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. Charlies

    MRG: 100% agree with your assessment as my wife and I (both independents) came to the same conclusion.

    mrg

    I don't see a clear winner on either side of this, debates are useless. But I do think it is rude for a grown man to laugh and snicker at his opponent, very annoying. No class.

    October 12, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. gonetopot

    I got so disgusted with Biden that I left after about 10-15 minutes. He was rude, childlike, and extremely unprofessional. The first part from him was that the current administration didn't receive any requests for security prior to the attack in Libya and that is an out and out lie. Just more BS from this administration. I just hope that Biden and Obama get to retire after the election so that our country can be saved.

    October 12, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain: Hey, networks, fact-check the debates in real-time and put it in the crawl!

    The top 1% enjoyed 97% of the gains made during the ongoing economic recovery, and yet Munster 'n' Mittens want to give them even MORE in tax cuts.

    It's about time the spoiled, petulant, unpatriotic rich in this country start paying their fair share!

    October 12, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. NO DEMOCRAT VOTE

    Joe Biden thinks that the terrible economy is a joke.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. Cedric

    Many people have this idea that Biden was somehow being rude but quite frankly it was a debate of two opposing views in a very divided country. People are angry and people want the truth not a bunch of hypothetical theories. I did not hear anything unexpected last night. Biden defended what has been done the last 4 years with limited results and Ryan gave no clear and specific answers as to what would be done differently under Romney. Both were typical politicians – pointing the finger and shifting blame. And by the way, both were snickering and cutting each other off, but one was clearly more overt than the other – who cares let's get something done with the country!

    October 12, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  6. Dunnyveg

    Personally, I wouldn't vote for either of these clowns or their bosses on a bet. Americans are dealing with a predatory left that wishes to destroy the historic American nation by diluting us out of existence with open borders, and they are succeeding. Since the Republicans are emasculated and deracinated on every issue save ensuring the rich aren't oppressed by paying taxes, the American nation is about to be lost in a permanent Democratic nonwhite majority. So, I don't know who won this debate, but the loser is clear: The American people.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. brian franics

    A poll 8% overweighted toward republicans and Ryan won by only 4 points really still sounds like a Biden victory to me. Isn't it curious that a my way or no way legislator is going to find the answers to the questions of how he will carry out his plans by asking the legislators to help. What if the Democrats do what the he and his republican fellows have done for the past four years. But then again that wouldn't happen would it - Democrats are not that arrogant.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. Christian

    Paul Ryan was called out on multiple lies, was unable to offer a single specific plan when nailed down by the moderator and offered more of the same flawed top-down economic ideas that got us into this hole in the first place. The Republican response: Biden smiled too much.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Kev13

    I was impressed with both candidates last night. I thought VP Biden took it much more seriously than his boss did in the first presidential debate. He had statistics and a fight to him. He also had a rude demeanor which Congressman Ryan did not have nor was it present in the presidential debate last week. All-in-all he scored much better than President Obama. Ryan I thought was very well prepared with statistics of his own. He kept his cool manner that we have continually seen. It was close but I'd say that Ryan won but a slim margin.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. nick

    Joe kicked his but on every topic, he also showed experience as a leader and someone that knows whats going on in the world. Also the fact that Ryan couldn't even give a straight answer to almost all the questions, and said he'll never leave Afgan. you'd have to be stupid to vote Mitt/Ryan

    October 12, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. sene

    This independent from virginia is voting Obama/Biden. Romney/ryan's plan is to get into the white house and play it by ear as to what they will pass .... I don't know what they stand for.

    October 12, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Pete Burkindine

    I thought it was a fairly even debate and they both made some substantial argument. However, I thought VP Biden successfully set the entire Republican philosophy on its heels early in the debate, and Cgr. Ryan never seemed to fully recover. The bosses in this country are replacing us with robots, hiring us as permanent temps, putting the American dream permanently out of reach – and then calling US the thieves. Well, it ain't so – they're stealing our lives for pennies on the dollar – and what they do in the third world and the inner city is worse. How is what they do different from what bad guys would do? How are they the Christians, for being totally disinterested in the lives of the people who made them rich? We have a right to protect ourselves from them.

    October 12, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. debut80

    You now have a pathetic attempt by the Left-Leaning CNN Network to claim that there is a 4 point error of margin so it is basically "tied"... LOL. How pathetic can a news organization get?

    October 12, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. jheron

    After going through the fact checks on the debate. Biden won.

    October 12, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. Pat

    Biden won hands down. Ryan had no substance.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. Reasonably

    And still no details from the Romney-Ryan camp.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  17. Vote 2012

    KUDOS to the Moderator. Paul Ryans bladder must have been full like a swimming pool, he was nervous confused and chocked up from all the lies he tried to tell. His big green basset hound eyes never blinked, looked like a deer in suv headlights. Joe Biden hit home runs throughout the debate, at 8:15 CT Paul Ryan immediately started loosing, he went down hill all the way.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. Patrick

    Ryan just couldn't defend all of the lies!

    October 12, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  19. KLB

    Anyone watching this with an open mind saw how angry or defensive Biden came across. While he accused Romney and Ryan of not having any answers, I didn't hear any specifics from his either. I didn't like the moderator as she seemed to interfere too many times and give her input. I hope she is not involved in another debate or learns to just ask questions and then shut up. All in all, I would say that this debate should what we knew; Biden is a loud mouth, and Ryan gives little details. For those saying Ryan has no experience, remember; four years ago a man was elected with no experience either. He is now president of our country. Let's not play the inexperience card too many times, you come accross looking stupid.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. debut80

    You now have the pathetic attempt of left-leaning CNN to state that there is a 4 point error in the polls and that they are virtually tied now. How pathetic can CNN get?

    October 12, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Jillian Barfield

    The article says that the majority of people they polled were republican. What do you expect them to say?

    October 12, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  22. Bob

    This CNN poll is via phone on "only: 381 voters Come on CNN look at you own poll on this web site – Over 22,000 voted and it says Biden 61 percent to Ryan 39 percent. I will take the later thank you. CNN fact checkers shows Ryan was wrong a lot and Biden right a lot. I will take Biden thank you. Go right ahead GOP folks and vote for those that their facts just don't cut it.

    October 12, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. Natan

    You know how Ryan says that Obama has nothing new to offer the American people? What does Ryan want him to do? Change his position like Romney a gazillion times?

    October 12, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. JaiaLeia

    There is absolutely no way we watched the same debate. Yes, Biden was borderline rude but if you strictly look at what was being said and the flow of the debate, Biden won, hands down. Biden consistently kept Ryan on the defensive and Ryan almost never answered the questions being asked. I'm usually an open-minded person and I think Ryan did an okay job and handled himself well, but in substance and style, he lost. He kept repeating entire sentences as if memorized and the final statement was obviously prepared. I know they are supposed to be but there was zero passion behind the statements and that made me wonder whether or not he believed what he was saying. Not only that but every time he challenged Biden, Biden gave an old swift karate chop to those criticisms and demanded an alternate Romney-Ryan plan, which Ryan hardly explained, if ever. How could people think Ryan won? Is it sympathy or is it too hard to see your party losing at something? I was the first person to admit– Obama lost the first debate, no question. But Ryan winning this one? Are you kidding?

    October 12, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. JB

    Biden act like an arrogant old man, who can't handle a civilized discussion. I can't believe that anyone can claim that he won. This man does not deserve to be the vice president. I do agree that posting a poll, based on less than 400 votes is just wrong.

    October 12, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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