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. bigtimeusa

    Fox News anchor Chris Wallace hammered Vice President Joe Biden's excessive smiling and laughing during the debate, saying that he's never seen anyone be so disrespectful in a presidential or vice presidential debate.

    And Wallace said that he'd seen most of them — all but the first four in 1960. He called his demeanor "unprecedented."

    "I don't believe I've ever seen a debate in which one participant was as openly disrespectful of the other as Biden was to Paul Ryan tonight," Wallace said.

    He added: "It was openly contemptuous and disrespectful."

    October 12, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    This isn't a horse race. Stop pretending this election is close.

    October 12, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. Ed - NH

    Any non-6 figure,(real) middle class American who supports the Republican platform needs to have their head's examined. Do you understand you will loose your health care deduction, which most of us take for granted as pretaxed, along with the mortgage interest deduction for starters. I am sure that willreally help the average real middle class family. The R's seek only to polarize wealth, and turn these hard-working middle class folks into an $8.00 per hour, no benefit (health care, vacation, etc) labor pool for them to exploit. Wake up people!

    October 12, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. LWS

    Interesting that people say that Biden was rude and looked like he was on something when Willard Romney did the same thing during the presidential debate last week. As an independent it looked as if VP Biden had taken charge of each conversation, back them with facts and Paul Ryan was having a hard time disputing those fact. Both did a very good job and should be proud but Biden did what Willard Romney did last week.

    October 12, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. food

    Dear Mr. Ryan,
    I cannot wait till the athiest gain enough power to stop people like you. The supreme court is here to protect us from people like you and your religious demands that you want everyone to obey. As you stated you want elected officials to rule on womens issues (abortion), period and end of story, well I am sorry to inform you there is a system of checks and balances in this country and no one branch gets to have it their way 100% of the time.

    October 12, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. Dan

    Call it a draw? Most of the stats that are listed in the article from the poll conducted by CNN shows that the people CNN polled favored Paul Ryan! Then, since thye CNN poll numbers don't work out the way CNN wants they cite the CBS poll. The real losers are the American people who can't get the straight scoop from any news organization.

    October 12, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. Mark

    Why would I vote for the same stuff we experienced the last 4 yrs? What has Obama done do make me vote for him. Government run Health Care? The government cannot even run the post office! I think a change is needed. As for the debate, Paul was calm and respectfull, while Biden came arcross as very arrogant to me. As for substance, I believe the Romney/Ryan ticket have fresh ideas on job creation, especially on energy independence. Paying 4.50 a gallon out here in California is absurd!

    October 12, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. NOPARTISANS

    I don't see how Ryan could possibly hold any advantage when it comes to being it touch with the middle class's problems. Most of his answers were seeded with lies and often tried to sway from the real question and worse, the truth. Biden on the other hand tackled the issues and made clear his stance. The Vice President definitely had the better performance.

    American needs to stop sympathizing with smooth-talking liars like Romney and Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. FrayedJeff

    Seems to me that CNN knows the Fox crowd is looking for a new home, and CNN want's to be their new landlord. Hey CNN, the rest of America knows Biden took the win. Why are your numbers wrong?

    October 12, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. TR711

    Are you liberals serious? Joe Biden looked like the good ol boy arrogant liberal he really is. Keep giving our Federal Government more of our money to waste and more power and only those on the correct side of the political isle will stand a chance in the future. Socialism does not work and at the end of the day that is what Obama, Biden and the rest of the liberals trying to ruin this country are really all about. There are plenty of Americans out there like myself in the middle class that are not members of either party, nor the religious right that will not vote for Obama. Sure Romney isn't perfect (what candidate is?) but if he is 1% more for smaller government he has my vote. We all pay way to much in local, state and federal tax that is then sent oversees or is wasted here at home while our national debt continues to climb. This election is about way more than Obama vs Romney or Biden vs Ryan. It is about which path this country takes for the next 20 years in my opinion. We really need someone even more fiscally conservative than either candidate.

    October 12, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. alan

    if only obama would man up and accept the fact that the libya tragedy happened on his watch.

