like a Politcal Science professor lecturing a freshman who just Atlas Shrugged for the first time.

    October 12, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. Jim

    Biden is a joke! He has received more passes for his countless idiotic remarks made over his political career than anyone else. Anyone with the ability to be objective in assessing last nights debate see's this. The media has their hands full trying to spin this as a Biden win so liberal minded people can watch MSNBC , CBS ,CNN etc..to see how they should feel about this.

    October 12, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. David, North Texas

    Usually when someone is laughing or interrupting an opponent as a distraction often use these actions as a diversion tactic to through off their opponents message. Its in bad taste and shows that person is ingenuous and has something to hide or cover for a less effective performance. Biden tried his best to go after Romney and Ryan but did not mention which path the Obama Administration is taking America. Biden using those tactics mentioned above its clear that he was concerned that America does not like the path we are on so what was better than to interrupt Ryan so he could not deliver the party's message. The VP debates do not necessarily change a persons view much less their voting perspective but the pundits who regularly promote media bias certainly does.

    October 12, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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