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. Collins

    It's ryan all teh way...he was well mannered, prepared and articulate unlike biden who was rude, disrespectful n giggling

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  2. Hoosier

    Time to find another news source......good bye CNN!!!!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  3. Vinnie

    Come February, one of these two will have a new contract with Poli-Grip, and it won't be Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  4. AgentProvoca

    All of the news outlets are reporting the results of the vice presidential debate as follows:
    ● 48% say Paul Ryan won
    ● 44% say Joe Biden won
    ● 8% say they're unsure who won the debate, but they are sure that Joe Biden is a weasel

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  5. Kansas

    I am done with CNN. Becoming the new Fox News. This goes against everything being said on other sources. I will never watch another debate on CNN and will get my news elsewhere.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  6. Ellisa

    There is no way in the world that CNNs poll was accurate. It was clear that Biden won the debate. Who are these people you're polling?!

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  7. JTH

    I don't believe these results for a minute. C'mon, CNN. Did 48 percent of your 381 registered voters sleep through the debate?

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  8. pM

    These people here who claim Biden "wiped the floor with Ryan" are those same people who think Obama won last week's debate.

    Another thing I want to point out is the double-standard that many liberals have. Many liberals said that Romney was rough with Obama and that that was wrong. You can't possibly believe that Romney was rougher than Biden!. Yet I don't hear any liberal complaining about roughness. Usually, liberals complain only when their guy is beaten but when they employ the same tactics they don't complain.

    I think Biden won but not by much. I don't think tonight's debate is going to stop Romney's momentum at all. What will stop his momentum is an Obama win next week. I think that the CNN commentator who said that Biden's performance "righted the ship" is overstating the effect of Biden's win tonight. I think it's more accurate to say that his win plugged the holes in a damaged ship. If Obama wins next week, then I think you can say the ship is righted.

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  9. Eric

    Biden was a buffoon....so obvious Ryan won this, not even close

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  10. Jan

    Biden! He won hands down and there was great humor in the process. Biden was Biden. Ryan resorted to old canned talking points when the going got tough and he didn't want or couldn't answer the questions!

    October 11, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    all this concern about a debate that joe won , loss who cares. round 2 and 3 coming up with the big boys is what counts. Romney should have a TKO but a KO is good enough. Hard to come back from that type of beating.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  12. jhemphill83

    Joe Biden couldn't spend 90 minutes in a professional setting. Loud mouth spent more time interrupting and being rude toward Paul Ryan that CNNs left-leaning polls are showing Paul Ryan as the winner. Memo to the wise: you don't win debates by talking the loudest and interrupting your opponent. It only shows that you have the mindset of a 12 year old. No wonder why he fits in with Democrats and liberals!

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  13. Four and The Door

    Paul Ryan showed American voters why he is on the Republican ticket. Joe Biden was creepy.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  14. SGroves

    What is going on with CNN these days? You guys used to be news, and now you're spinning for the Rs. Is Roger Ailes pulling strings? Seriously, there is something weird going on.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  15. Walter

    Biden won clearly. He set the facts right on foreign policy and on the economy from what I saw. The most important message that I took away was that Romney plans to cut all these "loopholes" like mortgage deduction etc. These are no loopholes! Romney should be asked to provide specifics about this not just hot air during the next debate.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  16. DixT

    Ryan won, on his demeanor, alone. He was not condescending, like Biden; he was totally respectful, unlike Biden. He showed a "maturity" that Biden just was unable to show.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  17. DOC

    This poll is Malarkey!!

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  18. Tony Chan

    Very funny, CNN. Where 'd you get the Rebubs to be on the panel. The expression is, Biden dug a new A H for Ly'n Ry'n/
    Count again.
    tony

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  19. pl0689q

    I am surprised at cnn poll result.. i thought ther are more neutral than foxnews but this is just malarky...

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  20. kbone3

    Biden did what he had to do. If Ryan knew what he was talking about, Biden would not have had to cut him off so much.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  21. Zachary

    Both men minced facts and repeated campaign ad talking points. I think Biden did an excellent job rebutting Ryan on multiple occasions, specifically on foreign policy, but he floundered on the bulk of the Libya and jobs questions in my opinion.

    Ryan, to his credit, didn't throw a pick-six and fumble on his own 1-yard line like the President did last week. He kept the campaign narrative going, just as Biden did for his running mate, and came across as an intelligent and capable man. I still want more specifics from both men and campaigns as it concerns social security and medicare, but I doubt that will happen during the only remaining debate with domestic issues included.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  22. Steve

    Not sure who they hired for the poll... but i've talking to everyone i know, and they ALL say the old man beat the poor kid up... Ryan was out of his league.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  23. Will

    I chose my winner based presentation of facts and keeping the other guy honest. Not on presentation. Joe came out swinging. I find it amusing that Joe "is a jerk and condescending," but when Romney did the SAME THING a week ago he came out revitalized and strong. Thank you Joe for exposing truths. And not letting Ryan get away with still NO ANSWERS TO CUTTING THE DEFICIT! #Team Obama/Biden

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  24. carolyn

    Biden was unpleasant and unlikable.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  25. wildcats98

    they poll majority of republicans. clearly VP JOE BIDEN WON THIS DEBATE. ryan couldnt answer the questions, instead giving story of other ppl lives.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
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