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. mike

    Joking Joe is a Joke! This man is one heartbeat from being president, scary!
    He must ofbeen hooped up on no doze. The only VP who ever fell a sleep during the presidents speech.
    I can see why the dems are up. He stayed awake

    October 12, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. Will

    CNN (aka "Fox Light") oversampled Rethuglicans. No one with enough brains to track a bleeding elephant in snow could watch that debate and think that Ryan won. No matter where one is at on the political spectrum–left, right, or anywhere in between–there's simply no doubt that Biden won handily. It was a bona fide, unequivocal knockout.

    As for Richard1725's comment about Biden being arrogant from a life in politics, he might look into Ryan's background a little more. He's never had a private sector job since he was in college.

    October 12, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. WhereIsMassMittens

    I could care less about Biden smiling or laughing. He had substance, Ryan did not. Biden won hands down. Ryan didn't say anything compelling and he was outright nailed on the stimulus criticism. This poll is identified as being based on an overly Republucan sample. No other poll has this debate outcome coming out even close.

    October 12, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. Marquis

    You've got to be kidding me. When Romney acted worse than Biden in the presidential debate, and lied more, faster, you all claimed he won the debate due to boldness and that Obama was "thinking too much." Ryan "thinks too much" and sticks to his (dubious) facts, and suddenly HE wins because he's being "bullied by Biden." Really? Why not just come out and say it? The R/R camp is playing a game called "I win," and at least half of you are willing to let them. You're like the teacher who won't give a student an "A" despite getting all of the answers correct.

    October 12, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. Sheryl of Salem

    I don't know how Biden kept himself from punching the fresh little lying punk in the nose. Biden wons HANDS DOWN and this poll is garbage.

    October 12, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. Jessica

    Did I just see someone comment about how Biden threw a fit and wouldnt let Ryan answer? Really? Because I could have sworn Mitt Romney did that same crap when Obama would try to speak. Republicans are just a one way street.

    October 12, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. Fancher

    OMG! Really CNN, 1/3 of the debate watchers was Republican, 1/3 Democrat, 1/3 Independent according to this article and you blame the results on the poll as there were more Republican's watching. Careful, you are letting you true colors show and headed toward the path of Fox News, meaning you are completely one sided.

    October 12, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. Jason D

    Why is it the republicans didnt think romney lying was a bad thing, that ryan continuing to lie was a bad thing and that fact they are lying to them right now.....its simple to make biden shut up, release romneys tax records...hell romney asked ryan for 10 years worth but he wont show america more then one.

    Ryan signed a tax pledge so he works for grover norquist not america...

    Tell us the loopholes, tell us your healthcare plans iof they dont involve robbing every one in the middle class, tell us about your stance on syria if obamas actions are so wrong why tdo you say your do exactly the same thing.

    How will you keep americas allies close while you let them blow in the wind, declare two trade wars and invade yet another country

    October 12, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. Scott M.

    Way to go JOE. Nice to see you're goofy grin. Did you think you were selling toothpaste or tooth whitening? Not only was this the most UN-Presidential behavior. It appears that JOE has lost his grip. I simply can't come to grips with the fact that this person is second in command. Was he auditioning for SNL. I'd like to see him have a long career in working for Colgate or Crest.... Soon. Please God. Martha did a very respectable job. Martha was more evenhanded than I anticipated. ( Chalk one up for Martha ) I was a little amused when Biden referred to Martha as a Foreign Affairs "expert"... who knew. Well Mitt and Barry will have an entertaining slugg fest next week. I'll enjoy watching Barry craft a "story" about the Libyan Terrorist Attack. Maybe it was only a bad day at the office....

    October 12, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. JJ

    Not sure which debate your polling viewers were watching. The word on the web and from what I saw, Biden owned the night. Ryan seemed nervous, anxious and exhausted by the end of it. Biden provided details, while Ryan provided ideas.

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

    I love the spin CNN puts on the the polls. "One Third of poll takers were Republican, while 31% were democrats and 34% as independent. That indicates that the majority of viewers were Rupublican and thats why people viewed Ryan as the winner". Are you kidding me, last I checked one third was 33%. 33%, 34%, 31% seems like pretty equal viewer ship.

    October 12, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. cross1581

    Kind of burried the lead don't you think: 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. Who else should we really be caring about?

    October 12, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. jan falk, LCSW

    so let me get this straight-the CNN poll is "scientific" because it represents just the number of people who responded online? Joe won, hands down, for sane people. Called him on the "Malarky".

    October 12, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. A Clear Winner

    Last night's debate showed a vast contrast between a sitting President who wants to truly work with and help the Middle Class, the elderly, the poor, minorities, women, and all others while the straight-faced bump on the log personality of Ryan showed that They Still Very Much Favor the Rich in this country and would throw the rest of us under the bus! What a difference a night makes to get to know who would truly Help You and Me! Clearly, Joe Biden won the debate hands down! OBAMA/BIDEN 2012, Unequivocally!!

    October 12, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. Joyce

    CNN – look at your own public poll. That should be the headline. Biden wiped the floor with Ryan and that is reflected on a much wider poll. You are becoming pathetic with your reporting and headline.

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

    I can excuse President Obama's hogging of time in the last debate. That wasn't intentional as far as I can see. But when you interrupt your opponent repeatedly and then go on 30 second rants to back up your interruption, that's just not giving a damn about the rules or common courtesy. I know Biden's handlers wanted him to look like a pit bull, but he just came across as rude and inconsiderate. I came to listen to a debate, not Ryan, Biden, Ryan, Biden, Biden, Biden, Ryan...

    October 12, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. Wade

    Wow, when a CNN poll comes down the side of a Republican, you know if was a trounce!

    October 12, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. Guesteppi

    I have to wonder if I was watching a different debate. The one I was watching showed Joe embarrassing a little boy who has been caught telling lies.

    October 12, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Sample size 381N Wow CNN. I care not for the outcome the poll suggest as I care for statistically meaningful reporting. Grade D-, your chart may be correct for sample size, your method fails miserably.

    October 12, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. Elvis

    Is Joe Biden mentally stable?

    October 12, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. Mac

    Biden DESTROYED him. End of story.

    October 12, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. Chmee

    Biden whooped his butt.

    October 12, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. RustyHinges8

    It was quoted that “tens of millions” of people watched the Biden-Ryan debate. So….how did CNNORC International poll these “tens of millions” of viewers, or even half of them……or maybe……a few hundred, to find a debate winner? The easiest way would be to purchase a Republican registered voter list.

    October 12, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. Jack

    "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."

    What math system is CNN using to get these numbers?

    October 12, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. Kala

    Biden embarrased himself with his buffoonery. Who wants him one heartbeat away from the Presidency. His behavior was incivil, obnoxious and rude. He looked like a snarling hyena. I can't remember what he said because I was so annoyed with his antics.

    October 12, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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