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. Sirned

    Biden won....

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  2. Renee

    Who cares what Biden said – he was so disrespectful and so -un-Presidential he loses, hands down! Experience only carries you so far. He looked like a mad man – must have been prepped by Howard Dean.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  3. Sophisto777

    I'm independent, and though Biden narrowly won.. Though I didn't care for his smirking/smiling. Seemed contrived.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  4. Naynee

    Biden's facial expressions were smug and condescending. I could barely watch the left side of my screen. If Obama wins the next four years, pray nothing happens to him folks....this is what you'll get. Ryan scored big tonight.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  5. Ramon

    Cnn has real problem with polls Biden won hands down I mean come on people lets get real....... Obama/Biden 2012

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  6. Dave D

    Total crap....Biden wore him out. Wo the heck did you guys poll?

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  7. isabel mckenna

    Really? Where do you get to vote on who won? Anyone who watched this and think Ryan came out the victor is just laughable. Joe Biden wiped the floor with him. forget Anarchy in the U.S.A it's now Malarkey in the U.S.A If your intelligent enough to get that reference..

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  8. ryan

    Clearly Biden won, Ryan did not understand Afghanistan. Ryan agree with the withdrawl date but also disagree with it, which one, we still don't know where he stands.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  9. Randy

    I'm a Dem but, Biden's behavior was an embarrassment to the office of the Vice President.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  10. wallst

    Ryan was repeating the Afgan clans to show he knows foreign policy. Some day wrote and gave him and he memorized and was showing off again and again

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  11. nv89436

    I didn't get to vote for Joe>

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  12. maksim tsionskiy

    what poll did they do? I have watched the debate. Biden destroyed Ryan. Ryan tried to lye, but was called out.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  13. Dee

    This is a stupid story...if you go to the front of this site and scroll to the bottom of the page you can clearly see that the vote has BIDEN as the CLEAR winner at 67% to 33% ... what type of TRASH journalism is this? you cant even quote YOURSELF correctly????

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  14. reality

    Constantly talking over someone like Biden did does not make him the victor. Biden had much more arrogant energy, but I think his substance was severely lacking. As an independent, I believe there was no clear winner. I guess I have to watch the next debae.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  15. roman c.

    What a scam! A hand picked audience is not a valid poll. This is a thinly veiled way to "pick a winner" and broadcast this on all their station - as if there were a winner, when really it's just the opinion of very small number of opinions from a select group of watchers.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  16. Mike D

    What everyone saw was an older more experienced player talking smack during the game as the younger less experienced player kept matching shots and not talking smack. At the closing bell the younger player sank the winnning shot.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  17. Kristy

    Very saddened by the disrespect of Biden in this debate, as a moderate its hard to side with someone who wont play by the rules he agreed to =(

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  18. Kris

    I thought Biden came off as smug, arrogant and mean spirited. Ryan was much more likeable.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  19. Cy Lens Dogood

    Ryan won the debate but not by the huge margin Romney won by the other night. Biden did well as an attack dog, getting the 47% quote it (ad nauseum) but on substance, Ryan won the debate hands down. Like Ryan said in closing, if you can't run on your record, attack your opponent. With unemployment consistently above 8 percent (unless you really believe the 7.8% that just came out this month–as though that's something to brag about), the Benghazi cover-up, Fast and Furious cover-up, more Americans dying in Afghanistan in Obama's one term compared to 7 yrs of Bush, and it's easy to see why Joe went on Attack Dog mode.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  20. Bob Brault

    Joltin Joe Schooled Eddie Munster! He compared him to Sarah Pailin, called him on his requests for stimulous money (that Paulie couldn't even call that: He called them :grants")

    I couldn't be happier! You can say 48 to whatever, Real people and independants know who won.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  21. OggieBoogie

    As an independent I heard all I wanted to hear tonight to make my final decision.

    Ryan: "We plan to meet with and sit at the table with democrats to discuss bipartisan approaches to resolving these complex issues. Believe it or not, sometime democrats have good ideas and we need to come together to implement critical strategies."

    Biden: "Whatever, *interrupt* you are lying! Blah, blah, blah,....lying...my friend...unbelievable..won't work with him...not in reality...blah, blah...whatever."

    I am glad the liberal pundits at CNN think that this was more or less a draw, but it really was not even close. Biden clearly excited his base I am sure, but Romeny/Ryan already have their base excited, and have for some time. The REAL question is what the independents think. For me, my main problem with this administration has been the clear lack of ability to play with the other kids in the sandbox. Where is the talk about coming together to get things done from Obama/Biden???

    Really, the answer is just all too obvious. Only a partisan fool would vote for Obama/Biden at this point. Even as a moderate, I would have a hard time working with Biden and I could NEVER vote for him.

    Excite the base all you want, but I think good old Joe just blasted off his own head as far as wooing independents is concerned.

    From, an independent.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Ryan WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I very offended that Joe Biden, our Vice President, apparently thinks our country being in crisis is a laughing matter. It just goes to show that we need to move forward with ROMNEY AND RYAN. I'm out of change, and I have no hope left with the Obama/Biden ticket. NOBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  23. Kiowastar7

    Great debate win for Biden. Ryan – How can you win a debate without any presenting any factual plans or strategies?

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  24. kcgolden

    There was no winner in this debate but there was a clear loser. It was the American people lost this debate. Between Biden's buffoonery and Ryan's inability to make a point in the face of interruptions (the interruptions the fault of Biden, the inability the fault of Ryan).

    We learned nothing about the candidates themselves or their plans. We only leaned what each side wants you to believe about the other. Biden's behavior was disgraceful and Ryan was weak.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  25. gomer

    neither gave specifics, only one came off as an unhinged kook

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
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