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. sarah

    I am astounded to read the comments of morons, such as Larry and C ... Ryan & Romney are liars??? Are you kidding?
    Where have you been the last 4 years? This administration has lied to the American people about just about everything,
    including the nature of that horrific attack in Benghazi .. oh, and how about that unemplyment rate report? Right after Obama clearly loses the first debate, all of sudden, miraculously, unemployment dips below 8%! Are you people oblivious?

    October 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. d

    So let me get this straight. During the presidential debate, when Romney interrupted, refused to yield to the moderator, and was generally rude; that was considered "taking charge of the debate and being presidential". When VP Biden refused to allow Ryan to lie about the issues; the Republicans consider Biden to be rude and "embarassing" as Reince Priebus stated after the debate.
    Biden won hands down but ultimately it doesn't matter. Its about who wins on election day--so VOTE!
    The choice is simple. Do you trust Romney to protect your personal rights, to care about middle class America? Or do you trust Obama/Biden-men who were part of the middle class. I'm voting for President Obama.

    October 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. Tessa2U

    Interesting how last week when Romney interrupted and talked over the commentator, CNN said he acted "Presidential." This week, all the complaining about Joe being rude. I think Joe had his MoJo and Ryan continued his lying. WTG JOE!

    October 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. Emily Gillmeister

    The debate last night showed me a few things about our V.P's.
    1. Biden may be older than Ryan but he showed no discipline in his actions last night. I don't understand how people would vote for a guy who interrupts and LAUGHS at his opponent. This behavior was disrespectful and rude and is not what this country needs.
    2. Ryan was truly very contained and serious about the issues addressed. Although his statements were constantly interrupted and ignored by both Martha and Biden he persevered in his case.
    3. I also have to say that I believe in Romney and Ryan and wish these guys on the other side would stop expecting them to explain their plans. The fact is..... THEY DID, thousands of times over. Biden and Obama didn't listen. They acted like they ignored them even though both Romney and Ryan gave details about their plans and instances in past presidencies where their plans succeeded.

    October 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. Jack

    CNN get your numbers straight. Are you trying to compete with Fox News? Who bought you for this debate the Koch Brothers?

    October 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. JLM

    As I watched the display of arrogant, disrespectful behavior eminating from our Vice-President, I thought to myself, dear God don't let this man receive a position where he could be our President. I can't imagine.

    October 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. AC

    Ryan had a hard time answering when Biden was talking over him, mumbling or making childish actions.

    I think Biden decided to use the strategy Jon Stewart gave on his show following last week's presidential debate – just say liar, lie, liar over and over again. It doesn't matter if it is a lie or not, say it over and over again as soon as they start speaking. Nice to see the DNC getting their strategy from a comedian.

    October 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. David

    I have read over 500 of these posts and its amazing to see how un-objective most Americans have become. Politicians are actors. Its why Hollywood loves them so much. Biden was an arrogant, whinny child. When you dont have facts on your side, its common to just call the other guy a liar and try to distract attention away from yourself. Americans should be smart enough to recognize the acting job they saw last night. You may not like what Ryan said, but Biden is a giant boob that I would want representing me to a kindergarden teacher let alone the world.

    October 12, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. Dallas Jack

    Sorry, but Biden made Ryan look incompetent, especially on economics and foreign policy.
    It wasn't even close. as most polls are reflecting today.

    October 12, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. regan flint

    lol... CNN , asked only 381 people made up of more Republicans than DEMS. So go crazy. Yes, RYAN , won the debate?...lol... Now Republicans love the polls and there is no whining about CNN and / or poll bias.
    I don't know what some people want. First OBAMA , was too polite , quiet , tired but when BIDEN calls out RYAN about his parties lie's to the American people , BIDEN , is rude? You can't have it both ways. OBAMA , still leads the polls in many key States. It will be a close election.
    The party that gets the most people out to vote will win this election , PERIOD.

    October 12, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. jondoe

    Okay, its ridiculous that people would vote for one candidate because the other was deemed "rude". Wake up America and pay attention to the Substance of the debate instead of the theatrics of it. On the substance, Biden wiped the floor off Ryan, thus he won the debate. Ryan could not give specifics when even the moderator was asking for specifics. What loop holes are you going to close? How would you handle Iran differently? How would you handle Afghanistan differently? He never answered with any specifics.

    October 12, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. Herbie

    Biden followed the script that was drilled into him the last six days and presented fairly well. Biden was and is a very rude person that should probably be brought back to the nursing home to continue his meds. Larry states that Romney and Ryan are lying weasles...I guess Larry was was out of the room when Biden stated that the administration was not told of requests for more diplomatic security. He also blamed the intelligence community for not telling Obama and himself that it was not because of the protests but rather a full blown terrorist attack on the embassy. I'm sure they tried to blame Bush for this, but ended up blaming intelligence instead. Lies Larry? Keep drinking the Kool Aid!

