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. lisasc

    I thought Joe Biden was rude and arrogant not only to Congressman Ryan but to the moderator.

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. Richard

    The much younger Paul Ryan beats out the VP with 40 years experience? Makes you wonder just HOW good of a VP Ryan will make..... or Pres?

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. Barbara

    Whoever lied less won the debate. According to fact checkers so far, looks like Biden won. I will not vote for the party that lies the most, "America's come back to lying Team".

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. Joey

    I think both did pretty well. Some good points...some not so good. I have my mind made up about who's getting my vote. Not going to say one or the other 'won'. I think it was more a matter of not worsening a bad situation...which Biden pulled off for the most part. No one riding the fence will make up their mind because of this debate.

    I think the most interesting thing brought up in the debate last night is the situation in Libya. Biden's comment about intel was totally opposite from what the State Dept. put out earlier in the week. Either the administration is not being truthful or they're not incompetent in this matter. Either way this is brought to light won't be good. I don't think people will accept an administration which lies, or doesn't have control of foreign policy...and I totally believe Americans want to know the truth. Especially when lives are lost. God Bless their families.

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. Bosley

    I see some of you claiming that Ryan just quoted platform lines but did you notice Biden actually checking off ,on a sheet in front of him, the democrat talking points during one of his rants between snickers!

    October 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. Mary

    Joe Biden's smirking and laughing during the entire debate made him look like an old goat. (Well, he is).

    October 12, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. David

    Joe Biden acted like a spoiled brat. Behaving like that in many public arenas would get a punch in the nose. If interrupting, laughing, guffawing is how you win a debate, wow.

    October 12, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. Katz

    Biden's claim that the administration wasn't told of request form ore diplomatic security in the run-up to the Libya terror attack added only more confusion to an already muddled narrative. In addition to raising eyebrows over that comment, Biden went a step further and threw the intelligence community under the bus – putting the blame squarely on their shoulders for the faulty narrative, pushed for more than a week by the administration, that the attack was a protest spun out of control. Biden continues to mislead on Libya. "Well, we weren't told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again Biden said. But, the State Department officials who testified Wednesday before a House committee acknowledged there were indeed earlier request for more security staffing. Two former security officers who testified at that hearing, including former top security official Eric Nordstrom, expressed frustration at how their appeals for more resources were rebuffed. Lies Lies Lies Biden is as good a liar as Clinton!

    October 12, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. Sacchi

    Biden looked like a clown always with a “smart” smile in his face.
    Ryan looks more presidential…

    October 12, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. KM

    Biden looked as though he was trying to be the playground bully. If you can't beat them with your facts then whenever your opponent tries to make a point laugh, giggle or make faces to distract the viewers. He was just an #$%$ and if that is how his group leads it is obvious why we have such desention between the parties.

    October 12, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. A Draw?

    So every statistical response seemed to indicate that Ryan was favored by respondents. And you're going to say that the pool of respondents was tainted Republican because of 2 percentage points? Wow. CNN looks for every opportunity to dismiss the facts – unless of course they are left leaning.

    October 12, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Humble Steward

    This was a Biden beat down. This debate was even close. If you are going to lie, you are going to be called on the carpet for it. Biden laughed and smiled because he knew Ryan was not telling the "TRUTH". You can try to spin this that Biden was rude, but we are not buying it. Romney was seen as being aggressive last week when he kept talking. Let's be honest and face facts, these guys will say anything to win. That's not going to get my vote and many others. Ryan was so inexperieced on foreign policy that it was shameful. How can he even question Obama/Biden on these issues. This poll is a joke. Anyone who watched the debate knows the Biden was speaking the truth (facts).

    October 12, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. lily

    Time for the Old dog Biden to learn a new trick –telling the truth-what audacity–to say he didn't vote for both the Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan!–Has he forgotten that they keep a record of those votes? Can you say dementia boys and girls!!!

    October 12, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. Victor

    Funny 48% to 44% is now a draw huh! If it was biden with the 48% the headline would be" Biden Crushes Ryan!" I thought Biden with the way he acted SHOWED why you can't get anything done up there..Is this how they treat other heads of states? The left does love to spin though but only thing WE AREN'T BUYING!

    October 12, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. Pat

    Ryan was confident and articulate while Biden at least gave it more energy than his boss. Unfortunately his disrespectful laughing while discussing serious topics showed America what a clown he is (as if we didn't already know).

    October 12, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Mark Smith

    Who did they poll? Angry white men! Ryan didn't belong in the ring with Biden. People are not stupid, this election will be a blowout! OBAMA 2012

    October 12, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. nereyda

    joe biden won the debate and laughed of the estupidy of hear ryan

    October 12, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  18. debate

    not sure what debate you guys were watching? was it on FOX- guess they had a translator for those who have hearing issues? I think Biden did a great job – outlining the lies that Romney Ryan keep on hiding.. why on earth you voted for stimulus funding when you yourself (PAUL RYAN) took for your own state? please explain Republicans.. even i live in canada and find that you foolish republicans will always be foolish because thats all you know and that all you will care about.. YOURSELF not for the people.. thats for sure.

    October 12, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  19. Chris from Chicago

    if laughing, sighing and mocking could win a debate....Biden would be a legend.

    October 12, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. McGillicutty

    Robot Ryan said to Joe, 'sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way."

    Biden should have replied, 'Yes Mr Marathon Man, we all make a few "MIS-STATEMENTS" now and again don't we".

    #Bada-Bing!

    October 12, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. independant

    this debate helped me decide who I do not want in the White House; Joe Biden. We have to remember that he is #2 and replaces Obama if anything happens to him.

    October 12, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. Rose

    I don't understand why Biden said the embassy didn't ask for security. CNN had the ambassador's diary and he was very worried about security. They wanted security, hello, they knew al qaeda was there, in the weeks before the attack a number of international vehicles had been attacked. Also he said it was still under investigation, it was a terrorist attack and our people were murdered, period. Why stall on what really happened, everyone knows it?

    October 12, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. OpenYourEyes

    If you believe a debate is a contest for who can act the most immature, than Biden won by a mile.

    If you believe that a debate is exchange of ideas, then Ryan was the clear winner.

    Ryan had facts and figures for everything he said. Biden told whoppers that even the most gullible had to know were lies. For example: He didn't know that the embassy asked for more security? There are dozens of writtenand denied requests IN WRITING that prove otherwise. He didn't know it was a terrorist attack? Again, there is proof that the US was warned a week in advance, Britian pulled their people out, and there is a recording that proves Obama was aware of it within 24 hours. Biden also kept pushing on the debunked 5 trillion tax cut nonsense. The ONLY study that suggested that, came out publically last week and stated that Obama twisted their words.

    October 12, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. Joe

    Only in Libtardtopia could the Repbulican candidate get FOUR percent more votes and it still be called a tie. Pathetic.

    October 12, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. gus

    Funny how the only pole that shows that Ryan won is on Ted Turners network?

    October 12, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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