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. Corbi Sayler

    Style: Biden; Rude & arrogant. Ryan: respectful & knowledgeable. Substance: depends on who you're backing. Ryan may be too erudite for some. Biden lied about Bengazi & protecting the embassy.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  2. OpinionsToGo

    So if it is within the 5% error it means that there is a good chance that Ryan got 43% and Biden 49%...

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  3. tony

    Lol Biden obviously won the debate...oh and acted like a real human being

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  4. djm

    CNN, your poll was of 381 registered voters and that's what you base your results on???? Are you kidding me? Your "Quick Vote" on your Home page has, as of now, over 8500 responses and it is 65% for Biden and 35% for Ryan. Every other poll I've seen has Biden as the winner. Quit embarrassing yourself and either take your "poll" down or expand it enough to be credible. I am a registered voter and I think your poll is malarkey!

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  5. ryian

    Ryan was poweless.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  6. BaldEagle77

    I watched this debate. If we take CNN's margin of error (+/- 5%), Biden won 49% to Ryan 48%

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    I find it hard to believe that anyone truly believes Joe Biden won that debate. Must be biased opinions. Ryan dominated on almost every point.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  8. catmom2

    JOE. Hands down... better re-work that poll a bit.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  9. Dave

    I can't believe the people saying they are going to vote for Ryan because of his "manners and demeanor". Are you really voting for someone based off politeness instead of factual information??

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  10. Sergio Eo

    Have we reached the moment in history where Americans don't care when they are lied to their faces? If I was being lied to straight to my face I'd be doing a lot more than laughing and rolling my eyes. Kudos to Biden for maintaining his composure!

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  11. sandy46

    so a lot of republicans hit the polls fast. CNN is selling out. Biden won it on facts, He didn't have to get in Ryans face and run over the commentor like Romney pulled. Obama won it on facts also. Romney acted like the bully who was determined to cut off the kids hair because HE thinks he should rule the world. Romney is a brash, egotistical, unthinking, vulture, flip flopper, who should never have even qualified to run for gov or mass either based on where he was living. he never lived in his son's unfinished basement. the man just plain doesn't know the truth.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  12. MPLS, MN

    Independent. I couldn't get past Biden's laughing and unwillingness to let Ryan speak. Too much. Distracting and unprofessional.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  13. Jake

    This poll result is outdated...Biden crushed Ryan, period!

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  14. Nicholas

    Biden acted like a kindergartener. Lost the debate by being argumentative and condescending. But hey, that's the liberal way.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  15. dt

    What debate were you watching CNN?

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  16. Chris in NY

    This is why most Democrats like me stwitched away from CNN. CNN cooks their numbers against Obama. It was the same thing they did last week. They polled too many Republicans to make it seem like Obama is done. For people who claim to keep people honest they are so decitful you can smell it hundred miles away. Who watches CNN anyways.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  17. Angela Lee

    Why was it that shortly after the debate ended and I signed on to CNN blog about it I came across a posting by somebody-or-other @cnn who had a Who Won – Biden or Ryan (check off the one you think) quick poll going showing Biden 62% and Ryan 37% and yet on CNN news (and now included on this page) you show 48% Ryan 44% Biden?

    Curiouser and curiouser....

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  18. dun

    are you kidding me?

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  19. Hugo

    Really people, are you saying that manners and face gestures are what should define an election??? What about substance, content? Of course Biden won the debate, he did what Obama couldn't, which is to shine light on all of the flip flopping and hypocricy of the Romney-Ryan campaign

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  20. NB

    Ummmmm, who did they poll??

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  21. Justme

    I watch CNN every morning, but for the the first time you guys COMPLETELY lost me. I have no idea what debate you guys were watching or who exactly you polled about this debate, but there is NO WAY Ryan won this. Perhaps your 'pollees' were more concerned with how upright the opponents sat or if they were using the correct fork at supper.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  22. lamarky

    if i was a tweeter I would let "Wolf" Leslie Blitzer aware of the comments off this blog. Can someone help me out?

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  23. Jube

    How about that lying Joe Biden? He without shame lied to the cameras and the American people and said he voted against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and said we couldn't afford that. Do they think people won't check the records? He voted for both. Unbelievable!

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  24. Snoski Rock

    Biden schooled him...Who did they poll? The kool aid drinkin' ones who belive this lyin' bunch??!?!

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  25. CJG88

    You have got to be kidding CNN...Biden was the clear winner...Ryan barely answered any questions.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
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