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. HonestHeart

    Joe Biden is a disgrace to the office he holds. It's a shame that we had a rude buffoon in that office. It's a bigger shame that the mediator didn't take 2 seconds to insist on courtesy. Bottom line is that you can't trust Biden – he's greasy, just like Obama.

    October 12, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Holly in CA

    The people polled by CNN clearly favored Ryan's performance and they want to call it a draw? Biden was rude, obnoxious and condescending. Heaven help us if something happens to Obama and he has to take over.

    October 12, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. EdR

    I'll give you one guess which party I trust my son's life to. To not send us into a needless war. To not spend trillions of dollars on re-building the Roman empire. Romney wants to expand our military, and expand our military presence around the world. Don't they think spending as much as the next ten countries combined on our military is enough? I'll take the guy with the level head, who is pulling us out of needless wars, expanding our relationships around the world, and has proven he will use the military to do what is necessary to protect our country and nothing more.

    October 12, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Gary

    QUOTE FROM ABOVE: 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.

    COMMENT: The last time I checked "One-third" (1/3) is equal to 33.33%. So if 33.33% were Republicans and 31% were Democrats and 34 percent were Independents, then that means Independents made up the majority.

    I initally read this as Republicans were the majority (obviously not), but upon further review, Holland meant, that CNN make a habbit of polling fewer Republicans. Why is that?

    October 12, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. TomGi

    I won. I watched the Yankees Orioles game instead. 13 innings.

    October 12, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Geek

    Ryan made more sense to me – when he was allowed to speak...Biden had great points, which in my opinion, were overshadowed by his behavior...how can a man with decades of experience in politics act like that....that's why the average person gets turned off by politics

    October 12, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. socstu

    Biden was on cue and clearly won the debate. His knowledge of foreign policy is far superior than that of Ryan. CNN! I am thru with you. MSNBC is where my TV will remain glued.

    October 12, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. J. Virgil

    Voters might want to consider this...Masachusetts, a liberal traditionally democratic state elected Mitt Romney as governor. This is the only elective office Mr. Romney has held. Massachusetts voters elected Scott Brown to the senate after the death of liberal Ted Kennedy in 2010. Yet today Mitt Romney has conceded he will not win the state and Brown is in a close race with democrat Warren.
    You might want to take a tip...the Republican party as refashioned since the McCain/Palin debacle is out of step with America.

    October 12, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. George

    Hey CNN how come all your panelists, pundits, strategist, and pollsters agree that it was a "tie." And the AMERICAN PEOPLE mostly say BIDEN won, not by a little, no, a smashing, crushing, steamrolling, win. There was no tie here, you are liars, your are frauds, you are corporate sellouts trying to save the Romney Campaign because BIG BUSINESS, aka. your masters, want Romney in. Screw you. Screw your lack of morals. Screw your lack of journalistic integrity.

    How dare you plant this LIE at the feet of the American people. Be ashamed, and resign, all of you. And fyi, this is coming from a long time watcher of CNN, and hater of Fox news. That should give you some perspective how badly you've screwed the pooch on this.

    October 12, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. starr

    So funny how Biden did what Romney did and was called disrespectful, Ryan played it like Obama did and he was called Presidential. HYPOCRITES.... funny how thing are different when they both did the same thing. Ryan did not give any specifics, I guess people like non information. I thought Biden did a good job he held it down, and gave Paul a run for his money and beat him to the finish line...Paul you are NO Jack Kennedy

    October 12, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. Robert.T

    I think that Biden's been a paper weight, or a door stop during this administration. All I saw was a person who tries to talk louder than the other. He's one of the most rude people i've seen!

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

    Hard to say who won. Easy to say who lost. The people of America. Joe Biden's behavior warranted his being taken out to the woodshed, but considering the fact that the moderator was a guest at the Obama wedding, she called hardly be accused of being objective. His lying regarding the attack in Benghazi is criminal. Every time Obama, Holder or Biden lie to cover themselves, Americans die. Congressional hearings were held on the morning of the debate, attesting to the requests for more security. And then clown claims no knowledge of this? Why do we, the people, allow this?

    October 12, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. jermaine

    Who the Heck did CNN call? These polls doesn't reflect the views of most minorites anyway and we will be the deciding factor in this election...

    October 12, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. pablo

    Amazing how the vice president can "LAUGH at what was supposed to be discussions about serious matters! What was so funny about so many topics discussed? What the hell is so funny about Iran? No threat? feel free to buy a ticket and go live there, let us know in a year what your opinion is. Maybe you can laugh with Joe, most of us can't. Biden looked like an ass laughing. What specific solution does he offer for anything last night? None! Obama / Biden believe that no idea is better than 1 idea! Laugh at Biden? it's not even worth it. Trying to make others look bad to make yourself look good never works Joe... at least not with people who are honest and have integrity, but in your own world, a different story. Keep up the joke Joe, laugh your way right on down the street to your home town where unemployment is up. Great job! You should be proud to support a president who rarely attends security meetings. What happenned in Lybia? How many times will that story change... ?

    October 12, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  15. David

    As a person's education level increases, so does their tendency to vote Democratic. If the American perople are so stupid they would vote Republican...let them. They obviously need to hurt alot more. The Republican policy will benefit me personally more than the Dempocratic policy. I just feel that we as Americans need to take care of those less fortunate. It is a fundamental difference in philosophy.

    October 12, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. Paul

    Anything Biden said of significance was buried deep in dew by his lack of civility. I cringe at the thought that he is a heart beat away from being our President. He represented four more years of nothing good for America.

    October 12, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. honeybee

    To Sherry12;21 pm
    You nailed it
    I love Joe and his Personality never forgetting where he grew up, looking out for the middleclass / poor people always has and he was the winner. by far ....... debating against a pack of more lies , fabricating .
    Rebublicans started this war with lies lies lies have these people forgotten that ?Now they continue ir lies all; they consider is the rrich getting richer .
    Take their overlied teabags and go home.
    Obama /Biden 2012 b

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

    Its really funny when they follow a CNN poll with this....

    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

    Was not the poll based on those who watched the debate... of course t will be based on that and not on the American public as a whole. I hate when Dems talk to Americans like we are all simple minded.

    October 12, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. Jazzy

    Why the only poll showed that Ryan won is CNN?

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

    Dear CNN,

    Before publishing a news article like this, be sure to have your own facts correct. According to your poll, Biden is the winner by 68%...f ing idiots. Yes, I know this was based on the moment you put the poll up but any good news organization will at least wait until the following morning if you want to get factual data instead of basing your comments off a few hundred people right after the debate.

    October 12, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. checkurmathcnn

    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.

    ok......

    October 12, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. frespech

    In a 4 round match 10 point must system 1st Round Romney 10 Obama 7
    2nd Round Biden 10 Ryan 9
    Stay Tuned 3rd Round Romney Obama
    Final Round Romney Obama

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

    Ryan won! WooHoo Go Romney/Ryan 2012

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

    Must have deeply pained CNN to actually post the results that Ryan won the debate.

    Scott

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

    Yep the right wing got their marching orders...when you see a 'topic' suddenly appear all being talked about instantaneously and simultaneously by a group of people like these right wingers saying 'biden was rude' then you know they have been coordinated and most likely paid for their time.
    You know it makes it so blasted obvious when you try that tactic right rightwingers?

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