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. Bilbo

    I'm likely voting for Romney...I though Biden won. Would've rather have seen Ron Paul answer sticky questions because there too many gotchas that can be used against anyone who's inconsistent.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Orlando

    Biden LOST the debate pathetically. He appeared too old, out of touch, RUDE and egocentric. It was clear he didn't have a grasp of the issues so he chose to use false bravado instead – pretending to be in control by being rude instead of quietly stating his facts. When I'm losing an argument or I feel threatened I do the same thing

    October 12, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. bill

    There is no way Ryan is ahead 48%/44% for this debate, not even by Fox News standards. Biden dominated on facts, content and substance while the Romney/Ryan ticket tried once again to sell us a different version of trickle down economics and a voucher system.

    October 12, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Medbob

    Proverbs 29:9 – "If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet."

    October 12, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Jim in Florida

    Biden won, yeah right. It's not yet Halloween Joe.
    Biden's smirks and laughter while the discussion was Iran isn't going to impress a lot of people. Biden ducks the Libyan issue and isn'tt trutful but assures the country that we'l know exactly when the Iranians are going to produce a nuke.

    Yeah, Joe, that will be when Israel acts in national self defense to keep a gaggle of radical Islamists from building thie own nuke. I doubt that Israel wil share advance notification of the strike with the Obama administration and I can't blame them there, the story will be front page news over at the NYT before they drop the first very smart bunker buster.

    Two of the most faurminded voting groups in the country are women and independents. They believe in fair play. Those groups are breaking for Romney and after Obama embarrasses himself and the vountry in 2 more debates the Emperor will have lost all of his clothes indeed. Not dertain that Independents and Women will share the humor with Biden.

    A disengaged Partier In Chief and a clown in the VP slot – oh yeah

    October 12, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Neha

    Biden was the clear winner last night . Paul on other hand was Flip Flop as usual .Bidan answered all questions with ease and was powerfull and assertive.All based on facts.

    October 12, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. indigo

    CNN is definately becoming pro-republican.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. sjjm83a123

    Biden was a joke. He was very unprofessional and rude. His facial expressions were not what you would expect from a Vice President. In my opinion, Biden is a disgrace to the political process. No wonder the public is sick and tired of career politicians. Throw them all out and start over. Surely we can do better than Joe Biden.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Vote 2012

    IIf people want to confuse being rude with telling the truth then so be it! Joe Biden was not rude, he was not going to sit there and let Paul Ryan tell more lies which is what republicans do best. They tell lie and manipulate, thank God all of us are not weak minded to believe their lies.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. Sherry

    I think its funny how when Obama was calm and not confrontational but lacking specifics he was seen as weak and people believed he did a bad job during the first debate. Romney, although not as fiery as Joe, seemed confrontational as well, he smirked, kept a stupid grin on his face, interrupted and would not listen to the moderator, is that presidential? Now that the tables are turned and Ryan being calm, non-confrontational but lacking specifics like Obama did is ok and presidential now? We cant have it both ways. I appreciate Joe being fired up about the issues hell someone needs to! He may not have the best behavior but I believe he will truly fight for me and not just help out his cronies. Style < substance.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Wilson

    Biden won the debate hands down. Ryan only had prepared remarks just learned last week from his debate coch which were complete lie just like his Boss Romney. America went through hell with 2 wars and looting govenrment with military contracts by republicans. I am surprised how they stop legitimate people getting govt care when they love to drop expensive bombs on countries paid by the US govt(Tax Payers). Makes no sense.

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

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

    Before I even start on the issues, I was taught in my speech and debate classes that debates had very strict rules in place for the amount of time a person was given to speak, and not speaking/interrupting when your opponent was delivering his message on his time! Raddatz was totally ineffective as a moderator whether on purpose or ignorance. Biden was extremely rude, overbearing, and also ignorant or just plan ignoring the rules of debates! Add that to the STUPID grin and laughing he did the whole debate while Ryan was talking, it's no wonder there are comparisons everyone on Biden and The Joker! I certainly would prefer Ryan's smirk to Biden's stupid grin and laughing whenever a Vice-President is speaking to diplomats of other countries, the United Nations, etc. Biden made a fool out of himself last night....he behaved like a teenager throwing a tantrum when they don't get their way. Frankly, if Ryan could get through that debate without losing his cool, he can do anything! And for the record, Ryan is more prepared to be President than Obama was when he was elected, so he is more than ready to be the Vice-President.

    October 12, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Sue

    Do you know you should not be a lam in front of a wolf.I believe that Romney and Ryan are lyer,and they are after power,and their own interest.they both do not care for country. Therefore we should be more wise and honest.

    October 12, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. Gerardo Vierna

    A highlight was Ryan going on about Embassy Security cuts done by this administration and then Biden reminding everyone that Ryan was one that voted for those cuts himself.

    October 12, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Maria

    Please, B iden won by far.

    October 12, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Sharon

    It's History 101. Ryan is the well-prepared, confident young man who has done his research, prepared his lesson, and is ready to share his knowledge.. Biden is the swarmy, hungover, smartass frat-boy heckler in the back of the room, taking the class for the thid time, and who stll shouldn't make it to History 102.

    October 12, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. Dave

    If Ryan and Biden switch roles everyone would have said Ryan won. Media is just looking for a story when they know Obama is clearly going to win.

    October 12, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. P.D. M.D.

    "Ryan also had a slight advantage on being more in touch with the problems of average Americans."
    WHAT?????????
    Wow. The level of ignorance on the part of a large portion of the population is stunning!
    If Romney wins the race, it will be because his lies were convincing & people did not do their due diligence of examining the issues and past voting records of the two.
    It will also be because the people were successfully swayed by the Republican avalanche of money dumped into swing states on anti-Obama advertising.
    In essence, if Romney wins America will have been sold to the 1% at the top, leaving the rest of us up the proverbial creek.

    October 12, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. TonyK

    What was the sample drawn from here? Ryan "expressed himself better"? Really? He was largely incoherent in explaining the contradictions in the Romney/Ryan tax policy, had no grasp of foreign affairs (when he wasn't basically agreeing with Obama/Biden), and was about as far from wonky as one can get–spouting numbers that don't add up does not a wonk make. And this is the GOP wunderkind? good luck in the next election, guys.

    October 12, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. T'sah From Virginia

    CNN – NO one wants to scroll through 133 pages, as it stands now, to read blogs????? Please give an option to "SEE ALL" that would allow the reader to see ALL blogs at once so you can read in the order blogs were posted – that's a simple FIX since you provide "previous" and "next" – you should provide "see all"

    Thank you!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Brad Ashtari

    The reason Ryan won the initial polls is that most Obama supporters were at WORK when the debate was on, and when this poll was taken.

    October 12, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. DieSmiling

    Ryan had NO substance. None! Not a single substantive "what we will do differently" answer, except for obvious destruction of Medicare and Soc Security, and obvious we will "outlaw abortion". He is a Wonk? What? His NUMBER DO NOT ADD UP! His "this has been done before" is a LIE!!! He has NO PLAN! He has NO SPECIFICS! And yet he won the debate? People, what are you smoking, can I have that too, it must be good!

    October 12, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. Patriot

    Republicans say Ryan won? Proof positive that they live in a parallel universe.

    October 12, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. ItWillHappen

    No tie at all – Biden won the Debate and what a General he is. A General does not give someone like Ryan an honorable compliment as Ryan gave Biden. Ryan knew his place.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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