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. Judy

    Although appearing discourteous at times, Biden was clearly prepared with the facts and with a heartfelt defense of his position and of the American Middle Class. He was ready to give Romneyites and Ryan what they deserved for pandering to the masses at this late stage of the race. Personally, though I believe we should all be 'ladies and gentleman' whenever possible, sometimes you need to lay it all on the line and speak bluntly to reveal the truth.

    October 12, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. Dingle

    48-44 Ryan won, all he really had to do was hold serve. More importantly, the character assassination that the Obama campaign has been waging portraying Ryan as a right wing radical no longer holds any water. 40 million people watched a calm, cool, collected and rational candidate contrast a loud mouth, disrespectful blow-hard.

    October 12, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. RobS

    CNN should be ashamed. Now we can never trust any of CNN polls.
    It is so sad to see a once great network so embarrass themselves by bending over backwards to praise their overlord.
    The reason why CNN has lost its credibility is that they have stacked CNN to the roof with Republican pundits and managers.

    October 12, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. iowafalcon

    I wanted to understand how Ryan would work with Romney, and vet out the differences between what Ryan has stood for over the last several years, and what Romney has said in the last debate. I would have like the chance to actually hear what Ryan was going to say. Instead, I got a chance to see my Vice President acting like a drunk buffoon at a tavern. This debate cost Biden any respect I had for him. He did keep Ryan from getting his message out, but at a huge cost.

    For those that have been asking what the difference between Biden and Romney's performance is, it has to do with showing simple respect for the office. Romney did not stop the President from actually speaking, and was at all times congenial. Biden literally interrupted Ryan constantly, making it impossible for the watcher to understand any message. Biden showed utter disrespect for his office, the people trying to understand the candidates, the debate itself, and wasted all of our time.

    October 12, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. cnnmembuh

    Biden's practiced, inappropriate laughter in the middle of Ryan's comments, along with his constant interruptions, were obviously calculated attempts to frustrate, irritate and impede Ryan from making his points. Ryan weathered all that pretty well, and Biden ended up appearing like an underhanded, high school-ish debater.

    October 12, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Chris

    Someone needs to teach Biden how to be more Presidential. He degrades the VP position by trying to act like the common man. If you the Vice President of this country you are not the common man, don't sit on stage trying to laugh off the criticism. These are serious issues that need to be handled in a professional manner. President Obama has to regret appointing Buddy Joe Biden, who wouldn't.

    October 12, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Josh

    Paul Ryan did look like the calmer candidate or the most "Presidential" candidate. However, he looked as if he will be a President that will not be straight forward with facts, and he looked timid when questioned directly about his ticket's potiential policies.

    October 12, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. Bren

    I find it amazing that so many focus on the style of the candidates. Their positions are what matter most and there Biden is the clear winner.

    October 12, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  9. Debbie

    I might have to start watching Msnbc full time after this bologna from CNN. Biden won hands down, and the reason he laughed was because of Lying Ryan stats and non answers.

    Debbie

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

    Obama better mention the 800 plus Vetoes than Romney used as Governor of Massachusetts in his one term as Govenor in his next debate, so much for Bipartisanship. To me this just shows a great divider, and someone who can't agree or work positively with his State Representatives. The Mass State Gov overrode most of thse Vetoes.

    He is running on his past record so Obama better exploit that.

    Romney also destroyed or hid most computer data from his time as Governor there too. Too much secrecy, it just shows he's hiding something same case with his taxes which he hasn't release for 10 yrs despite this being standard procedure for Presidential candidates.

    Great job joe!!!

    October 12, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. Meme

    Amy sit down some where Biden is the one i want standing up for me !!! I like that Biden called him out rolling the eyes meant he was lying!!! lol yall people are killing me!! when Romney did it to the president it was he did a great job!!! I guess you have to be a GOP NOT!!! LOL

    October 12, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. hhh

    Biden won and Ryan lost. Georgetown grad student viw of the debate.

