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 Johnson

    Was Biden doing a commercial for a teeth whitening ad? If he thought the grave issues of the middle east were laughable, what does he consider serious? First a president who thought debating was beneath him and now a veep who considers everything a joke. Who is minding the store? Time to put someone in the WhiteHouse that can tackle the issues with intelligence and aplomb.

    October 12, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. Bruce Jenvey

    Every time Biden laughed, I felt he was laughing at ALL of us who REALLY need this election to change things. It was all a joke to him. He was like the class clown inthe back of the room who's about to fail the semester test.

    October 12, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. Gerg

    UNfortunately I missed most fo the debate, but of what I saw, I thought that Biden "won" on substance, but lost on "Style". But who should be surprised at that. Even coming in late to the debate, I could see that Ryan refused to give concrete resposnes. Even abortion was discussed. Ryan's reposne? [paraphrasing]...no matter how life comes into this world...it is important...so, no matter if you raped - legitimate or not, your life depedned upon having an abortion, etc., and down the line, Ryan, et al, know more about your body, your health, your "choices" than you do. I think that speaks volumes about Ryan and the GOP. And the latest from the GOP...U.S. Rep. Paul Broun challenges several scientific theories, calling them "lies straight from the pit of hell."... This would patheitic if it weren't so scary. What is the degree of separation between that fanaticism and the Taliban's fanaticism - maybe shooting a young girl in broad daylinght? Oh wait, who's bee bombing abortions clincs (in the past).... hmmm...

    October 12, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. JivetalkinPhil

    So where are all the poll protests about sampling? Right in the article it said that the sampling was skewed toward Republicans. But not one protest up about the skewed poll? So just like with unemployment, cry foul when the #s don't support you, but when they do don't mention it. Nice.
    I watched the first forty minutes of the debate and it looked pretty close with Biden having a slightly greater command. Ryan dodged the question several times, and repeated things that everyone knows aren't factual. Not that Biden is perfect in that regard either. He did appear to be 1000% more Presidential though. Ryan/Romney have the ability to criticize and nitpick every governmental decision made in the last 4 years, literally millions of things have happened so it's easy to disagree and stretch out every point. It does appear as if they have no experience doing anything but the campaign in the last ten years in terms of helping this country.

    October 12, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. JoeTheChuckler

    The people that honestly think that Biden won were just fooled into his theater tricks and hand mannerisms. If the last four years of Obama/Biden haven't worked and they've exhausted themselves and their administration of ideas... I don't seem to understand how you can think we can afford another four years. This IS THE SLOWEST bound comeback from a Recession in American history. Let's try something else.

    Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 12, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. ryanwin

    When a CNN poll shows a republican, Ryan as the winner, you know he won easily. Biden just came off as pompous, arrogant, and rude.

    October 12, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Rich

    It is evident that the people you’re polling that looked at the debates are mostly republicans. Mr. Copper asked that at the Presidential debate and he got a response of “yes”. Don’t know what debate those 48% viewers who said Ryan won was looking at? I’m registered republican and Joe Biden clearly won – not even close. I look at CNN hoping for “Balance and moderation”. Call it as it happened! CNN’s coverage this morning calling the debate a draw is not credible for many viewers like me who need the FACTS!

    October 12, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. viola

    This is a joke, interruptions to the president from Romney was fine but yesterday debate interruption from Biden was wrong. What a fantacy world we are leaving in the twenty one century.

    October 12, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. jim

    CNN is becoming a Joke. Clearly last night Joe Biden won the debate.

    October 12, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. Ron

    Someone should have told Biden it was not an audition for Jersey Shore. He was a disgrace to the Office of the Vice-President, and an embarrassment to the American people.

    October 12, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. HelloD

    I can't believe a grown man can act like such a child. Whether Ryan lied or not at least he acted like a professional.

    October 12, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. Will

    @riptin
    Were you watching the debate.? Ryan was giving his specifics on framework comparing to previous administrations but guess who couldn't control himself and had to be arrogant enough to not let him explain the entire plan.? Biden.
    Think again

    October 12, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. Tom

    Biden has still not grown up. A pompous, arogant child who needs a rattle or lullaby to chill him out.

    October 12, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. JP

    PEOPLE clearly like ROMNEY AND RYAN and no matter how little specifics they give.. They rarely answer any questions ask of them and yet people give them more of the benefit of a doubt... Sad.

    October 12, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. KOnumber2

    The party of hope and change can't buy a break lately. I guess people are starting to realize that Big Bird is not as important of a news story as a dead American being drug through the streets of Libya.

    October 12, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Eddie

    What kind of ideotic statement is this: "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".

    CNN 1/3 = 33.33..(33). This is like someone saying 1st....and B.....

    October 12, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. pamela

    I do not like debates as a matter of political discource because they are more about style than substance. If a candidate says a few humorous quips then the whole debate is moot because everyone is focusing on the quips. Ronald Reagan did this all the time. Personally, I thought VP Biden was excellent and thought he simply wiped the floor of Sen Ryan. But then again I look at substance, and he juct commended the debate. I do not care about facial expressions, what color ties they wore, or how many time they farted in their chairs, I don't care. All I care about substance, and VP Biden won it, plain and simple. My advice is who ever are the next set of candidates to run for political office should not debate, and this archaic form of muscle-flexing needs to be abolished. It serves no useful purpose.

    October 12, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. ME

    The comments here just remind me that people see what they want to see. The fact that it is debatable though means it was a draw. Unlike Obama's performance, which wasn't debatable. EvenObama's cheering section, MSNBC news, had to acknowledge that.

    October 12, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. MightyMoo

    A while back... "Obama shouldn't be bowing! Why is Obama bowing to their Emporor? WTH?!?!"

    Today.. "Biden was rude. Why was he so rude? What an angry old man!"

    Some people just can't make up their minds on what they want for their leaders.

    October 12, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. mary

    Mr. Biden took Mr. Ryan to the wood shed. The end!

    October 12, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. WeatherbyMarkV

    jusanotherchildofgod fails to recognize that a front page poll isn't statistically meaningful. What that poll finds is that 62% of CNN online viewers support Biden, which is very telling in and of itself. What a frontpage poll cannot verify is whether or not those polled watched the debate or not.

    October 12, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. Debbie

    Ryan was the best! He was polite and respectful. The one and only good moment for Biden was when he looked directly into the camera spoke sincerely and seemed to be speaking directly at the ppl watching. However, the way Biden kept interrupting Ryan and laughing/mocking him was just shameful! Very un-VPresidential and very childlish! I would never ever want Biden to be President of this country! Think about it.

    October 12, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. KOnumber2

    Another win for the REAL Americans!

    October 12, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. Cheryl

    Who did CNN poll? Republicans in Wyoming? Not one other poll I've seen is this far off! Most say Biden at least 60% to Ryan's 30-something.

    October 12, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. cg10

    This wasn't even close, Biden took Ryan to school and made him look worst than Obama looked during his first debate. Biden was not allowing lying Ryan to spout even half truths. I say enough is enough Rommey Ryan both are lying and trying to hide the real truth.

    October 12, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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