    October 12, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. Zallen

    "JLJ
    "Ryan definitely won. Biden was rude, disrespectful, and pompous." Oh you mean like Romney in the presidential debate?
    Why do Republicans almost always remind me of the nasty and mean bully on the playground when you were a kid? And as soon as you push back and confront them at their own game they cry foul, kick, scream, whining and complaining.
    They have cornered the market on rudeness, look at the Tea Baggers!!! Its about time the Democrats grew a pair!!!

    October 12, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. maratechfan

    Biden was smug arrogant and disrespectful. I would like to add another trick the Democrats use. They do not debate the person in front of them. Clinton debated Reagan vs. 41. Biden seemed to debate Romney. He must have said Romney 7 times, but never mentioned Paul Ryan's name one in the 82 times he interrupted. Rude only begins to describe this behavior.

    October 12, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. Nerf

    I love how people are saying Ryan came off as being knowledgeable and smooth, too bad 90% of what he said was total b.s. Maybe CNN should do some actual reporting instead of this idiocy.

    October 12, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. beevee

    Honestly, Biden did better. Ryan was OK. The VP debate should get some boost to the Dems and it also exposed that Romney and Ryan are not on the same page on some issues.

    October 12, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. The Choice Is Now Clear

    When you have a Rhomboid figure who would regress America and an Obama who Cares, the choice is lucidly clear. OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!

    October 12, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. Sajnav

    I am not on anybody's side but I think a lot of people looked at gestures during the debate more than listened to what the debaters said. It is easy to feel sorry for Ryan because he looked nervous while Biden looked very casual during the entire debate. The debate actually looked like two men with a wide generation gap discussing politics in a bar rather than a formal debate for a national election. But listening to it, Biden was able to present more specifics and showed more knowledge on most issues. I thought Ryan was not able to give specific answers and relied on anecdotes with emotional appeal, and only gave what sounded to me like "scripted" answers.

    October 12, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Me

    As an independent and someone who voted for Obama in the last election, it is time for him to go. Unemployment stats are horrible and understated due to those who have been out of work for so long they dont qualify for unemployment anymore. I have friends and family that have been out of work for years and its not getting better. Small businesses cant hire people and are afraid to because they still have to pay unemployment for those they have to lay off. Every single person I know has friends and family out of work. You shouldnt even have to watch these debates to know whats happening around you. Open your eyes. We cant let Govt keep bailing out companies and taking control of things they shouldnt have their hands on like health care. Its just a step closer to socialism/communism.

    October 12, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. VK

    VP Biden lied multiple times, but no one at CNN points it out. Regarding Libya embassy security, VP Biden said, they never received any requests for security increase, which is a lie. During congressional hearing, it was clear that the request was made multiple times by Mr. Eric Nordstrom. Secondly, VP Biden said that the security reduction was due to budget cuts which was authorized by Congress (voted by Congressman Ryan). Again, during the congressional heading Ms. Lamb and Amb. Kennedy categorically mentioned that the Security decisions were not due to the budget.

    October 12, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. ohio

    interesting thought that so many are focusing on whether they think biden was rude or not.
    wait till ryan and romney privatize social security. wait till they destroy medicare, and think they
    will fund a recovery with tax breaks–which does not work! wait till they take away rights of women.
    and then you tell me who is rude. this goes far beyond whether or not you liked the way biden
    could not help but smile and laugh. Ryan also displayed that he knows very little about foriegn policy and
    with mitt behind him–well-we saw how mitt did this summer. Do you really want that? I don't.
    Romeny gave so much fiction during his first debate that he spent the next retracting things he'd said.
    we are going to decide november if we are a backward nation or one the believes in the future.
    it's not hard to tell the difference.

    October 12, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  22. Jo

    We all saw how Biden was so disrecpectful and kept interrupting while Ryan was a gentleman and kept his cool.

    October 12, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  23. Draeggo

    If you see one party as the problem then YOU are the problem. Time to dump dems and gops and put America first. Won' t happen because of too many trained sheep to follow the party line instead of thinking for themselves.

    October 12, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  24. Vanessa

    This poll is a lie, Biden won....I'm starting to question CNN's credibility. I expected this from Fox and MSNBC but CNN.

    If we can all agree to a certain extend that the President did not do a great job in the debate last week, why can't we admit that V.P. Biden won last night debate.

    Question, who is polluting the poll or is CNN being unethical. I won't be looking at any of these network. They are all liars just like the nominees, who all claim to be religious but lie everyday to simple people who are not educated and don't know the facts and turn to the media for clarity.

    October 12, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  25. Mace

    Now you tell us!

    CNN's poll is all over the internet and cable saying Ryan won. The next day you tell us your numbers are a lot of hooey and your poll is weighted toward Ryan. Will this be all over the internet and cable? What else is CNN lying about?

    Another reason not to watch CNN.

    October 12, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
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