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. Gabrielle

    I live in Las Vegas NV I know the jobs are not where they should be but we are recovering. Obama is doing his job. It takes more than 4yrs to recover from the mess he was put in in the first place.

    October 12, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. Anonymous

    It's hilarious that when Romney interrupts, laughs and smirks, Republicans think it shows he's a strong leader. When Biden does it, they think it's rude and arrogant.

    October 12, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Ron

    The VP won. He had more facts than Ryan. My vote for Obama/Biden hands down.

    October 12, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. jayh

    You can't win if you lie like the right wing.

    October 12, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  5. Jonathan2012

    Now Joe can go back to his job for past 4 years.... trying to find his office. It is well known in Congress that there is no love affair greater in DC than Joe Biden and the sound of his own voice. God forbid anything happens to Obama before he leaves office next year... the thought of Joe Biden as President would confirm the Mayan prophecy for everyone.

    October 12, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. Stan

    Ironhawk7 YOUR candidate MITT ROMNEY and RYAN have ALWAYS been RUDE to the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES President Obama. NO Matter WHO is the president you should NOT be rude, but they are rude and disrespectful to him, so how DARE you come with that. I am a republican and even I know Mitt and Ryan are both comical characters and I pray they lose, WHY? Because they are LIARS and is REDDY and Andrew, y'all are asses and stupid.

    October 12, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. Gr8fulMed

    As a loyal CNN viewer, I am embarrassed by them touting this poll. A tiny sample of less than 400 voters with 33% Republicans, 31% Democrats? That's so far off the actual percentage of registered voters as to obviously bias its results. A BIG disclaimer is necessary. Where's the responsibility to present reliable data??

    October 12, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. Maribel

    Biden all the way. the only arrogance I saw was on that mug of ryans

    October 12, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  9. JOE BIDEN IS AN IDIOT

    he is rude, condescending and a joke.

    October 12, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. Big Bird supporter

    I figure this...Ryan went to his glass like a baby looks for his woobie..take your sippy glass off the adult table and take your little bean story home and get your shine box...

    October 12, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. Wanda Stansbury

    CNN you are so off base. Clearly the Republicans have figured out how to stack the deck in your poll. I've switched to MSNBC- Goodbye.

    October 12, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. Ruth

    By CNN's own admission, this was a pole of only 300 people and also by CNN's own admission, there were more republicans than democrate. What the H- kind of pole is that? I've lost a lot of respect for CNN tonight.

    October 12, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. Richard

    In Canada, CBC news had Biden winning by 80% – to Ryan 10% with 10 % undecided. Which debate did you american watch?

    October 12, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. Paul

    Yeah right Ironhawk7, everyone knows the Republicans are always respectful to everyone. Unless they're part of the "47%"

    October 12, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  15. shill

    Look at all the shills populating the boards. Staunch independent here – VP Biden was awesome.

    October 12, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  16. Regina

    Biden was the clear winner, I don't know what debate the people polled watched. As far as I'm concerned Romney comment about the so called 47% of Americans says it all. He is not concerned about the middle class.

    October 12, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  17. Jason

    Biden came across as out of touch and arrogant. I couldn't focus on what either candidate was saying because of the rude behavior exhibited by Joe Biden. I am seriously reconsidering who I was going to vote for.

    October 12, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. Ron

    Bottom line....the Obama administration may have inherited a bad economy....but have done absolutely nothing to stop the bleeding. As the numbers show...the Obama administration has actually widened the wounds and poured salt into them. Also...do we really want to re-elect a president that flat out tried to deceive the american people that Benghazi attacked was the result of some Youtube video after US Intelligence labeled the attack as an act of terror. I think Americans derserve to know the truth and deserve better. Also...I would more able to accept the huge deficit this country is in if I felt secure in our military and not concerned how the Obama administration has handled foreign policy. Hey Biden...this country has some serious issues and I don't think it's a laughing matter. You apparently do!

    October 12, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  19. Mack

    CNN lost all remaining credibilty with this poll. Who did you poll, Faux News? lol

    October 12, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. B. F.

    I can never believe any figures that debate opponents spew out, because invaribly they are going to make those figures come out to their advantage. I think the debate last night were nothing more than bantering back and forth with no real substance; which is typical of presidential (and vice-presidential) debates. But most of the bantering came from Biden. He was rude and obnoxious and showed lack of professionalism. I really don't think the VP debate changed anybody's mind on who they are going to vote for, except for maybe a few who were on the fence.

    October 12, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. llw

    Biden won and Ryan lost. Debate great for the sitting VP.

    October 12, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WON

    Joe Biden is not a classy man, he is rude and ugly,

    October 12, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. Commonsense58

    Biden demonstrated before a national television audience what is wrong with our country. It is okay to disagree with the opposition, it is downright shameful to laugh, interrupt and chide a fellow American while they are relating their viewpoint for the American voter. If Biden is so comfortable belittling the opposition on national television we now are painfully aware at how the opposition has been treated behind closed doors. Biden ought to resign and offer up an apology to the American people and to Paul Ryan for his disrespectful demeanor last night. We the American people deservbe more than what we were shown last night. Biden still works for the American people republicans and democrats, I for one will fire him come November.

    October 12, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. Odumbo

    Hey Biden, Laughing is not an argument. For that itself you LOOSE!

    October 12, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. Mary

    Of course the GOP will say that Ryan won. Heaven forbid they ever say anything negative about their own.

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