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. TXDenise

    And to anonymous 11:06, at no time was Romney rude to Obama during their debate. The interrupter in that debate was Obama.....it was the only time he acted like he was even aware of what was going on at the time.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Malarky

    CNN's pole last night showed VP Biden had 5 "highs" and 8 "lows" during the debate. That's a 60% negative rating. Senator Ryan had 8 "highs" and 1 "low", giving him a 90% positive rating. Yet the debate has been cast as a draw. Strange.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Jarred

    For all the Republicans complaing about Biden being rude thats how you debate when your oppenent gets caught in a lie you call him out on not just sit by while he gets his point across its how you disrupt him and thats what Biden did. romney did the same thing to Obama in the first debate but to a much lesser extent and its what Obame should have done to Romney invthe fist one cause Romney lied his a ss off

    October 12, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. jc

    CNN polls Ryan winning wow. Clearly the winner was Biden. Hands down. Biden took Ryan to school.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. conwell2549

    Can someone tell me what Mitt and Ryan actually stands for and stands against. Tired of this vote for us and everything will be fine crap. Least with Obama we know what we got. Be careful what you wish for

    October 12, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. Treppie1961

    Vice President Biden won hands down! Go Obama/Biden! WOO HOO!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. Brian

    So because someone is rude it means they lost? I believe biden won by a fairly slim margin, but i believe the republicans will be happy with ryan he held his own, democrats will be happy because it will stem the tide and biden showed great energy, something obama lacked.

    October 12, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Ben

    Being an independent voter from WI, I voted for Scott Walker in the general and again in the recall, I voted for President Obama in the first election and am still deciding how I will vote this election. I believe Romney won the first debate but I don't understand how people can sit here and say Ryan won last nights debate? It's ludacris to say that Ryan won that debate, Biden controlled the entire debate and gave actuall facts about the topics. Ryan danced around topics with no real evidence or knowledge, especially when it came to forgien policy. I thought Biden made a great point about Ryan fabricating lies about the Obama/ Benjamin Netanyahu relationship over the issue of Iran's nuclear bomb. What would Romney/Ryan do differnt in the areas of Syria and Iran besides direct military action costing more American lives and tax payer dollars. Ryan wants more security around American embassies but his deficit plan cuts $300 million from embassy security? All I ask is that politicians stop lieing and spinning their views, just tell the truth and get on with it. Ryan DID NOT win last nights debate, I'm suprised Biden didn't tell Ryan to take off his shoes before entering Biden's house.

    October 12, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. TheTruth

    This poll is a load of MALARKY!! Ray Charles could see VP Biden won!

    October 12, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Jackie

    I'm sorry I agree that Ryan won! Biden showed rude body language and it DOES count. The democrats are always playing their dirty games. Biden is maybe stating facts but him and Obama did a horrible job. Nothing to be proud about. Biden is acting like he's doing a good job himself when he IS NOT. I believe as a true American we should get Romney in office so he can restore this country. He is going in with experience, Obama only entered with academic experience. I'm sure Romney knows what he is doing.

    October 12, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. Peter

    To be honest, Biden interrupted Ryan alot to make up for Obama, who had no fight in him last week. But the truth remains that Romney/Ryan are still secretive about their plans b/c perhaps they don't really have one, except for the fact that there will be much more military spending under their leadership.

    October 12, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. Wisonsin

    I watched the entire debate and I tried to go into it neutral. After watching it, my respect for Biden went down the toilet. As the sitting VP I would expect him to be open at least to allowing an honest debate of ideas rather than just being rude and disrespectful to his opponent.

    Does Biden normally conduct himself in this manner when dealing with others that don't share his views? Imagine if he had to assume the role of president for some reason – would he deal with other world leaders the same way? What a jerk!

    I'm no longer neutral – I will vote Romney/Ryan 2012

    PS – Forget the Obamaphone – I want a pair of choppers like Joe has. Do u think that ObammaCare will get me a free set? I'd only use them to chew my wallet up before I had to give the contents up to someone more deserving.

    October 12, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. Vote 2012

    II don't watch CNN anymore, once and a while I'll see what Anderson Cooper is talkling about but now that he has his own tv talk show I have no reason to watch CNN at a glance. I'm only online because I like reading the blogs and commenting.

    October 12, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. Annirich

    I was truly embarrassed. Biden was not only low-class but he lied. To think that we have a muslimmarxist and a clown in the White House is deplorable.

    October 12, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. wally

    I have been watching political debates since the Kennedy debate. Anyone who doesn't see that Joe Biden won that debate must be living under a rock somewhere. To complain about the man laughing, smiling, and interrupting is equally ridiculous. You can't let the other guy say anything, if you know it's wrong, then you give the impression that he's telling the truth. That's what happened to Obama. What kind of a person thinks it's OK to be led to the gallows as long as the other guy is nice about it.The most important thing is not to be nice but, to tell the truth and get the facts out their so the people can decide. Any buffoon can act nice. Then you might end up with a buffoon as President. Oh, wait a minute that already happened with W. How dumb is the average voter anyway? Completely ridiculous.

