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. Joy

    I was so distracted by Biden's rude behavior, it was hard to keep up with the facts. As a senior,I know Biden was totally wrong about Obamacare. All current seniors are going to see massive cuts to Medicare. Cuts in pay to Doctors will destroy Seniors ability to see Doctors. Many employers are dropping health care plans for their employees. Cost will rise at unbelievable rates. Medicare officials have stated that hospitals will be fined if they re-admit Medicare patients. too soon. The quality of health care for all will be greatly reduced.Just wait till next year when the election is over and these drastic measures kick in.

    October 12, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    I thought the presidential debate was a draw (I know, I'm in the 9% minority there). I think Biden did better than Ryan. Ryan and Romney both are full of it. Romney flat-out lied. Ryan evaded. That's why, in my opinion, neither of those guys won the debates. If anyone doesn't understand the middle class, it is I. What the heck are you people basing your debate decisions on? Blustering lies? Repeated evasions? Ryan's repeated high school slogans?

    October 12, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Joan Wheeler

    I would not vote for Ryan for two reasons: 1.) He's a republican and a dangerous republican, and 2.) I couldn't stand listening to him for 4 years; he sounds as if he's been inhaling helium.

    October 12, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Paul

    Ummmm...... There were MORE REPUBLICANS polled. Of course they will say Ryan won. OMG CNN you are turning into Fox News more and more every day. Sad really.

    October 12, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. LordsAndSerfs

    CNN should be ashamed, but then again, based on the fact they are going out of business, I guess it will take care of itself. Gergen, King, and the rest are a total joke. Wake up and use the net. Cable News is a joke.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. Chris

    Joe was Joe!!

    He wasn't gonna dance around Ryan like the nice guy because he knew he needed to make up for last weeks lack of performance from the President. To me he hit every point. Ryan couldn't answer some questions (Really) give me a break already. We want answers and want to know how the Rebuplicants plans to resolve the issues that this country has, don't give us the runaround.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. 0704American

    Biden interupted Ryan so he could check Ryan's on his LIES. Biden was not going to let Ryan get away with telling lies the way Obama let Romney get away with it.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. John

    This guy, Biden, is nothing more than a spoiled punk that's used to getting his way without any respect for other's views.............'simple as that'!!!

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

    I also want to say that the Romney Ryan ticket has lied changed the story lied again and again. I would hope that these people looking at this know whats real and fake. If they win Taxes will sky rocket for the middle class. They are also going to go down for the richest people. I support the president and the democrats because they believe in what I believe in. PLease VOTE becasue if we dont we are in trouble. Greece

    October 12, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Jim

    I'm a democrat. I was humiliated by Biden. He needs to tone down and then he would sound more stately and have more credibility. I wish Hillary Clinton was the VP!

    October 12, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. Reggiedw

    Biden came across as old overgrown child who has no respect for anybody. I was embarassed to watch this grown old man act the way he did and he should be ashamed of himself. That's the problem with liberals/democrats because if they cannot get their own way, they start talking over the other person and bullying them into thinking their way. I thought this was a free country so I do not see why Biden behaved the way he did but I suppose if you do not know better that's the way you will carry yourself or should we call him classless. Only democrats can approve this kind of behavior and if this is the way our children are being taught to behave then I am sorry for them and our country.

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

    I like that when Biden was very aggressive. He was angry about what the repubs are trying to do.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Suni

    Obama was over dosed on medication while Joe was on laughing gas! Too funny to watch him laugh, smirk and make a total fool of himself. well, that is how Democrats like it I guess.. This country on laughing gas and over dosed to even react appropriately in public.
    How dare they ask for 4 more years? My vote goes to Romney/Ryan – 2012. Republicans come out in record numbers and vote for Romney/Ryan for real change in America. No more 4 years for current clowns in white house.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. Sean

    yeah biden clearly won – people complain about interruptions don't understand that debates have time limits. when your opponent ducks the question and goes on to his stump speech you better interrupt him because clearly the moderator is not going to do his/her job.

    These are really not debates at all. watch college debates and you will see how a real debate goes.

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

    did we get the 48%/44% outcome from Fox News??? There is no way Ryan was anywhere ahead of Biden in the debate. Though more composed than Biden, Ryan failed miserably at pointing to key specifics for their defense spending, cost cuts and tax plan. The fact is, they have NO plan and are only promoting an arbitrary savings figure of what they HOPE to achieve by working with Congress. Biden redirected to fact after fact subsequent to Ryan's general terminology and unsubstantiated policy plans. It was a good debate, better than what we've had lately, but Biden dominated on content and substance and kept the GOP from trying to sell us the clear blue skies.

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

    I think Ryan did an admirable job of bringing his point across....he seems like a likable person, and would make a really good "here is a task, here is how to do it, get it done" kind of public official.

    Biden seems more like a politician, though clearly much more experienced than Ryan....I'm an independent personally.

    However, my issue is with Ryan's main point, which was "they are not doing it right, we will do it right, but we won't tell you really how". If you can't give me a real feel for what you know you plan to do, then thank you very much, but I'll pass.

    This has irked me from the beginning about Romney/Ryan....they really don't have a plan....
    To fix the economy they talk about privatizing/deregulating everything. Bush anyone?
    To fix Iran, they pretty much want to go to war.
    To fix Syria, they pretty much want to go to war.
    To fix Afghanistan, they pretty much want to go to war.

    It's war, and privatization for them, and at the end of the day lower taxes for the rich, and higher taxes for everybody else.

    October 12, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. John P

    The closing statement from each of them should be grounds for who won alone. Biden adressed the american people through the tv almost nil, Ryan on the other hand directed his full attention towards the people.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. john mark

    Are you kidding CNN? Joe completely and clearly won the debate. On facts and on substance. Wow, I really agree now with Jon Stewart. CNN is full of BS. COME ON! Biden mopped the floor with Ryan.

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

    You say Joe Biden was rude "MARLAKEY" Mitt Romney was rude and disrespectful. Either he drank too many "Red Bulls" or he has AHDD, and/or just plain mentally ill/multiple personality disorders.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. PJ

    By every metric, Ryan won.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. Mochamary

    Why did the poll I checked on CNN this morning show Biden the winner or did my eyes play tricks. If so, I liked what I saw early this morning.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. A Republican Canidate

    I find it a lot easier to win a debate if you lie and don't offer any details to what your plan is.

    October 12, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Joan Wheeler

    I've noticed that CNN tilts just a bit toward the right; especially in its headlines. God knows how CNN's Headline News tilts - off the screen, no doubt. I've mostly given up on CNN for real news; I look at the Website daily just to see what the major stories are. Then, I read the details in the NYTimes or on PBS and other outlets. CNN is not balanced and has gone too soft for my taste.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. gregor1971

    Women hated Biden in that performance. I saw three focus groups last night, and all of the women thought poorly of Biden. He was very disrespectful, and nobody wants that many anywhere close to the Whitehouse. He out and out lied about the Libya attack, saying that no reuqest for extra security was ever made, even though the State Department is saying exactly the opposite. He interrupted Ryan more than 3 times for every minute Ryan spoke. He was wreckless and out of control, and he came off very poorly.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. Gerardo Vierna

    Why have a poll and then say its not a true representation. Either publish one that is or just skip it. Its misrepresenting and that is how stupid people get influenced. They see a poll and go with the results as their view simply because they choose not to investigate the candidates or content of a debate.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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