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. Badboy

    Romney/Ryan don't give enough specifics......Obama has no plan at all. Blame and shame wont get it!

    October 12, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. George Cook

    The "only" person lying last night was Biden...especially about the fact that the Administration had not received any requests for aid and support to the Embassy that got attached by the "T"...sworn testimony a mere 48 hours before the debate indicated clearly that the Administration had been asked for additional support so "who" is the Liar? clearly Mr B is the liar.

    October 12, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. r benard

    Would you want that smiling,laughing idiot running our country? I'm voting for Romney, but I pray every day for Obamas safety so that Joe Biden never gets to run this country

    October 12, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  4. John

    I don't understand this poll. Biden clearly destroyed Ryan in this debate. CNN, what's with the spin?

    October 12, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. Maggie

    I watched the entire debate and thought it was fairly good. I also thought Biden looked very silly with his smirky face, snide remarks and continued
    interruptions. He does not represent either the U.S. Government or the Dem party very well in this rude manner. Ryan was concise and to the point but was not always given the opportunity to complete his response due to both Biden and the commentator interrupting him after she asked Ryan the question! All in all, it is my opinion that Ryan won and is the better choice. If anyone cares, I am an Independent and will vote R/R this time around.

    October 12, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Patriot

    It sure didn't take long for the Republican spin master to make the debate about "smirks" and "interruptions" instead of about substance. The sad thing is that so many people fall for the "malarkey."

    October 12, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. Susan

    I voted for Obama 2008- I am embarrassed that to say. We need real leadership and Joe Biden and Barack Obama
    have proven to the world that they are failures. Joe Biden was simply DISGRACEFUL to the office of Vice President and
    any imtellegent person watching last night will not vote for this man and his ticket.

    October 12, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Bobby in SC

    The real loser here was the American people.The constant interruptions and talking over by Biden ruined the whole flow of the debate.I wanted to turn it off several times because it became so annoying.I'm sure a lot of people WERE turned off by it and probably did change the channel.I usually like these type of things because you get to see the contrast between the 2 candidates without all the hype.But of my 30+ year watching these things I don't think I've ever seen anything as bad as last nights debate.Is it any wonder the American people have lost confidence in our elected leaders.Very sad!

    October 12, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. vsg

    Ryan won because he wasn't grinning from ear to ear at every juncture of the debate. It just made the whole thing uncomfortable. Biden was clearly disrespecting Ryan. Default goes to Ryan whether you like him or not!

    October 12, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Biden dominated in commanding fashion... Ryan w
    as schooled..... Point blank

    October 12, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  11. Brandon

    I don't understand how anybody thinks Ryan won? All Ryan and Romney did in their debate performances was lie and misrepresent facts. Then people say they win. The reason Biden was so 'rude' was because Ryan constantly lies and gives no substance and does not back up his positions with facts at all. Ryan could not give specifics on his economic plan, foreign policy and a number of other issues. What a joke. I'm seriously shocked that there are so many stupid people out there. If you think Ryan won, you should do some research and realize that almost everything he said was a lie or very misleading. You can't win a debate by lying, and when confronted by a liar who is constantly lying his lies I think most people would react similarly to Biden. If they say otherwise they are liars.

    October 12, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Kevin McGonigal

    What this debate showed me was that the Democrats made a big mistake back in 2008 when they chose the wrong man to head the ticket. Biden would have done a better job the last 3 and a half years than the current occupant of the White House.

    October 12, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  13. Dee

    Clearly Biden won and I'm a registered Republican. Not sure what the poll people were watching.

    October 12, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  14. edward

    Obviously biden won.Now the republicans who accuse obama of "sweet talker" now want to win the elections through debate? No please.

    October 12, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. wfswanson

    Biden came off as a slick, condescending and out of touch old man who loves to tout himself as a champion of the middle class. Obama and Biden are so sure they are right, they are willing to ignore their deplorable record on the economy and just raise taxes to try to fix the mess they have perpetuated (and made much worse). Maybe he made Democrats feel good with his plastic smiles and interruptions, but independents finally saw him for what he is – a defensive, out of touch old man, who, along with his running mate, has no tangible successes in the last four years to run on.

    October 12, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. vsg

    ROE V WADE... That's my biggest hangup. Leve it alone!

    October 12, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. srt

    So let me get this straight, RobMe was arrogant and rude but it was okay – he won the debate. Biden is arrogant and rude – he loses the debate? It's about substance, what the candidate has to say. Not how he behaves. This isn't charm school.

    October 12, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. Russell, NC ,

    Biden won the giggling contest.

    October 12, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. Victor

    Biden dominated in commanding fashion... Ryan was schooled..... Point blank

    October 12, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. ImIrish

    As far as substance, I think they were pretty even. But, Biden was so friggin' rude with his laughing, snorting and Cheshire Cat grins that Ryan gets the edge.

    I don't really think that the VP debates mean much. The debates between Obama and Romney mean a whole lot more, in my opinion.

    October 12, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. Reload

    Biden is such a liar. "We didn't know they wanted more security." "We didn't know there wasn't a protest." If these statements are true then the fact that he and O'bama didn't know is even more scary. O'bama/Biden - complete failures for the past four years. Why would we want to give them four more?

    October 12, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. Charlies

    Biden acts as a "grumpy old man" instead of as a VP. A total loss for Democrats in Round 2.

    October 12, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. pat carr

    CNN's own FP poll shows 62% for biden 38 for Ryan. Where's the so=called "tie"?

    October 12, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. bobgordonart

    It was like watching Batman slap the hell out of Robin. Biden made the whole republican party and FOXXY News cry today. He slapped some respect into them! hahaha!

    October 12, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  25. pantherpro

    Hey Reddy

    Anyone who is undecided at this point Is pretty much a moron so we really don't care what you think. How could you be undecided? This group of undecided are pathetic!

    October 12, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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