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. Sean

    Biden was a screaming lunatic that tried to steal the show. Ryan was clam and collective. I voted for Obama last election and he has brought nothing but more debt. <-- Someone please challenge this, cause you can't. Almost doubled the deficit?!! Thats what happens when you give a checkbook to someone who has not proven track record of leading or political knowledge. Hitler was a great speaker too people! Romney/Ryan have my vote this time.

    October 12, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. Ben Gay

    The biggest malarkey of the night was Biden pretending he understood math and lecturing Ryan on it. Now that was funny

    October 12, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. Ordnry1

    When Romney was pushy at the last debate, he wasn't called RUDE. Now, Biden is being "rude" and not "vice-presidential" for laughing at Ryan's false remarks and comments? Romney didn't show any respect to President Obama and that was alright? Anyway, I am NOT voting for R&R.

    October 12, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. theqmaster

    Ryan lies were so big I can't believe people think he won! VP Biden had stop him Ryan since Ryan is no Jack Kennedy. On that line, didn't Romney say the plan they have was not tried before ? Why is Ryan saying it was tried before ? Who's lying ? Confused people are easy to maneuver, is that the new plan ?

    Ryan got a real workout with VP Biden and barely escaped alive.

    October 12, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. theqmaster

    BTW glad to see a democrat with a spine! Way to go VP Biden!

    October 12, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. mroger82

    I think it was a draw at least on substance. However, I like many (especially from comments I've seen on facebook) believe the Vice President came off as pompous, dismissive, and arrogant. These comments I noticed were made mainly by females.

    October 12, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. katelyn

    Joe Biden came out looking like a clown with all his laughing, especially at the Libya comment. I didn't like that.

    October 12, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. In The Middle

    As a former Democratic Party official myself, I have to say that I was embarrassed by Joe Biden's behavior. When you check the facts you quickly realize that when Biden didn't have an answer he simply made one up and tried to deflect with rude, disrespectful, boisterous outbursts. One example, Biden said the reason the US didn't intervene in Syria was because Syria was five times larger than Egypt and then implied that Rep. Ryan was an idiot who didn't understand world affairs. But in reality, Egypt is twice the size of Syria. Those antics and his creepy smile destroyed his credibility in my eyes. I also thought his suggestion that it was important to announce our withdrawal plans from Afghanistan was lunacy. You can tell the president of Afghanistan your intentions and he can ensure the Afghan's "stand up", but you never, ever announce critical military Intel to the enemy. Had anyone other than Obama done that, they would be prosecuted for treason. Biden's answer also implied that our training investment had utterly failed and there was very little confidence in the Afghan army to manage their own affairs after we leave. Isn't that an admission that Obama's foreign policy has failed in Afghanistan?

    October 12, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. tired of bama-biden

    Why is everyone so hung up on who 'won'. Nobody won in that debacle of a debate... least of all us American people who care about our country. Biden showed his true self, a crass and angry old man who pretends to care about people other than himself. Ryan showed his true self, an intelectual politician who speaks a lot but says little. Only real choice is 1) stay with bama-biden and ruin the country sooner or 2) give Rom-Ryan a crack at saving the country. Doubtful Rom-Ryan can be successful but 100% clear bama-biden are failures

    October 12, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    "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."

    October 12, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. GarretJoseph

    I was undecided until last night. Romney won me over last week and Ryan confirmed it. I'm switching my vote from Obama to Romney after voting for Obama 4 years ago.

    October 12, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. John McFadden

    So let me understand this correctly, Biden says -" I refuse to impose it [my Christian values related to abortion] on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and - I just refuse to impose that on others" but yet he is defend IMPOSING the Obamacare REQUIREMENT to provide for taxpayer funded abortions, in violation of so many people's religious beliefs? If you doubt this google – hobby lobby abortion+mandate

    October 12, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. r

    I was undecided until last night...Obama was horrible and Biden seems like a classless jerk. Romeny just won my vote

    October 12, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Loy

    No way in HELL Ryan won the debate last night. Biden took him to school. He looked like a deer in the
    headlights. His fuzzy math does not add up.

    October 12, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. ron

    i love you joe you won

    October 12, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. Billy

    Biden was unprepared and got outplayed by ryan. If you think republicans are anti family, your wrong because obama is raising tax on the rich? the rich to him is actually mid class

    October 12, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. Carmon

    Biden won the debate. I didn't consider him rude at at.

    October 12, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Art Vandelay

    Um, 48% – 44% isn't a "split." It's a Ryan win.

    What – was Obama also invited to YOUR wedding?

    October 12, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  19. Dan

    "I always thought CNN was a more bias station when it came to this campaign guess I was wrong. Your getting to be more like FOX News. Guess I'll stay with MSMBC" - Unreal. Criticizing CNN for not manipulating raw statistics to create a landslide liberal victory, disappointed with a lack of bias (while ironically attacking FOX News for its bias), and threatening to take your viewership to a station that will feed the delusion that everybody agrees with your unequivocally correct outlook on politics and life.

    October 12, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. KennE

    Quote from article below.... Basically what they are saying is CNN's polls typically do not represent all parties equally.
    "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".

    October 12, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. mroger82

    I think it was a draw, at least on substance. However, I ( and many people who I've seen make comments on facebook), think the Vice President came off as pompous, dismissive, and arrogant. Most of these comments I've seen have come from females.

    October 12, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. Michael Lombardi

    As a democrat I am ashamed of Biden's performance last night. He was arrogant, and he acted like a child. He kept interrupting Ryan and being very rude as well as crying to the moderator "he gets 40 seconds but I only get 15". All he did was come across as a crybaby and made my party look worse then obama did this last week. I am born and raised democrat and for the last 68 years I have voted democrat, this may be the first year I vote republican.

    October 12, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. metaleadd55

    Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are Americas cape crusaders Batman and Robin

    October 12, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Charlies

    Not Fooled: Your statment below makes my day, the best I have read in this blog.

    Not Fooled

    Biden won the obnoxious, rude and disrespectful vote. Also the lies were astounding, inparticular with what happened in Libya, and the cost of healthcare.

    October 12, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Kathleen Neugent

    Why is it that when Romney, in the presidential debate, kept interupting Obama and the moderator, the media didn't call him 'rude'? I will tell you what's 'rude', it is telling lies to the American people like Romeny and Ryan do! KateCT

    October 12, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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