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. Just say no to Romney

    Did anybody ever think that Biden interrupted, laughed, and made those facial gestures because he thinks that Romney and Paul are full of crap? Romney and Paul still to this day, no matter how many times they are asked, can't answer how their tax plan is going to work. It is truly a joke that they still can't answer questions that have been asked of them all year.

    I'm not saying that I like Obama or Biden, because I personally don't feel that they are doing everything they should, but the U.S. is going to be in a ton of pain if Romney and Paul are elected. I take that back, everybody with the exception of the rich are going to be in pain. The simple fact that Romney thinks it's fair that he only pays 14% income tax while most of the middle class pays 28+% is all anybody needs to know about how his administration is going to be run.

    October 12, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. Ms. Morton

    Holy Smokes! How can you say "Biden was not rude" Interupting someone while they are speaking? Mocking Mr. Ryan by facial negative expressions? I'm sorry, but for a Vice President with years of a Political background, should have just a little more respect for his oponent................It is not a race to see who is best qualified to be rude and abrupt. Perhaps Mr. Biden can learn something , other than quoting #'s and attacking responses. The world is watching. Set an example and may the best candidate win..................based on projection of what they hope to achieve in the most powerful office in the world. I live in the country just above the United States and as your little sister , we Canadians are watching this election, very closely as we stand proud along side of our Big Brother ,USA. with respect and admire the achievments you have put forth in third world countries, for the betterment of all to live in peace and harmony. We stand together. We are North America.
    Thank you

    October 12, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Jim

    Rude, drunk behaving Biden made a fool of himself, I can see why Obama picked him. One of few people dumber than Obama. How can anybody negotiate with a fool like Joe, its easy to see why this government is screwed up.

    October 12, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. kramer

    Paul Ryan looks like He should be wearing a Hitler mustache and SS uniform as Republicons Want to be Dictators as He admitted about Abortion..!!!

    Everyone is PRO-Life and Nobody wants Abortions!!!
    But Only Republicons are ANTI-CHOICE because they need to be Dictators..!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Vote 2012

    Republicans/Tea Partyers/Conservatives whatever they call themselves are rude, mean, arrogant, liers, haters, hypocrites any and everything negative.

    October 12, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. anonymous

    I so disagree with this poll Biden hit it out of the park. It's just to bad that so many people believe the republican rehetoric or as Biden stated malarkey. Sure Biden was emotiional democrats are passionate people he cares and will fight for what it right. Ryan on the other hand just wants to win. Kentucky really........... are there any liberarls out there.

    October 12, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. dood

    Biden walked all over Ryan. Biden was the clear winner.

    October 12, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Ricky USA

    I was shocked that after all the news reports, fact checks, Congressional hearings, daily security briefings that VP Biden stated that the Ambassador didn't ask for more security. He is the VP does he not have a clue about the latest Terror Attack against the USA? State Dept Officials were watching the attack in real time in DC, What a joke Mr. VP!

    October 12, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. Jim

    Biden should be selling Chrysler K cars

    October 12, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. Nancy Van Steenhuyse

    I shudder to think what would happen to this country if Biden ever became president. If he can't be respectful and keep his composure during a simple debate, how would he do as president in times of stress? Being able to listen and not interrupt is also very important for a politician. No wonder the democrats get nothing done in Washington, they can't stop talking long enough to hear the other guy!!

    October 12, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. DLZ

    Here's what it boils down to...Biden told the American public what his plans are and where he stands..Ryan continued the Romney msg of 'we won't provide any information, or any factual data that shows our plan works or fails, you just need to trust us'. What amazes me are Republicans are the most untrustful people on the planet, and they fully well support this guy knowing he can't explain anything. Sorry 'trust me' isn't a solution, it's a trainwreck on the horizon.

    October 12, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Stephon

    I find it interesting that CNN Polling Director Keating Holland felt compelled to interpret her own poll data so that no one would believe that Ryan actually won the debate. Essentially, she has disqualified any validity to her own poll. Well done!!

    October 12, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  13. mowey

    Biden took this one. He made Ryan look like a kid.

    October 12, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. P.D. M.D.

    Cisco Chris wrote:
    "These repugnicans deserve zero respect – I was hoping biden would just smash Ryan's teeth into his head. We have zero responsibility to even talk to these pigs, let alone cooperate with them on legislation, or debate them. Ryan's lucky he even got air-time with Joe. What's a republican good for? The gas chamber!"
    Cisco Chris, I don't believe Ryan HAS any teeth. Or perhaps they have already been smashed in by someone else.
    I heartily agree with everything you wrote but the gas chamber part. Not all of them have to go there. Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Rice DEFinitely so.
    In fact all the Republicans in current Congress should be tried for Treason; as they have conspired to undermine progress, and have in fact kept the country down, all to get the President's job. They have NOT done the people's will who VOTED Pres Obama into office. Their pledge was to THE AMERICAN people, NOT that kook Grover Norquist!
    That alone is enough to get them all fired!!

    October 12, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. Hope

    Joe Biden loved to interrupt his opponent in hopes that Ryan would lose his thought. I felt he acted like the classroom bully. I felt Ryan Paul acted with dignity.

    October 12, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. Robert

    Joe did a lot of laughing, but these subjects are serious. I guess 4 more years would just be more fun and games.

    October 12, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. carola

    How did Ryan gave false numbers, we all know the unemployement is not any better since Obama took over and he has done nothing to improve, how could this be false, I ask again?

    October 12, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. Wisconsin Boy

    I feel like I'm living in the twilight zone. Ryan got smoked lastnight, and wasn't able to tell as many lies as his boss. The moderator killed it. Plus fact checkers called Ryan out on the Medicare increases, THEY WILL GO UP 6K! How can people even consider this party after so many blatant lies?!? OPEN YOUR EYES FOR CHRISTS SAKES!

    October 12, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. Montana Gal

    I agree with Ann's comment. Every time Biden start smickering and butting in, I wanted to hit him along side the head and tell him to shape up and listen - he might learn something!

    October 12, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. Austin

    You're wording on the amount of Republicans and Democrats was very misleading? It makes is sound like an over abundant majority of people watching the debate tonight were Republican when "ONE THIRD" is only 2.3333% more than 31% lol

    October 12, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. To

    Joe Biden was embarrassing. Sad day for America to see such a sleazy performance when the stakes are so high.

    October 12, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Sue Smith

    Vice President Biden won the debate hands down. He came off as knowledgeable and sincere. His laughter echoed my reaction to some of the words that came out of his opponent's mouth. I to wish Joe had been slightly more reserved with his laughter because I knew the Republicans would pounce on this, as it was the only fodder they could have found in Joe's performance. The Vice President came across like a grown man watching an opponent's childlike performance and having an honest response to it. Congressman Ryan came across as a sneering pompous little brat. As to the Vice President being rude, I expect anyone, including Ryan, to interrupt their opponent's misleading rhetoric if necessary. Like a jury, once a uninformed voter hears something ,whether true or false, it is difficult to unhear it. That voter may not seek clarification or the truth anywhere else. The facts must be presented loud and often when the opportunity is present.

    October 12, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Anna

    what is this a joke???? your won quick poll shows Biden 61% and here you say 44%, you need your own fact checkers before posting anything, CNN not on top of things anymore, what happened? much better when Turner was in charge. getting worse and bias by minute....
    be honest will you?????

    October 12, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. Reddy

    By end of the debate, happy for Rep Ryan. At times was worried that Joe might bite people out there, besides his barking and canine behaviour.

    October 12, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. Maxright

    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 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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