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. Rhomboid Would Hurt Middle Class

    A rhomboid is a geometric figure with unequal sides and no right angles. That perfectly explains the often Romney flip-flopping positions and would fit him just like a smooth pair of 'mittens', pun intended of course! Joe Biden clearly spelled out the BEST Plan for America that will help the Middle Class, the elderly, the poor, minorities, women, and all others who are not independently wealthy! OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!

    October 12, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. linda

    Biden no manners – no class – so disrespectful – Ryan won – has manners, class and respect. That is all that needs to be said. It is not about who won or who didn't – It should have been a gentlemens debate – Biden needs to go back to class school N one wins anything with showing respect!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. DarthWoo

    Gotta love the double standard. Obama was too polite! Biden was too aggressive! Of course, we all know who won when it came to telling fewer outright lies.

    October 12, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. moving1

    Imaging If Obama made those faces during his debate,the media would still on his debate. substance matter. Mitt looked at Obama like he was a run-away slave.

    October 12, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. alreadyvoted

    Joe Biden was walking his dog when he suddenly had a heart attack. He collapsed. People walking and running by continued on their way without stopping to help. When Joe met the Good Lord he said, "Lord, why did you not send someone to save me? I was the Vice President of the United States. I had many important things to accomplish". The Good Lord said, "My dear Joe, I believe in helping people, but I refuse to impose my views on others."

    October 12, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. jamei25

    what exactly is an "international nationwide" poll??

    October 12, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. NBattaglia

    Biden was pretty aggressive, but there was plenty to be pretty aggressive about. Debates are just theatrical events. Only pertinent to "undecideds" or those who are persuadable to switch their vote (I'll call those folks "undecideds", too.) Polling all viewers generally produces no important data.

    October 12, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Ironhawk7 YOUR CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY was RUDE to PRESIDENT Obama. He and Ryan have ALWAYS been rude and disrespectful to them so know what to say before you say anything. Same thing to Andrew

    October 12, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Deedee

    anyone who says Biden won, is just plain wrong and they know it. Ryan was more vice-presidential, and behaved like you would want from a VP. Biden was wrong on several points, and behaved like an obnoxious old man. I looked at several sites online, and watched various news channels, and they are all saying the same thing.

    October 12, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. Sarah

    I want to know what CNN was drinking and smoking last night, because Ryan was a mess–and EVERYONE ELSE who watched the debate agrees! VP Joe Biden WON!

    Give honor where honor is due!

    October 12, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. DinIndiana

    No soldier should vote for Romney, he is itching to get us into another war. Willard's repub buddies in congress have spat on our veterans by not voting for jobs and benefits for them. And you want to vote Romney because you don't like Joe's MANNERS? Ridiculous. Joe is a transparent guy, if he thinks something is bullcrap he's gonna tell you. Refreshing in politics.

    October 12, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. Jazzy

    Hmmm....why CNN is the only poll show that Ryan won??
    Got to be wrong CNN

    October 12, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. mikescouch

    Oh Please CNN! Ryan got served. If that was a "group" job interview Ryan would of failed miserably due to the fact he never lacked answers to most questions. If anything this debate showed me how both men react when they have no answer or wish not to comment. I saw Biden do it a few times (Syria), but Ryan wow! He repeats key words like a 5th grader writing a composition for class. If he mentioned the word "successful" one more time in the same sentence. Although Biden was rough, that was EXACTLY what we were expecting and got. Go Biden.. I want that guy in my corner!

    October 12, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. J9abacab

    Biden clearly won. You need to check all the other news source polls.
    Biden called Ryan on all his hypocrisy and lies.... especially Ryan's stance on the stimulus. Well done, Biden!

    October 12, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. BJ

    Isn't it funny that when the they are saying it was rude and mean when Biden interupted Ryan, but when Romney did that to Obama, they said Romney was better because he was more forceful. Sounds like double standard to me.

    October 12, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. bep

    It is hard to believe that any American would believe that such arrogant and dismissive behavior won a debate. What happened to common decency – I had always liked Biden until last night – He was an embarrassment to our country by displaying such behavior – I will not even go into the Lybia lies -

    October 12, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. Newtonslaw

    I guess I was watching a differant debate? I did not hear 1 specific from Ryan? Just like Romney in the first debate, all rhetoric. When you challenge the current plans you need to explain details of how your plan differs. No details yet, more rhetoric? I'd rather have a laughing Biden then a smirky Lyin Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. Josh

    I still don't know what the Romney/Ryan ticket will do about Syria. I just know that the President has a plan about what he wants to do with our troops and that is to bring them home no later than 2014. Biden won this debate by far.

    October 12, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. Bob

    Listened to analysis after debate and was apalled that the older lady kept calling the Vice President a "buffoon"! In who's world could this be considered anything but biased analogy. I also thought CNN had more integrity than to allow this!

    October 12, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  20. Jason D

    They said Biden was rude and disrespectful...well if he hadnt been ryan would have spent theentire time lying about what they were going to do...fact ius ryan still wont name a single loophole they will close and to pay for $5T in tax reductions you have to remove the mortgage interest rate rebate....otherwise its impossible..he knows it but wont say it because every home owner in america would vote for obama.

    Ryan wouldnt say what theyd do about syria but thinks by threatening russia will make them become our friends, by threatening china will make them friendly...so whose was the last person to become friends with someone who threatens them?.

    Ryan says how obama has failed....failed to what fix the republican made plague?...remember these people want to take us back to 2008 and then say that things will be different...but they drove us off a cliff and then said it was the dems fault....if you add up the money bush spent on two wars and the tax breaks then obama had a debt of more then $14T the minute he came in....if someone leaves you $2T debt without mentioning it whose debt is it, yours or theres?

    October 12, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  21. Dan

    The headline does not match the poll or the story. The headline reads: "Debate watchers split on who won VP debate".
    The polls says Ryan won.

    October 12, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. Sacchi

    Why don't you show my post written at 10/47 am?

    October 12, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. utahbronco

    With all the complaining I am seeing here I am now even more convinced that Joe Biden owned Paul Ryan in the VP debate. It wasn't even close!

    October 12, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. usa

    biden was a hack. is a hack. and always will be a hack, i bet he plagiarized the whole debate last night.

    October 12, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. Kevin

    When a wise person debates with a fool, the fool rages and laughs, and there is no peace and quiet. Proverbs 29:9 Pretty much sums up last night.

    October 12, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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