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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Read more of today's political news on the CNN Political Ticker.

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. Dave

    Ryan hit all the right notes with his closing. These guys had four years and look where we are. Biden, who has never been the sharpest knife in the drawer, did the only thing he could: distract from their record of failure. And the comments on this board are a pathetic attempt by spin doctors to put lipstick on a pig.

    October 12, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. David in Houston

    Biden won the debate hands down...

    October 12, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. Jon

    Biden came in with facts and Ryan came in with rhetoric.

    Someone explain how three hundred voters can represent the entire country within a 5% margin of error?

    October 12, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. Cary Fernelius

    I've heard everything from "unprofessional" to "buffoon" to describe Biden. Ryan looked and acted presidential. Those of us in the middle class can breath a sigh of relief that Romney/Ryan are moving up in the polls.

    October 12, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Coop

    Good Job Joe!

    October 12, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. Colorado female voter

    Biden won hands down and I don't understand CNN's biased poll. It frustrates me that CNN skewed the results and reported on that. Makes me question their integrity. CNN – you have slipped on the reality meter. Ryan came across as the inexperience "boy wonder" that he is. All lies, no truth. I guess he believes if he lies long enough, with voracity – people will believe him. What a joke the republicans have become.

    October 12, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. Darrell

    What I find humorous is folks that are saying Ryan are giving the exact reasons that they said Obama lost to Romney. Romney had a very similar approach that Biden did during his debate with Obama. He interrupted, he went over time limit (though Ryan did that more in this one), he would laugh or smile when Obama was speaking. But somehow it was okay for Romney but when Biden has a similar approach he is rude and disrespectful? Interesting...

    October 12, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. Rolly Vincoy

    Biden is caught lying. He did vote for the two wars but says he opposed it. He is a liar. He only professes his Catholic faith if it suits him. What an immoral person. Then he asks who would you believe. The Obama campaign calls Romney a liar and nobody in the media calls out Biden for flat out lying. There is a difference between half-truths (highlighting a point and ignoring the rest, rounding of numbers, stating your opinion as fact even though other studies say it is false, etc.) and then ther is flat out lying.

    October 12, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Joe as usual is a bully

    October 12, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. Pete Iverson

    Ryan's closing comments should have been like this:

    (looking into the camera)

    "Please take a good look at the man sitting across from me. His actions, his demeanor, his "My Way Or The Highway" approach to the issues that face our nation clearly illustrates what is wrong with our government today. The American people may not witness it everyday like we in senate and house do, but they can't ignore it's everyday effects while the economy drags, our country looses status in the world and there is so much uncertainty. The approval of our nations legislator is 7% because Joe...... the president of the Senate, has used this tactic his entire political career. To continue to allow this kind of bitter partisan leadership for another four years, will not only empower Joe and people like him, it will eventually destroy our republic.

    Our approach to making change in government begins with finding common ground on the issues. Gov. Romney has clearly demonstrated this leadership as the governor of Mass. We can not make a change in anything our government does, until we can find common ground. This is paramount to begin a change for the better. "

    ................... Then the rest of his speech This would have clearly illustrated to independents why this country is hurting so bad.

    October 12, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Paula

    Your poll is so off the mark that it's not even funny!!! The Quick Vote poll is much more accurate since people who weren't part of a "focus" group were voting!! Just average Americans like me and my husband who were registering their opinions right after the debate was through! Why the news media is catering to these "undecideds" so much in this election if beyond us!! These people aren't representative of 99% of the country who are reasonable and smart and who have already decided who will get their vote! The "undecideds" are simply TOO LAZY to have participated or paid enough attention before this. To reward them with all this attention from the media and politicians is ludicrous!! VP Biden made all of his points and in the process made Cong. Ryan looked like the self-absorbed, childish and yes, LIAR that he is!!!!! He's become Mitt Romney and they deserve each other! The country, however, deserves better!!!!

    October 12, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  12. Craig H

    Biden embarrassed the Vice Presidential office and himself last night. He absolutely did not act dignified and mature, which is what you would expect from the Vice President of the United States.

    October 12, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. joan

    Biden won the debate last night on the facts and the polices. Ryan was just a lying kid trying to pull the wool over people eyes. The media is always making up things. Last week they said Obama did not do enough, this week Biden did too much. Please lets get on with what is important. Which party will truly continue to grow American in a fair and balance way?
    Wise people of America do the MATHS. It is very, very clear that when the Democrats are win Power every body do well. This time it is much harder for Obama because of the humongous economical burden he was handed on day 1. However, he has done the best (ON HIS OWN) the GOP did not lift a finger. They wanted the people of Amercian to fail so they can get back in power. Wiseup people.

