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. joann

    Why are there no specific questions for Obama/ Biden.Why doesn't anyone ask what are the specifics of the "Forward" plan. Questions like: Are we going to continue borrowing money from foreign countries, How will you cut defecit spending, are you still going to give taxpayer money to private companies and wallstreet banks, and why do you send money to build up foreign enterprises.... etc, etc

    October 12, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. VstarGuy

    I believe it was a clear win for Biden! Ryan never was specific about anything he was asked. Biden appeared very confident and acted more a VP than did Ryan. Biden's addressing the middle class and the senior segment in a direct way
    was IMO a very good way to show his sincerity. Ryan never came across as being sincere or believable. Ryan was out classed by the VP and that really could hurt Romney in the long run. Joe Biden did well, Paul Ryan tried and lied....he is Dick Cheney .....with better hair!

    October 12, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. NothinIsFair

    Where are these results coming from? Last night while watching the dabate on TV,and at the same time I kept track into cnn live blog and all live polls were in favor of Biden except for his grinning part. I am confused CNN?????

    October 12, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. Len

    As far as the debate goes neither one truly answered the questions asked. most answers rambling statements that never asnwered the question asked by the moderator.

    October 12, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. Bill

    Biden came off as a laughing clown. This whole administration is nothing but a bunch of clowns, so it is no surprise.
    Maybe they can talk about Big Bird some more.

    October 12, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. Lonnie

    The debate made it clear that Romney/Ryan do not have a plan for taking this country forward and will not commit to a detail description. Biden was EXCELLENT and took Ryan to task on issues and lies. Ryan evaded direct questions by indicating how Romney/Ryan would do things differently, but no detail as to what they would do differently. When it was all said and done, he agreed with Obama/Biden on many of the same issues including his request for Stimulous money to help his home state. Lying Ryan and Romey are attempting to set this country back.

    October 12, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Tyler

    Hey CNN, here's an idea. Why don't you stop having people flood your polls to make it seem like it was so close. You even have Ryan leading right now...are you blind, deaf, and dumb? I'm sorry, but there was a clear winner last night and that was Biden. I've read countless other REAL news sites and they all agree, yet here is paid off CNN posting results to confuse to American people. Hope you enjoy that money you were paid off with.

    October 12, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. Al

    When Romney says he wants to help 100% of the American people, he really means; help 100% of Americans 57% of the time :o)

    October 12, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  9. Yeah right

    When someone continues to lie, you have no choice but to plug the lie. Biden did amazing.

    October 12, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. pantherpro

    Reddy,

    Anyone who is still undecided at this point is a straight up moron! No wonder why you are leaning towards evil Romney ticket!

    October 12, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Fact

    @ c , who said, "When a person like Ryan lies a lot there is only two things you can do is either get upset or laugh. I would rather laugh then get upset about the lies.This is normal human reaction. Thats why Biden is real and Ryan was fake.

    Really? Biden denied that more security was requested at Benghazi before the terrorist attack on 9/11. The TRUTH is: there were multiple requests for more security. Everyone knows Biden is a liar. Ryan is spotless compared to Biden. Brush up on facts before you comment.

    October 12, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. David

    What?!?! No way Ryan won this debate. CNN, this is very unusual from you. I'm highly upset with the way you have handled this. This is a joke. Biden opened a can on Ryan. No doubt about it. CBS poll had 19% more viewers saying Biden won. Who were the people taking this poll? Please, remove it.

    October 12, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. Maximus

    If you believe Biden won you must be smoking Hopium.

    October 12, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. Dan

    Debates are worthless.
    It's like taking the word of a used car salesman.

    Do you own research of their comments and actions over their lifetime. Then decide based on that.

    October is the month they look for suckers who weren't paying attention to what they say and do behind closed doors.

    October 12, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. macthek9

    I was so sure that Obama/Biden would have this thing bagged by now. The fact that they don't and that there are undecided voters still leaning to the Elephant in the room, shows that this thing is likely going to go to the GOP. Not that I want that, it's just a fact that Obama is a 4 year (failed) experiment. Too bad!

    October 12, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. Alverant

    To people who thinks the VP was rude, remember last week when Mittens interrupted Obama.

    IOKIYAR strikes again.

    October 12, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. Jensen

    Loved Biden! He won hands down.

    October 12, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. Scottsvb

    Biden made some points but also Lied about the Libya Embassy attacks of not being ask for security and a couple other issues. Biden did give a few facts but overall didn't want to hear anything that Ryan had to say.. all he did was Smirk and laugh at him.... As a indepenent.. that's what is wrong with Politicians.. they can't compromise with the other side. Biden is more experienced and looked it....but Ryan did well on his points (even though he was interupted). Overall I give it to Ryan.. he kept his cool, stated mostly facts (not all). but this will come down to the final 2 debates.

    October 12, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. Bob

    Biden did better than expected, but he acted like a fool and Ryan won!

    October 12, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. Cisco Chris

    These repugnicans deserve zero respect – I was hoping biden would just smash Ryan's teeth into his head. We have zero responsibility to even talk to these pigs, let alone cooperate with them on legislation, or debate them. Ryan's lucky he even got air-time with Joe. What's a republican good for? The gas chamber!

    October 12, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED: JOE BIDEN IS AN IDIOT

    Five things we learned from Thursday's vice presidential debate: Joe Biden is: an idiot, rude, condescending, has a denture, and he cannot explain why so many people are out of jobs and losing theirs home.
    As an Independent voter, I did not appreciate Joe Biden interrupting his opponents Ryan and because of Biden interrupting and laughing I was distracting.

    October 12, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. LR

    When people decide to vote for Romney/Ryan because Joe Biden was 'rude' in a debate, that makes for a scary bunch of voters. I would suggest doing a fact-check on what both candidates said, and actually educating themselves on the issues.

    October 12, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. Ann

    I felt Biden was rude and acted like a jerk by interrupting Ryan so much and not allowing him to speak his 2 minutes. It felt condescending each time Biden smirked or laugh. It was very off-putting. If this is how Obama's administrations run debates in his office, then no wonder why we can's achieve anything! He doesn't allow the other side to speak their opinion without interruption! I was glad Ryan was able to keep his composure because everytime Biden interrupted him, I wanted to smack him on the side of the head and tell him to "shut up."

    October 12, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  24. wayward marimo

    Of course CNN is trying to portray this as a draw, or even a Ryan win. They want the race to be as tight as possible, it means more $$$ because of higher ratings. Nobody cares about watching a blowout, which was what this race was shaping up to be before Romney "won" in Denver by aggressively lying about his policies and distorting Obama's accomplishments. Debates are not sporting events, this is the future of America we're talking about! The level of mainstream journalism in America is absolutely pathetic!

    October 12, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. Big_D

    I see the GOP is really concerned about stuffing the polls. Didn't feel like staying up late to fake results because it was a school night, at least it was for Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
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