    (biden's first major gaffe occurred when he spouted that "iran doesn't have a weapon!")

    Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 12, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. anthony

    you must be joking . did you only poll republicans or are you being paid to slant this poll? biden won by a large margin. everyone was waiting for ryan to cry! lets try some reality cnn !!!

    October 12, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. obama2012

    its always some republican poiting blame,face it Biden won

    October 12, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. RvG

    One thing I just don't understand...why the question about abortion and how their faith affects their opinion and believes?
    Stop already asking questions that are PERSONAL. Religion, faith should NEVER EVER be involved in any political topic. Nor should abortion be. No one but the people involved should be making that decision and definitely not the state or the government. One's faith/religion is different then the others and there are people that don't practice any religion so who's is the better person? Political decisions should be made on common sense and have common ground with ALL people and should never be based directly to any faith or religion foundation.

    October 12, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. Jake

    Why is it that in cnn.com homepage the poll shows 61% Biden to 39% Ryan ?

    Strange.............

    October 12, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. jim

    I found myself watching Biden's smirks and smiling and laughing plus constantly cutting Ryan off to really degrade any thing he was saying.I'm a democrat and was embarassed.I'm leaning towards voting Republican this time.We need change, i thought we had it 4 years ago and i was wrong.

    October 12, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. BobRayTalbot

    Hello!!! Is anybody home at CNN?? You call it a draw, and then in the next few paragraphs you outline that Ryan was seen by his audience as the winner by 4 points. And he was seen as the most likable of the two by 10 points!! Can you guys ever do a straight story without skewing it to Obama? Is that even possible for you anymore?

    October 12, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Maria_Maria

    It's amazing how many American sheeple are trapped in the false left-right paradigm. The Republicrats are destroying this country. End the Wars; End the Fed, End the Police State. Vote for liberty and end the tyranny.
    No Robamney 2012!

    October 12, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    BIDEN WON THIS... HE was CONFIDENT and had COMPLETE ANSWERS. These stats shown on this page is WRONG!!!

    October 12, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. Tom

    How would one characterize Biden's behavior? Simply childish. He complained over and over that he wasn't getting his fair share of the time, yet the clock clearly showed that he ended up with more time than Ryan. He smirked, mocked, jeered, interrupted, and laughed at his challenger. Clearly he would have been kicked out of any Little League game for his behavior. It is time to kick him out of the White House.

    October 12, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. Dawn

    I think some of the press are being too polite calling the VP debate a draw. It clearly was not. Biden was all over Ryan when Ryan twisted the truth. Ryan had no answers on foreign policy and couldn't differentiate his campaigns position from what the Obama administration is already doing. On domestic issues Ryan had no specifics. He sat there with a smirk on his face almost the whole time. I found that more offensive than Bidens laughing at time. Some times Ryan's responses were a bit laughable. Biden dominated and was the clear winner. .

    October 12, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. Dingle

    Interesting that Ryan wins by 4 points in Cnn's own poll and they call it a draw...LOL!

    October 12, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Cole

    I actually voted for Obama last election. It is sad to see how little he has actually done for us these last four years. He has not made changes that will benefit the economy. Businesses have so much cash on hands and until they have a president in office they can trust, our economy will continue to suffer. Vote Romney, he has proven to be a successful businessman and governor.

    October 12, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. LLH

    C,mon, you can't be serious CNN.

    If taking control of the debate is how to win a debate then VP Biden wins! (just as Romney). If providing logical, substantive answers to questions is how to win a debate then VP Biden wins!!!

    I really liked the fact that he kept a constant smile (isn't that what everyone was saying was lacking in Obama).Really I wish I knew what he used to get his teeth so pearly white so I can do the same to mine!

    October 12, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. JBS

    Romney was FAR worse last week. Rude and condescending not only to President Obama but also to the moderator of the debate. Joe Biden OWNED Lyin' Ryan last night and the GOP bullies are running to mommy because the tables got turned on them! Give me a friggin' break. I have to wonder about the CNN poll – who the heck did they ask? To those who think CNN is a "liberal biased" station – no... it isn't. It's Fox News lite.

    October 12, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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