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. lefty avenger

    All Paul Ryan can do is lie and talk false numbers. He has no numbers other than to Terminate Social Security and Medicare and cut taxes for Top 1% Billionaire Wall Street Bankers. That's the plan, sound good to you? Women do you want Pro-Choice to end in all 50 states so these Christian Extremist wackos can control you like cattle? Come on...........

    October 12, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. hk

    Some people decided to vote based on what you saw on TV debate? Wow.

    October 12, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. memphis

    It's so in appropriate poll by CNN 48% vs 44%. I think it manipulated by Erin Burnett!!

    October 12, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Chmee

    Biden whooped his bootie.

    October 12, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. kenny

    ryan won... hands down...
    Sen. Biden voted for the Afghanistan resolution on Sept. 14, 2001 which authorized “the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”

    And on Oct. 11, 2002, Biden voted for a resolution authorizing unilateral military action in Iraq, according to the Washington Post

    And last night, Biden claimed he did not vote for either. What does he think we are? Stupid?

    October 12, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Wayne

    We keep hearing "Joe is Joe" and the Democrats expect that is acceptable. We met Joe last night and all I can say is I don't like him.

    October 12, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Alex

    Wow, CNN has absolutely no journalistic integrity if they're actually trying to paint this as a draw or a win for Ryan. Joe Biden cleaned the floor with Ryan, called him out on every lie he told and clearly won the evening. Anyone who is deluded enough to think otherwise needs a serious reality check.

    October 12, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. Lou

    Flawed poll results. Either too early a sample or, more likely, Republican operatives flooding the poll surveys to skew results and create misleading outcomes in their favor.

    October 12, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Jake

    Biden came off poorly. He refused to answer specifics on major issues and instead ran to the "trust us" phrase. Ryan was more impressive and definitely more grown up. If my 7-year-old acted like Biden did last night he would be grounded for a month. The only people who will think Biden won are the hard left who live in a world of hate for anyone who doesn't think as they do.

    October 12, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. Chmee

    Biden whooped his behind.

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

    Biden won that debate, I don't know who are the ppl voting in that poll, cause clearly I wasn't in that pool of voters, cause there is NO way that Ryan won that debate.

    October 12, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. DaveinPA

    This poll is MALARKEY! Biden won overwhelmingly! God forbid, who would you rather have second in line? A young smart-alec know-it-all, or a seasoned, reasonable professional??? Hmmm?

    October 12, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  13. HG

    I care less about who won with the US election as I am an aussie but if you , American, do not want to get traps from being rich economy country to poor one, please consider to have your vote change: Republican. We know already Democrat is like Labor party in australia, who bring deficit to the economy. I am not convinced one moment than without the exchange of the party, niether america nor australia will bring the economy back on tracks.

    October 12, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. Alex

    Biden won, hands down.

    October 12, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. Terell

    I am hearing many Republicans complain about how VP Biden was interrupting Paul Ryan. Mitt Romney interrupted President Obama plenty of times during their debate, did he not??? He interrupted Obama through out the whole debate and it was rude, but Obama chose not to handle him the same way. Also, people are saying that Biden was being aggressive, so was Mitt Romney people. People are saying that VP Biden was laughing and etc., Mitt Romney had smirks on his face through out the whole entire debate with Pres Obama. I don't understand how the Republican Party can complain about things that they do themselves. Republicans feels as though it's okay for them be aggressive and interrupt when it's necessary & convient for them, but if a member of the Democratic Party does it, they want to cry wolf.

    October 12, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. Gary

    Gotta love all these folks saying that Biden was so rude after cheering Romney last week bullying the moderator and ignoring the rules set out for the debate. These guys on the right just can't stand that someone isn't letting them tell their lies and distortions without calling them on it.

    October 12, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. Richard A.

    If the CNN poll shows an R winning you can be sure of one thing.............in reality it was an R rout!!!

    October 12, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. Our Tiny Earth

    I find it odd that Republicans are attacking Biden for acting in a way that was very similar to the way Romney acted. From what I saw, there were a lot of lies told, from both sides, but the Romney Ryan camp has been completely dishonest and has taken both sides on every issue from the very start. Look at the Abortion issue. Romney was a pro-choice moderate in the morning, but when it came time to debate, Ryan painted him as staunchly pro-life. Winning a debate is about being honest. If you check the fact checkers, like Politifact, you'll see that the Romney/Ryan camp have no interest in honesty.

    October 12, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. Claire

    If you think that Biden won, you must have had the debate on mute! Bidden was so RUDE ! I am embarassed to know that this man (more like a rude teenager) is actually our VP!!!

    October 12, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. Jason

    All the right wingers complaining saying Biden was Rude. Hello, just last week that exactly what Romney did, Rude, over talk the president and the moderator and He was glorified as the Winner. So its ok Romney can act like that but not Biden. Whatever!!

    October 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Arch

    not close, ryan got dusted. you can't lie your way to the presidency mr ryan. while a lot of the tea bag types are intentionally ignorant of all things, it will not be enough to win the election. unfortunately, it will be four more years of old dead-ender white people blaming black people, brown people, jews, gays liberals, moderates, basically anyone and everyone. more proof that we need sanity. we need obama/biden.

    October 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. amy077

    what a B.S. Biden clearly won the debate! Ryan had no chance at all.

    October 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  23. Steve

    As someone who was trying to watch this with an open mind, I came out appalled. Very disappointed with how disrespectful VP Biden came across. I was embarrassed as an American. I also thought the moderator, who I come to find out has close relationships with the President allowed this to go on, which says something about CNN as a news organization. The only positive I saw with Biden was that he showed up for the dance, yet came across so condescending. As a young American this solidified how I was starting to lean, which is towards Romney. It is hard for me to vote for the President when I feel like the country is even more divided and the 'hope' is gone.

    October 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. Anonymous

    It was a tie – Biden gave specifics (as the VP he should have his numbers right!) and Ryan didn't screw up...he held his own. But OVERALL Biden was far more knowledgable, and he had information that I don't think Ryan had available to him. Ryan looks and talk like Donald Duck LOL!

    I vote for Biden as Pres, not Obama, and Hillary as VP. Romney and Ryan need more experience first.

    October 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. T

    Thank you, CNN, for timely coverage. However, if this was a poll of Floridians or Ohions or Coloradans showing Pres. Obama ahead 48% to 44%, would CNN claim that was a "draw"? Truth to tell, a statistically significant plurality believe Paul Ryan won the debate. CNN should headline that perceived victory accordingly.

    October 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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