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. Horus

    I think Biden's mannerisms were a distraction, but born out of pure frustration with what Ryan and Romney keep pandering; which is basically "just vote for us and will fix everything".

    October 12, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. Rev

    What people really need to realize is it's very difficult not to laugh when your sitting next to someone who is flat out lying to America. He did really explain anything. The only thing he took a definite stance on is enforcing his Catholic beliefs on the rest of the country about abortion. Not everyone in the USA is a Catholic, or has the same beliefs. Honestly, if Romney wins, it's going to be the 80's all over again. The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer, and there will be NO MIDDLE CLASS. I'll take my family to as far away from that administration as possible. I love this country, but I won't end up homeless because Romney has no back bone and will do what he's told by who pays the most. I'll be singing Oh Canada while everything here falls apart. Have fun.

    P.S. READ THE FACTS! DON'T JUST LISTEN TO WHAT FOX NEWS TELLS YOU TO! READ YOUR HISTORY!

    October 12, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. Jeff Banko

    Typical that all of the libs are saying Biden won and ignore that he came off as a pompous, classless, ass who had no respect for his debate opponent, the moderator, or the American people. Typical that they also complain that Ryan provided no specifics while by the way Biden did not either. At least Ryan handled himself like an adult not like a little kindergarten child. His laughing, smirking, talking over Ryan, and the mod were ridiculous. This is what the libs like the world to see us as a giant buffoon with no freaking sense of decorum. God help this country when we elect idiots like Biden.

    October 12, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Darren

    Ryan was the adult. Biden was childish. Ryan was poised. Biden was sent as an attack dog and over compensated for Obamas terrible first debate. I am an independent that voted Obama 4 years ago. I regret that vote very much. My vote is going to the next President of the United States. Romney!

    October 12, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. Hai

    That's exactly what's happening with this country. The 48% who said Ryan won didn't have a clue about what he said or didn't know how to do math. So sad.

    October 12, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. Taylor M

    Shame on CNN for not provide the facts. Biden won.. Clear
    Stop polling the same people.. someone call me!

    Be a leader in the news, not follwer.

    October 12, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. plisade

    Biden was rude and played all the typical rhetorical tricks of a politician. Ryan mostly concentrated on sticking to talking points, never really got in a good stride, and didn't seem capable of extemporising. Both sides were pretty unimpressive. But being emotional during a debate, as Biden was, is extremely off-putting to me. Apparently for other posters here, the level of emotion with which one speaks seems to correlate to relevance, to sincerity and perhaps even to truth. That is disturbing.

    October 12, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  8. Linden Atrocity

    It's pretty obvious who the winner was. If you enjoy facts and proof of what the President has done, then Biden won. If you like b.s. fed to you with fear tactics on how Iran has the bomb, then Ryan won.

    October 12, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. ITGUY

    Well for all of you know it all's who claim to speak for everybody, most people didn't watch at all. We watched the football game and the yankees/o's game. You are all the losers, both of them didn't tell us the truth and if you take ne side or the other your just a follower of the non-truth. losers

    October 12, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. alex

    48% are saying Ryan won? I can't believe I share a country with you people.

    October 12, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Arch Stanton

    CNN, you took a skewed poll of voters who are more Republican than the rest of the country and asked what they thought of a Democrat/Republican debate?

    You've wasted your time, our time, and embarrassed yourself. What a stupid, silly thing. Hey, next debate, why not just poll only Romney's family members?

    You're trying to skew this election and make it look closer than it is so the suspense will keep people watching and keep your ratings up... and that's not journalism, and it's not what I watch CNN for. FOX is in the tank for Republicans, MSNBC is skewed Democratic, so I count on CNN to actually be an objective balance. You're letting me down here with silly, waste-of-time polls to try to drive the narrative, and that's not appreciated.

    October 12, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Biden Buffoon Brigade

    If behaving like an jerk, laughing through debate like a simpleton, and being a rude bully is the Democrats idea of a Biden victory, then so be it. Remeber–substance over style–you Obama voters got hooked on Hope and Change in the 2008 election. Hope......and........Change-simple words that obviously meant nothing. A strawman with no ideas regurgitated those words over and over and swayed the simpletons of America with slick and shiny packaging. You wanted jobs–you got Obamacare......you wanted gitmo closed.....move prisoners to Illinois.....you wanted peace through appeasment in middle east.....you got a failed foriegn policy that has now resulted in deaths of more Americans–
    You got exactly what you deserved by not vetting the man who believes words speak louder than actions.

    October 12, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Yes, your own front page poll shows a 60/40 split in favor of Biden...what is CNN trying to spin?

    October 12, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. LaShaye

    VP Joe biden WON this debate hands down!

    October 12, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. Ruben

    Ryan maintained his lying ways! Joe Biden was like another Joe who said “The TRUTH not but the TRUTH.” Mitt and Paul have lost their creditability. Joe Biden behaved like someone who was candid about hearing the TRUTH and was being lied to.

    What matters is the TRUTH.

    October 12, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. Debbie

    Well, Biden's comments just proved that either he or Obama is a liar. I watched the Obama/Romney debate and several comments Obama made Biden discounted. One of them is lying...most likely both!

    October 12, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. tim

    I was ashamed at how biden interrupted during ryan talk. We need sombody in the white house that cares about the american people and what goes on over here! Im just a old country boy that owns a small business dont know alot but i do know that the government is spending way to much money and we need to get our spending down and get our country out of the mess it is in. We need less government control and less spending! If we dont get control over spending i think we will never be able to pull out of it. When i spend to much i put myself on a budget doesnt anybody get it? How hard is that i dont have a college degree!

    October 12, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. caligirlinfla

    Biden did what he alway does... He just looked unprofessional and certainly not able to lead our country if it came to that. Ryan spoke well and stood his ground. He seems like he would definitely work on bi-partisanship to get some things done in our country.

    October 12, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. zutux

    NPR – No Plan Ryan

    October 12, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. Darrell

    Can't say it was hugely won by either VP candidate, but I give the slight edge to Joe Biden for sticking moreso to facts than the punchline prepped Paul Ryan. This is the first time I have actually seen Paul Ryan and, to be honest, I can't seem to envision voting for a "Doogie Houser" like him being one step from the Oval Office.

    October 12, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  21. jeff illinois

    Ryan won big time. My vote goes to the Republicans, the Democrats only talk hot air and do nothing for us regular people. america will be better when taxes are lowered and the health care tax goes away.

    October 12, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. Nick

    Biden drank Ryan's milkshake.

    Period.

    October 12, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  23. Mona

    Biden came of way too childish in my opinion, he lacked professionalism. Ryan did a good job at keeping him composure and was much more tactful and knowledgeable. ROMNEY/RYAN!

    October 12, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. Linda Whitaker

    Biden came off as a loud drunk! So rude!

    October 12, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  25. jackthegeek

    It is not how Biden's attack made the basis on these polls, but the content and seriousness of Ryan's agenda as he presented it to the public. I would definitely vote for Romney-Ryan team now as Independent voter.

    October 12, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
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