    October 12, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Bob

    Ryan won. No doubt.

    They can bicker all they want about little specific figures, but Ryan made the key point: There is NO WAY to tax enough to pay for all the spending the Democrats want to do!

    Ryan also made the key point that you can increase tax revenue while decreasing rates. Biden looked like a lost child. And BTW, the "Bush Tax Cuts" did not cost anything! Bush actually collected over a trillion dollars more in tax revenue than Clinton, even after you factor out inflation! And that's despite 9/11 and Bill Clinton's tech BUBBLE bursting just as Bush came into office. Here's why: All things being equal, lower tax rates can actually increase total tax revenue received. It's called the Laffer Curve. People have more incentive to work and take investment risk, and rich people have more incentive to allocate their income to the U.S. rather than hide it in foreign countries with lower tax rates.

    October 12, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Nobody

    Nobody won the debate...the American people just lost 2 hours of their time. These debates are nothing but theatre and shanangins. The voters did not learn anything from this debate.

    October 12, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. Sarah

    When Mitt Romney was rude and interrupted President Obama, everyone thought he was great. Everyone said his style was awesome and President Obama need a more style. Now Joe Biden did the same thing that Mitt Romney did and now everyone is saying he was rude and did not like his style. I think Joe Biden was terrific. He fact Check Ryan the whole night. You can't lie about everything and think you will get away with it. Obama/Biden all the WAY!

    October 12, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. Vote 2012

    II agree with Michelle Lowe, CNN has turned into FOX News

    October 12, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. TheTruth

    Quote from another source: "If right-wingers want to talk about respect, ok fine. But let me ask you a couple things: Which was more disrespectful – Biden interrupting Ryan, or Joe WiIson standing up in the middle of a nationally televised address to a joint session of Congress and shouting "You Iie!" at the President? Which was more disrespectful – Biden smiling, or a meeting of GOP officials on the night of Obama's inauguration and vowing not to help America get back on track, not to help bring jobs back to US shores, but to do nothing other than make Obama a "one term President" at all costs? Which was more disrespectful – Biden calling out Ryan's rhetoric, or a right-wing governor publicly discussing LEAVING THE UNION just because Obama was elected...or how about high profile right-wing pundits openly advocating a MlLlTARY COUP against the President? That's right – actually publicly advocating for the armed forces of the US to detain the President, his family, and his staff, and actually turning America into a miitary dictatorship. You can look it up if you want. Even W was not subjected to this level of open mockery from elected officials. If you want to talk about being respectful, then you best start there."
    My sentiments EXACTLY!

    October 12, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. DE Miller

    I haven't been a big Biden fan but it was clear he won the debate. He seemed more believable too. I am going to be careful in the future about believing any validity to CNN polls. Who the heck are you polling?

    October 12, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. jazz

    Biden’s facial expressions and his sneering laughs are so disgusting and make him look like a fool. His whole party seems to do the same types of facial expressions and sneering laughs like it is their common thread. It is a very sarcastic and demeaning way to act. Typical way to try to make anyone feel downgraded, well guess what, people are smarter than you think Biden and it just makes you look bad.

    October 12, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. He'sbeenusingbrandx

    There's nothing quite as entertaining as watching committed liberals lose their mind when they're on the cusp of losing power. What's even better this time is the probability that they won't be entrusted again with the WH for perhaps a generation. A crushing loss in this year's election with have Democrats running as far away from the far left liberal Obama years as they can. This ensures more conservative Democrats and therefore more reasonable policy. Good for the country, but bad for the hard left.

    October 12, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. jR DawizKid

    Um, hell, this was a debate not a play-date at the playground. If Ryan has a problem with VP Biden's relentless stating of the facts, calling out Ryan on his blatant nonsensical lies, and shedding light on the Romney/Ryan campaigns maniacal scheme to say that they care but actually do nothing for those less-fortunate; then I am sure Ryan can not handle the job of being VP.

    I'm not saying President Obama is perfect. I am saying that we need to get out of his way, let him truly start with his agenda. Unlike his first term where at every step (remember the mantra, the GOP's goal "I hop he fails") stop him. You know treat the man as if he were a traditional president instead of some affirmative action occupier of "Our White House". When the opposition from day one, started criticizing President Obama's literal movements; I knew that their utter hatred of the fact that he was elected would be more exposing than Hurricane Katrina ever did.

    Give this man what he deserves a real fair shake and not just one out of guilt.

    God Bless President Obama, God Bless America, God Bless the People of Earth; and no one else!
    A Independent for America

    October 12, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. NC Mom

    I thought Biden explained the positions well. I don't care about the image stuff. I think Biden won.

    October 12, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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