    October 12, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. JennyHarris

    Biden may have made the extreme left happy with his condecending buffoonery, but I guarantee he didn't score a vicory in those midwest swing states. No one wants a vp that acts that way. He came off as immature and completely unprofessional. And there was absolutely no reason for it.

    October 12, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. snowyowl

    No, SugarKube, Ryan did not bring up new ideas. He merely repeated the same lies that he has been spewing forever. He and Romany cannot even talk honestly about Ryan's own medicare plan, which is so unpopular that even conservative Republicans have to distance themselves from it for their own political survival. No, the only way that Romney/Ryan can win over voters is through deceit, and so they supply us with a steady diet of it day in and day out. The only people who think Ryan won that debate are the fact-challenged and the gullible, which the GOP has in abundance.

    October 12, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  16. Marc

    Biden is an angry old man, shouting, interrupting, laughing at inappropriate times. Next thing you know, he's going to be screaming at Ryan to get off his lawn. He doesn't care and he doesn't get it. Neither Biden nor Obama get it. That is why all they have left is to laugh and interrupt others. Biden is a pompous fool who has no respect for anyone else, much less himself. I doubt he's much of a good father either. I'd hate to be his kid, coming for advice and getting laughed at by this loud-mouthed old goat.

    October 12, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  17. Pari

    Ryan had no facts. He just jumbles around words to deflect specific questions. Biden won clearly.

    October 12, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. lindaB@medlinesys.com

    How about a class in manners for the VP??? He was rude and disrespectfull!!! I voted for Obama
    4 years ago.....what a mistake!! I will be proudly voting for Romney.

    October 12, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. enoughsaid

    I am shocked how the Republican posters on here are calling Biden's behaviour rude. I've never read so many bigoted and childish slurs on a comment board as I did yesterday. I am not a U.S. citizen and I've read the dailies out of Britain, India, Canada....Biden clearly one and with his years and years in the foreign relations committee the rest of world is pulling for Obama/Biden

    October 12, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. Brian

    CNN leans left...they 'cautiously' post numbers when facts state anything negative for the Dems. They report a trouncing is numbers show an even slight advantage for the Dems. Honestly, how can anyone say Biden presented his case well, when the most memorable thing he did was make faces, laugh, and act like a child? Ryan politely let Biden act the baffoon, and did a very good job at being the bigger person. Why do so many people want to be socialists? America was forged with go-getters and people who work. That is the middle class!

    October 12, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. Pam

    Biden was strictly about bullying and trying to rattle Ryan. The most impressive thing is the self control that Paul Ryan showed. He wasnt knocked off his game-he just missed pointing out a few of Biden's lies.

    October 12, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. Anonymous

    And everyone wonders why there is no Bipartisanship in Congress. Joe Biden is the deciding vote! He uses the term Republican like it's a four letter word and should be stricken from our legal vocabularies. Could there be a more partisan administration? Joe's bluster gave us an excellent view of what a Classic insider is like! Imagine if you will for a moment what it would be like if every economic decision was made by our government? I know this would be Utopia for Joe Biden. We'd have to go see the "Godfather" for consideration. Or find a dead horse head in our beds ( read as Tax Audit). Think about this. Of course Joe loved handing out Billions. I would. Most popular guy on the block no doubt. No wonder he got unruly at the debates. His whole last 4 years was being called for what it was. "Here is the VIG for your vote"

    October 12, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. WilliamPenn

    Ryan 48, Biden 44 is a draw, CNN? Seriously? Were those numbers reversed, you'd be calling it a landslide for Biden. You guys are hilarious!

    October 12, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. zsmith

    IWhy did the moderator allow Biden to interrupt Ryan so many times. I thought it was very rude.

    October 12, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. edward Lewis

    And everyone wonders why there is no Bipartisanship in Congress. Joe Biden is the deciding vote! He uses the term Republican like it's a four letter word and should be stricken from our legal vocabularies. Could there be a more partisan administration? Joe's bluster gave us an excellent view of what a Classic insider is like! Imagine if you will for a moment what it would be like if every economic decision was made by our government? I know this would be Utopia for Joe Biden. We'd have to go see the "Godfather" for consideration. Or find a dead horse head in our beds ( read as Tax Audit). Think about this. Of course Joe loved handing out Billions. I would. Most popular guy on the block no doubt. No wonder he got unruly at the debates. His whole last 4 years was being called for what it was. "Here is the VIG for your vote"

    October 12, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194