    October 12, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  13. Sabrina

    CNN must have polled all conservatives!!! I don't know anyone who thinks Ryan won that debate! Bullying is OK when it's the conservatives who doing the Bullying. I'm glad to see some "fight" in a Democrate and I hope President Obama does the same next week!

    October 12, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  14. Jan

    It is very sad that the VP would laugh during the debate on the subject of Libya. How rude. He put the blame on others that the info was not past on to his office. He is good at blaming others. He will not get my vote.

    October 12, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. WilSmith24

    Biden won and he was not rude at all, cutting off a lair form lying over and over is not rude, Ryan was insulting people as if they are dumb or stupid to the facts. What the Republican are trying to is screw this country again. They again never give detail to their TAX CUTS.....If you can't talk about your tax cut it leaves all to believe you are going to make the middle class pay. It is much clearer now what their plan is. Thanks Biden for showing us what the Republican real plan is.

    October 12, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. shawntee

    Paul Ryan is like a kid coming out from a candy store. He was so thirstty- bathroom problem? Biden was very easy going, kicked Ryans butt on Afghanistan becuase Biden cares for our soldeiers whio are being killed day in and day out. Yes, we need to bring the troops home- Romney and Ryan- more killings for our younr soldiers? Send you own familieis to war and know how it feels to be there. My father was killed in the war- fgghting for the country he loved.

    Go Obama/Biden! Pres Obama it is your turn to be aggressive, strong and not be polite! Kick their butt- you know you can do it- Romney will lie, lie, lie again.

    October 12, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. hhh

    Buden won and Ryan lost. Greatn debate.

    October 12, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. Keane

    Joe Biden was quite good. When Ryan criticized the stimulus program, Biden reminded Ryan that he himself had asked for stimulus money for projects in Wisconsin. When Ryan criticized the Middle East security situation, Biden reminded Ryan that he and other GOP Congressmen voted to cut $330 Million from the budget for embassy security. When Ryan criticized the Administration's foreign policy decisions in regards to Iran, Biden beat Ryan down to where Ryan had to admit he wouldn't send troops at this juncture either.

    October 12, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. Sam Bass

    Ryan won, he was trying to communicate a plan... Biden demonstrated what Obama's presidency has shown us, Foolishness.....

    October 12, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  20. Kenwood17

    Last night Americans witnessed exactly what has been going on in congress for the last 6 years. Dems claim Repubs obstruct. Who obstructed whom in this debate and who thought serious issued were issues to be laughed at? Every American who watched is a witness. I think Ryan missed out on was asking Biden – "You are laughing at very serious issues, do you think Americas problems are funny?"

    October 12, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Anonymous

    So wait a minute...Biden lost because he was rude? But when romney was rude and running over the speaker that was great. Double standard republicans with all of their lies will NOT win this election. How do you win a debate with opinions and NOT facts? ryan said the stimulus packages for the states was a terrible idea...but he forgot he asked The President for stimulus money for his state twice....ryan and romney sound like twins, they run from the questions and they never got into specifics on how they will fix things. romney is a joke and ryan is a bigger joke. Your rich friends are about to be taxed equally like everyone else in this country. Obama 2012!

    October 12, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. Drano

    "Ryan brought up new ideas"

    ....and what would that be....2+2= whatever I need it to equal?

    October 12, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  23. Qman

    I completely agree with the results. Though Biden surely did 'bring it' in this debate, Ryan definitely defeated him in professionalism – and facts. I personally agree with a lot of the comments as well that Ryan feel's more like presidential meterial.

    October 12, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  24. rrr

    Biden won and Ryan lost. Great debate.

    October 12, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. MECHgrunt32

    Rude and disrespectful??!! Wow, what do you do when you hear someone else's BS? He laughed and called him out. Thats all. You wanna base this debate how how the candidates appeared? Fine. All that means is that you could not understand what was being said. Romney and Ryan have changed up the sales pitch and I am not buying that. Also the idea that Obama was "bad" in his debate is laughable. HAHAHAH. Obama was respectful and calm....and he was hammered for it. You people are....unfair. It was a good debate and O'biden did better.

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