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. karen

    @riptin – Specifics? I would have loved to hear the specifics Obama has for anything...we know the record and it is dismal. Also, the out-of-the gate lie about Libya last night is hard to swallow. Obama &Biden throw their teams (and ambassadors) under the bus....literally.

    October 12, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. pd

    Ryan won this – Biden was smirking the whole way through, and pointing his finger at the moderator. had that been reversed, there would have been more noise about the supposed "war on women".

    October 12, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. andrewgadget

    If those poll numbers were in favor of Bidon would CNN have spent an entire article apologizing for them? It is clear who they were rooting for.

    October 12, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. rich

    Two debates and still and the only real things we have learned about the right is the Mitt will defund PBS, he LOVES coal, will repeal everything and replace it with something and Ryan wants to make sure that everyone lives by the rules of his religion.

    October 12, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Sniffit

    hahaha...the internals on CNN's poll are outrageously absurd. What other result would you expect from interviewing all over-50 white people? Seriously, CNN. You shouldn't be pushing your poll as indicative of ANYTHING whatsoever. In fact, publishing it all is ridiculous, even with your inclusion of the caveat, which people will ignore anyway.

    Here's a hint: If your poll shows nothing and has no credibility do to sampling bias and error, then there's nothing to report and no reason to report it.

    October 12, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Bob DeMan

    When you read the comments section of this lefty website and see the even split between Ryan / Biden winning the debate ..... Ryan

    October 12, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. DoctorZ

    The debate was about policy, and not about anything else. Ryan was extremely short on details (would not elaborate on which tax deductions/loopholes the Romney Administration would close, vouchers, and on and on). Either Romney/Ryan do not have plans and policies or they do not want us to know what their plans and policies are. Ryan's performance reminded me of Romney's refusal to release his taxes. Drink the Koolaid, watch the shiny ball, and trust us. I don't. Tax cuts we could not afford (far lower than Romney's proposed 20%) and deregulation are largely reponsible for the "Great Recession." Why would we ever go back to the same failed policies?

    October 12, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Bryan

    I am an independent voter and thought the Vice President came across arrogant and out of touch. H sacred like everything is ok and going as planned with both the economy and the middle east...We ALL know that is not true. Ryan came across in touch with the problems and not afraid to be honest with America...they know have my vote

    October 12, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. jwalk

    Notice everytime Ryan started making a specific point....Biden interrupted.

    Vice President Biden....you looked so immature.

    October 12, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. Tom

    I love how some people who attack those they disagree with, show their own ignorance(like the proper use of there instead of using their, and not know clueless is one word not two). It is typical of some of Obama's supporters, who are blind to the facts and vote for him so they can ride the government gravy train. Instead wasting your time here, why not go get educated and try to find a job.

    October 12, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. M

    For the person who said that he was surprised about the first name basis with the VP: He is real and honest and we consider him a friend in our tough fight for America. Do you call your friend by Mr___? He is as real as they come and I respectfully call him Joe!

    October 12, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. Paul

    CNN: Better check your quick vote on your web page. 30,000 people have voted and give Biden the edge by 61-39. Not even close. Of course if you release those numbers, the Republicans will say you "cooked" the books.

    October 12, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. dawn

    Biden lost what little respect I had left for him. He did not have his facts straight about Libya or his voting on the wars. I guess he thinks the the state of US and world affairs are funny..not so to the people who are unemployed or under employed, who lost their house, or the 4 dead heroes and their families. Time for him to go.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Wally

    Who was refilling Paul Ryan's glass of water? The Congressman was clearly in over his head as he drank over a gallon of water. Joe Biden, hands down won that debate.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. ray

    what we learn on the debate is that the republicans are the king of liars, plain and simple. the white people on the right will lie at any and all cost to get the blackman out the white house. the american people speaks of values and morals to the world and here we are the republicans are doing the what all the white people on the right wants, LIE YOUR WAY TO THE WHITE HOUSE ROMNEY AND RYAN. what a sad day in america

    October 12, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. R.

    Clearly the majority of you know NOTHING about our Vice President's history. He is a liar, through and through. He has no back bone on his own beliefs and he doesn't support anybody else who differs from his. He threw a fit last night when the opponent brought up some very viable examples to why we should kick our current's out of the white house. Romney/Ryan.
    And to think i wasn't even going to vote this year.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  17. Charlies

    Gregory: You must live in Mar without water and "LIFE". Biden lost completely as an OLD GRUMPY MAN with arrogance and bully"

    October 12, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. sam

    Funny when its Biden he is rude and disrespectful but when its romney its debate talents

    October 12, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. Nichole

    With all Biden's laughing and huffing, I think he thought he was at a comedy show. I don’t find any part of the Libya attack, the economy, Social Security or Medicare issues to be funny. I wasn't able to listen to anything he was saying or Ryan due to his behavior. This debate was a total waste of time in my opinion.

    October 12, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain: Hey, networks, fact-check the debates in real-time and put it in the crawl!

    @Reddy: You are obviously a paid tool by the GOP to post that President Obama and VP Biden are "extreme cases". Only a FOOL will vote for Mittens 'n' Munster and their failed policies, math that doesn't add up and belief that half are country are moochers!

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    October 12, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. guest

    And the winner was: nobody. And the looser was: The American People.

    October 12, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. gliese 42

    Biden was good but unfortunately over confident and mistakes made Ryan a winner

    October 12, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  23. sene

    CNN you really need to understand why you are not watched anymore or respected as a news orginization. You can take 20 people and then say the poll siad XYZ won. Meanwhile you very own website THOUSANDS of people voted Biden 65 ryan 35. Get it together!

    October 12, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. Ron

    So do I understand this correctly? Romny constantly interrupts Obama and it's ok. Biden interrupts Ryan and you cry foul ball?!?! Is that how this works?

    October 12, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Kurt

    I think Ryan won. Both could have done better, but Biden was a little arrogant and rude. I thought he was yelling at the moderator the whole time!

    October 12, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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