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. Toni

    Is anyone asking independents what we thought? Yes, Joe Biden was rude at times but so was Romney in last week's debate when he also interrupted and spoke over the moderator. Is everyone's memory so short????
    Joe Biden gave facts, Paul Ryan gave promises without details. If you're looking at this debate as a contest, then you're overlooking the real issues. And ladies out there, Ryan's pause on the abortion question should give you a lot to think about between now and Nov. 6th.

    October 12, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. francesco carboni

    Change the name of the station to FOX NEWS

    October 12, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. sunny

    Was the moderator biased or no???????

    October 12, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. James

    I'm not sure either "won". While Biden was more knowledgeable, Ryan conducted himself with poise. It's really just Biden's way, to communicate the way he does. It's like italian's, which I am, who have wave their hands to talk. Most Irish are very passionate people and express themselves that way. That Ryan was not was another indication that perhaps we still don't know who he is. My big frustration with Ryan was that he never answered any questions that were asked of him. He dodged them all, which I don't trust. Have to go with Biden.

    October 12, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Rob

    Anybody who thinks Ryan won is clueless. He showed up with no specifics and very few facts. Sure Biden was rude, but if you are going to judge a debate based on facts it was Biden hands down. If you judge on style, then it was Ryan. I personally prefer to judge based on facts. My favorite part was when Ryan complained about the stimulus that saved the country from a total collapse then Biden said, "I have 2 letters from you asking for stimulus money." All Ryan could do was sit there with egg on his face and admit it...lol.

    October 12, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. DaveinIL

    Typical liberal media bs. Report the poll results and then start making excuses why it didn't show Biden winning. LOL LOL

    October 12, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Runes77

    When a CNN poll says that a Republican won the debate, a republican won the debate.

    October 12, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Dex Dean

    You CNN poll is a joke. Number 1, Biden finally got the kid to admit what there position is! 2nd, Biden finally got them to admit that they do not have a real plan to back up their actions, if they are elected. 3rd, Biden stated clearly that 97% of small business do not make over $250,000. I have financed small business for over 32 years and outside of the medical professional who have been ripping us off for years, I rarely see tax returns that show small commercial business owners making over $250,000. 4th, who really are the super pacs. Nothing but those throwing dollars behind their chosen one who will in turn take care of them down the road! CNN should be ashamed of themselves with their comments after the debate by their so called political analysts and via this so called poll. Could you image this kid, who has never held a real job, possibly being President. It was clearly the man dealing with the boy and it showed! The problem with the average American is that they read very little, Hello Palin, and rely on the media who have their own self serving agenda.

    October 12, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. EX

    I hope nothing happens to President Obama! It scare me to think Biden is next in line. I couldn't imagine Biden even as a interm president.

    October 12, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. Robert

    Ryan won.... The State of the economy and the world. with So much miss information on whats going on. Its no Laughing matter. Obama is our part time presidant isn't doing his job I can't believe he scippsout on 50-60% of his morning briefings. I can't do that and and satiffiy customers. Unreal!

    October 12, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. Courtney

    Joe Biden was completely rude and showed no class. He was very disrespectful by smurking and interrupting throughout the entire debate. Very un-presidential. Ryan was composed, classy, and respectful.

    October 12, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. dean ford

    Biden looks like a car salesman/Lawyer/Crook...............Guy Smiley.......

    October 12, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Glorybee

    waste of time watching. One had the facial expressions and actions of an A s s and the other looked as if he was creating an infomercial. Bottom line, which of the two would I want representing me to the world...certainly not the guy who performed well reducing the debate to a tooth commercial. Really...at least I can envision Ryan having a discussion with world leaders and able to debate on the world stage- Biden...I always loved his feistiness but even magic Joe and all the room we give him to be 'just Joe' was a bit over the top and an embarrasement. Had to turn the tv off as this was so childish and derogatory to the truthand honesty. It was a show...I'll watch the reruns on Saturday Night Live where there will be a grain more seriousness than the actual debate itself. :)

    October 12, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Davis

    "Get off my lawn you young whippersnapper"!!!!!

    Snicker, snicker, grin, grin.....roll eyes.
    What an idiot Biden made out of himself to the nation last night.

    October 12, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. Rita

    It was Man vs. Boy. Ryan at times looked deranged, drinking too much water, shaky, totally unsure, uncool....

    October 12, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Daniel

    Biden came out acting like a spoiled, arrogant, disruptive, disturbing old man who constantly interrupted Ryan, constantly made those stupid, ridiculous faces, of course his a millionaire, who cares that millions of Americans are in poverty, food and water prices are increasing every day, oil is increasing, thousands of people losing jobs, taxes are going up, insurances are going up, war, terrorism on the rise, and i could go on, but for the Liberals or Democrats what you call them like Biden its all funny jokes.

    October 12, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. ExRepublican

    Anyone claiming that the unprepared, completely false Ryan won that farce is deluding themselves. Romney/Ryan is pro-rich, anti-family empty shirts. As much as it pains me, I'm voting Obama this time around.

    October 12, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. Marbillmyr

    Even when asked directly for specifics, Paul Ryan would not provide them. This really concerns me.

    October 12, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. NO VOTE FOR BIDEN THE IDIOT

    like the president, Biden also is not a good leader.

    October 12, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. TJ

    I was undecided until I watched both debates. Definitely now voting for Obama/Biden. Romney/Ryan can't be trusted...

    October 12, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. hannah

    cnn has always been bias. it's clear that biden won the debate. every other news site would agree. i dont know what debate cnn was watching...

    October 12, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. Brian Hartman

    @justanotherchildofgod: What front page are you looking at? This article is the only one linked to the front page that mentions polls in the headline.

    October 12, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. Anonymous

    Biden was the clear winner. The message he gave was clear, just because he may sound like a bully doesn't mean that Ryan is telling the truth. Watch it again, unless you want to pay more for your medicare next year.

    October 12, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. Willy

    Our children won. How can any child who watched this debate ever again think they cannot rise to the level of vice president or president. This dabte proves that in America, every child has a chance unless, of course, they grow up first.

    October 12, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. waitatick

    I hear a lot of comments about Biden being rude and disrespectful. You know what’s rude and disrespectful? Someone pushing down my throat their archaic and fairy tale filled religious world view of what I should be able to do with MY uterus, that's what rude and disrespectful. Biden was laughing, cause Ryan is a joke! I am ex-catholic due to the fact that I am logical person and have common sense to know that there is no such being as there is NO proof of this higher power that is watching us all, every second of the day. In addition: I am recovering catholic. As a terrified child who was “tortured” and “physically punished” by nuns and pedophile priests on a daily basis who did this in the name of their loving “GOD”! No thank you, I will gladly sleep in on Sundays!!!

    October 12, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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