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. Max

    CNN is pathetic, no credibility, no substance, they completely discount reality and pander to the stupidity and surface whims of people. WHO OF ANY INTELLIGENCE WHAT SO EVER THINKS RYAN WON THAT DEBATE. A debate is not about ignoring the moderators question and regurgitating talking points, people should demand more than that. "republican" or otherwise. And Shame on CNN for validating such ridiculousness (that would be Ryan and that BS poll). CNN should stand for substance regardless of what a bunch of stupid people say in a poll (that accuracy of which I completely doubt... CNN = corporate tool)

    October 12, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. bobdevo

    Please – Joe Biden crushed Lyin' Ryan; it was like watching Ward Cleaver lecture Eddie Haskell . . . .

    October 12, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. FloridaRes

    Biden was honest and clear in working for the 99%. Ryan was smirky and just answered what he and Romney had sufficiently prepared ahead of time. If I had to look at Ryan's smirk one more time I would have gagged. It is Obama and Biden for me! And I was a registered member of GOP. The lies that come out of the Romney-Ryan camp about their own policies (at least those they are willing to state) are staggering.

    October 12, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  4. YES"i"man

    In a month or so Obama will be back in office and Romney/Ryan circus will but a memory...

    October 12, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  5. Chuck

    Biden just seemed to be totally off his rocker. I've never seen anyone in a more public setting be more rude, disrespectful, and just downright ignorant. It was sort of embarrassing just to watch him. He seemed like a seventy year old kid if there is such a thing...totally embarrassing.

    October 12, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  6. michaelw777

    I have no intentions of voting for Romney, but I felt Ryan acquitted himself well. He came across cool and calm under immense pressure.

    October 12, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. Mdrake

    Biden looked like the Cheshire cat with his big mouth and deputy dog with his intellect. CNN called it right.

    October 12, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. Max

    nauseating and very depressing

    October 12, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. GKB

    Ryan won on facts when I checked it out, Biden was the most disrespectful Vice President I have ever witnessed in a debate, Makes you wander what he is like in foreign polcies or how he repersents the US. I was very disapointed that Biden amitted that he lives a double life on his religion. He is a discrase to the Catholic beleaf I would have more respect for him as a honest person with integrity and as leader if he would stand up for what he says he belives in. The other thing that bothered me is Biden denied the Libya incident or what they were informed. Don't you think as Vice President and in charge of Forign Relations and the President that they would know the truth after all that is their job. I feel like they sacrificed those poor individuals and for what? This Independent is going Republican.

    October 12, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. Brad

    Biden did better than Obama. Ryan appeared more mature than Biden. The correction should be 44% will not vote for Romney.

    October 12, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. moving1

    CNN ot FNN won because they now the score card new work. Wolf cound not wait to get his score in. VP debates now does not matter because Joe did ok.... Now is how Joe's face look. what happen to CNN on real substance. And that fact check thign is outdated. They had a change to hit Mitt on what the public are asking when Mitt appeared, and they sugar coted. I am not a democrat, but loosing interest in CNN. They need a new line up.

    October 12, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. QP

    Biden is clearly unfit for this position. What an utter embarrassment to the people of the United State!

    October 12, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Biden is a clown acted like a kid ,the man needs to be on meds how can anyone like this make a good choice.He is more worried about how he looks than the problems.very rude.And like the old folks say a bit dog yelps the loudest

    October 12, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. Jimbojoe

    Hmm, goes with who's polite or who told far fewer lies? I dunno, I'm going to vote for a lying crook if at least he's nice about it. /sarcasm

    October 12, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. James

    Response to the post of riptin.. about Ryan not giving specifics on the great plan. Have we heard anything like this before... O'yeah. When they pressed Obama care through Nancy Pelosi said well you just have to pass the bill then you get to see what's in it. What a joke. Dem's have such a double standard
    I am a Romney supporter but think the debate was too close to call. Also think that Biden looked very confident and I dont see an issue on how he carried himself.

    October 12, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. jackthegeek

    I agree with the results on the polls. The debate was not about how Biden was tough bullying Ryan, but what the contents of how Ryan presented his view to American people. I definitely will vote for Romney-Ryan team as Independent.

    October 12, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. Robin

    I sure don't want to man who can't or won't let others speak for vice...imagin what he would be like at a world conference alway interupting and being just a nasty old man. Time for new thinking in the white house. And for those of you who say Ryan didn't answer...it's kinda hard to answer if someone won't shut the truck up and let him talk!!! Now thats a fact, Jack. And one last point, if someone is so set against abortion in their personal life but finds it "ok" for China to force abortions and its "ok" to use abortion as a birth control, how does it set with his "personal feelings" and if Catholic is his life center HOW can he live with himself to sell his beliefs for a paycheck? I am just saying that if he TRUELY believes in what he says then why sell that for a vote.

    October 12, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. jack 3

    They both did well compared to Obama. Biden was rude and his laughing was annoying. I think after they do fact checking that will tell who really won. So far I think the trophy should go to Ryan because Biden was disrepectful.

    October 12, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. freedom

    If Biden's behavior appeals to the base of Democrats, then that's one more reason why I'm not one. He was laughing at the most serious issues our country is facing, and very disrespectful to the moderator and Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. reaperfearer

    Everyone's talking about Biden, so technically, he won.

    October 12, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. Justice

    Mr. Biden is a great example why we need TERM limits !!!

    October 12, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. Gail

    I found Joe Biden distracting, rude, arrogant, and unbelievable. Especially when he said "look, who are you gonna believe?". Not you, Joe!

    October 12, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  23. Paul

    Biden won the big. No question about it. CNN's poll is very local. If anyone watched last night's debate, he/she would get very clear picture. Ryan can't point out details of a few key issues. Everything he said means that voting for us and we will let you know what we want to do in the future if we got to the whitehouse.

    October 12, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  24. Jeannie

    I thought Biden presented himself as an arrogant, aggressive, and disrespectful person. Ryan remailed cool and was successful at getting his point across even with the interruptions. I couldn't decipher anything Biden was speaking of between all of the filler talk, smirks, and malarky's. After the last 2 debates and the general direction of our country Romney/Ryan definitely have my vote! On a side note – I hope I never have to endure a Biden even on tv again!

    October 12, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. Len

    Neither party gets it but if they do a little ( a lot ) of give and take they might. the population of this country has grown too big for the full blown stye of free enterprise that the Republicans want. They need to get together and determine what an aging, growing population needs to survive. then work on the details to accomplish the task. As it is each is more worried that the other party will win. It is not the party that counts but the populace.

    October 12, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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