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. Vote 2012

    Joe Bide rude, "that's a bunch of malarkey". He's intelligent, not rude and tells the truth, big difference. There they go again republicans tea party whinning and crying foul because they lost, things didn't go they way, they can't handle the truth, believe their own lies, expect everybody else to do the same, "MARLAKEY"!

    October 12, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. AR

    Within seconds of the debate ending, Wolf Blitzer calls the debate a draw! Where did that come from, seconds after the debate ended!!! It was a crystal clear win for Biden. Biden spoke naturally, rebutted all inaccurate statements, Ryan waslike a tweaked robot answering from a scripted rehearsal. There was one clear winner, not even close.

    October 12, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. blackbart

    The Vice Pres. clearly won the debate. Can anyone imagine Ryan as Pres.?
    Ryan said that the Romney ticket will work to take rights away from women and all this time I though they were for smaller Government.

    October 12, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. tonyc

    Joe definately won this debate,Ryan looked like a grinning little kid most of the time,Joe,unlike Obama,will not get railroaded by the gop and their countless lies,Joe is a fighter for the working class,and will stand up for us against the republicans.
    Romney/Ryan are all smoke & mirrors,they will never give details to how they are going to pay for thier programs and or tax breaks,come on guys,the American public are not idiots,we know who will get taxed to death,us, the working class while the rich will get thier "high fives" and tax breaks.
    I was never a Obama fan,but we are on the road to recovery and we need to keep going on the path that we are on,the Romney/ Ryan ticket is a joke.
    Obama inherited the worst economic mess in 70 yeras,and even if Romney had won 4 years ago,we would not be any more out of it than Obama has gotten us now.
    Wake up folks,if we go back to widespread deregulation,like Romney is proposing,then we will be right back where we started or worse.

    October 12, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    I have never seen such a supposed "distinguished" man (our vice president) look like such a teenager! What a moron! He ruid that debate over his hissy fits!

    October 12, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. decided in pa

    Joe Biden is a complete idiot. This is the guy that is the "second most powerful man" in the free world? Any moron that would vote to re-elect this idiot is most definitely one of the "takers" and not "makers". Mitt was correct when 47% of the population would not be voting for him. That includes the 30% that are walking around with their hands out taking public money for sitting at home doing NOTHING. The other 17% are just idiots and wouldn't know Joe Biden if he showed up on their doorstep. God Bless America, we will need it if these evil people continue to occupy the whitehouse.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  7. tammy

    well My veiws are like this. Romney did the same thing acted rude, obnoxious, interupted and all the above. however, when romney did it noone had anything to say. rublicans thought he was being tuff. make up your mind people.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. pzito

    Biden looked like a bellicose drunk you'd see in a bar. What a disgrace.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. Kev13

    I'm confused about the continued posts that complain about Ryan (and Romney from last week) not having any facts about their plan. Both people have said – many times over – that they are bringing a framework to the table. This framework will require a stop to the spending without limites that we have seen since this administration came into office, an across the board (that means everyone!) tax cut, and a closing of tax loopholes. Furthermore – and here is where unfortunately the liberal mindset turns completely off – the actual specifics on how to do this will be brought about by "President" Romney reaching out on a bi-partisan basis to the Congress to get this done. Will it be easy? Of couse not. But he did it in MA (where I was and still am living) and there is no reason it cannot be done in Washington, D.C. despite what this current administration has shown.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. a disgrace but you voted for him

    you get the impression that even biden thinks obama is a fool

    October 12, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Amobius

    If perceived rudeness is what wins or loses a debate then this country is really doomed. The comments show a startlingly shallow assessment of these debates.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. Axel Hernandez

    Biden made Ryan look inexperienced and with a lack of true capacity such position. To me, it was even embarrassing to see and hear Ryan during the whole event and the fact that he drank water so many times showed how nervous, insecure and perhaps unprepared he was. Biden won!

    October 12, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. lhsd

    CNN admits in this article that its audience that was polled had more republicans than the Country's actual population which has a larger percentage of democrats. So, that may reveal why when Romney was on the attack "independents" and "undecideds" loved it! When Biden does it ...uhhh not so much? Because they were really more republicans responding.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. Mark

    Ryan won on the issues. Biden interrupted constantly and when he was not interrupting, the moderator was. The Vice President came across as being arrogant and seemed completely out of touch with what has been happening in Libya.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Kenneth

    Well I hope everyone watched the same debate that I did. I saw Joe Biden defend our president and vice presidents point of view. I saw the vp call the man out on statements that came from the mouth of the Republican nominee. I also observed Joe Biden do the same thing that Mitt Romney did to the president. This country is so to faced. One one hand a man can interupt another man but on the other hand Joe Biden couldnt do the same. This is a tatic that the rich use all the time. 1st the President was not aggressive and now Joe Biden is to aggressive. It is B. S. Who are you all polling because no one called my land line phone for any of the pollings. It is Awful. bIDEN DID HIS JOB.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. NOTU

    Joe Biden was a disgrace. He behaved like a buffoon. And the moderator let him get away with it. I can't believe Paul Ryan actually had to ask her to make him stop interrupting him. It was her job to control the debate and she blew it. Just disgraceful. This is one instance where I have too say Biden lost because of his behavior. An embarrassment to the American people.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. lhsd

    CNN admits in this article that its audience that was polled had more republicans than the Country's actual population which has a larger percentage of democrats. So, that may reveal why when Ryan was on the attack "independents" and "undecideds" loved it! When Biden does it ...uhhh not so much? Because they were really more republicans responding

    October 12, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Close, but Biden won..

    He really Needed to present himself as very strong, in command, experienced, and also minimize Ryan and his lack of experience. Being polite was not, and is not a requirement, despite what others are saying. He succeeded on all counts. People may not have liked the 'knowing smiles' or interuptions, but, he has been there, done that, etc. in contrast to his opponent.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. Axel Hernandez

    Biden made Ryan look inexperienced and with a lack of true capacity for such position. To me, it was even embarrassing to see and hear Ryan during the whole event and the fact that he drank water so many times showed how nervous, insecure and perhaps unprepared he was. Biden won!

    October 12, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. Rhonwyn

    It is interesting that when Mitt behaved like Joe, the Republicans thought he was presidential but now that Joe wiped the floor with Paul, they are screaming bully! Republicans are the most hypocritical voters ever. No wonder they like Mitt the wind sock.

    October 12, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. Sonia

    My vote goes to Obama/Biden. It's clear that Romney/Ryan don't have a clue on how to run the country.

    October 12, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. Gus

    Ryan looked like a deer caught in the headlights as he tried to explain Romney's polices, and what was in that water?

    October 12, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  23. bob

    Class dismissed littley boy, oh and paul dont forget you have detention for lieing..............................

    October 12, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. Albert C

    FACT #1

    The most important FACT of the poll is that it is the voice of only 381 individuals whose background, and believes we do not know. Also, it was uncleared that how these people were chosen to participate. Please do highlight that clearly on this article.

    FACT #2

    Note: "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."

    The sample number is not even – 33% / 31% / 34%. Also, who are reminding the 2%?
    By the way the estimate is *around* 126 Republican, 118 Democrats, 129 independent, and 8 mysterious individuals.

    October 12, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Dale

    It is always clear when some one knows that the truth is hurting them. They laugh, snicker, an interrupt just to draw attention away from what someone is saying. Biden acted like a little kid. It was quite annoying to watch. He should be a bit embarrassed about his display.

    Also I am tired of Obama and Biden lying about the Ryan tax plan. It cuts taxes for everybody. not just the rich. I hope people are not stupid enough to believe that flat out lie from the president and vice president.

    October 12, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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