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. LA Man

    Even with an unevenhanded monitor "helping" Joe, and 30 years more experience for Joe, Paul comes out on top; both in class and in facts. Joe did his best to try of diminish the better man, but Joe's lack of class came through louder than anything that fell from his lips.

    October 12, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. calvin

    so who won? if you are a democrat you listen to CNN CBS NBC ABC 48% for ryan 44% for biden but that was nnot what they want to say so out comes more poles that said biden won now all the kool air drinkers are nhappy

    October 12, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. Dan

    Mark October 12, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
    The Truth is hard to take now wait til November 7th.

    October 12, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. Polar Bear

    Win #2 for Romney/Ryan! Yeah! Now for #3 and #4 and the big #5, Nov. 6.

    October 12, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. T Khuu

    Here come the bully with doggy style attach. Send Micheal Vick next round to debate Joe.

    October 12, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Opinioncnn

    Biden exploded in clown laughs when Ryan unmasked the inability of obama's administration to propose a single balanced budget. Simply because obama wants to continue spending our tax money on the rich that voted for him, broken inefficient companies, and abortion promoter plans like obamacare. Ryan won the debate with elegance and brightness, not really difficult when your oponent is an ignorant self serving clown.

    October 12, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. veggiedude

    The CNN poll is different today – Biden won with 61% vote. This tells me that CNN jumped the gun last night. All the democrats were out partying the victory and did not participate in the poll until later. LOL

    October 12, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. yolanda

    I don't see anything wrong with the way the vice president acted so I don't know why people are trying to make it an issue. When the President did the debate people talked about how bad he did compare to Romney who acted worst than the Vice President and who had said worst things through out this entire event. I feel the vice president did better than the young man because he gave more straight answers. The young man did not give direct responses on overall subject matter and he act was fake drinking water like he was so thirsty! please

    October 12, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Gary – "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?"

    That's you poll accurately.. you don't ask 1/3 repub 1/3 democrat and 1/3 republican. 1/3 repbulcian too many. Why? 1/3 of americans are NOT registered republicans.... so this sample over- represents the republican viewpoint, which is why more people said Ryan won. Registered republicnas only make up 27% of Americans....

    October 12, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Polar Bear

    No matter who "won," Ryan resonated much better with the intelligent, calm, ratiional people who may be undecided. As if that is possible, e.g. to be undecided. Biden came across as a scrappy, Cheshire cat, loon.

    October 12, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Joe Vaughn

    Where's the vote button for this poll? How come I didn't get to vote for this poll? These are the questions that one should ask oneself.

    October 12, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. dominoe

    CNN....the "new" Fox......and "Wolf" Blitzer is leading the "pack".....*pun intendede* lol

    October 12, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Andy

    What is this CNN/ORC International Poll and who are they asking? Looks like only 384 people which is not very reliable. Now on the actual CNN poll on their site which you can track and with many more votes it looks like Biden won the debate last night and rightfully so. It was like a scene out of Leave it to Beaver where Biden was Ward Cleaver the intelligent man and Ryan was Eddie Haskell the sceaming, pull the wool over your head kid with pimples.

    CNN POLL:
    Who do you think fared better in the vice presidential debate?
    This is not a scientific poll
    Biden61%
    Ryan39%
    Total votes: 35774

    October 12, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. Mass. Resident

    I sincerely felt that Joe Biden won this debate hands down. He obviously had the facts on his side, and, contrary to the hypocritical cries from the right, I thought he was genuinely fed-up and disgusted with the Romney/Republican lies and distortion.

    October 12, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. Whatever......

    A lot of this commentary just proves that many Republicans would rather believe a pretty lie over the ugly truth any day of the week! Wake up!!!!

    October 12, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Patrick Portland

    Poor CNN...Poor MSNBC...Poor 3 major news networks...Poor NY Times, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle...this must be painful to watch the duo currently taking up space in the White House being shown how liitle they've done & how hard it is for them to defend their dismal record on so many fronts...considering you all have been propping them up for the past 4 years...these left wing media outlets have suffered as well...shown how unbalanced, biased, & not trustworthy you all are...you're in good company with Obama & company.

    October 12, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. California Gary

    Biden cleaned Ryan's clock, took his lunch money and sent him home crying to his mommy. As for his laughing demeanor........how can he keep a straight face when his opponent is talking such nonsense? To do anything other than laugh at it would be to assign it some level of gravitas.......of which it deserved none.

    October 12, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. Truc Ho

    This is a stupid Poll's result.
    Saying Ran win is just a stupid answer period.

    October 12, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. joy2have

    The comment of the previous poster seems to indicate that left wingers have no problem with rudeness. I hope that is not true! Biden's constant interruptions and smirks were not how I expect a debater to advance their position.

    October 12, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. yolanda

    The vice president won the debate since everyone seems to feel it needs to be judged. I believe the President and Vice President are presenting thier facts as to what they intend to do if they can stop being stopped by the repbulicans!! moreover, who won whomever you favor so you can't go on any polls cause people will only pick the indivdiual they want to win.

    October 12, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. George Cook

    Let's try it "one more time" CNN..and don't KO this one off the blog.....Biden Lost big time. he acted like a Big Bully, Arrogant, Rude, Interrupting Mr Ryan constantly and didn't do a thing for the Democratic ticket in 2012 except make it more positive for the GOP

    October 12, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  22. Lucy

    CNN, you are not fooling me. You are more biased than even Fox news! It's incredible. You picked a group of "undecided" voters who were actually 60% anti-Obama/Biden. your gimmicks as a news station make me sick. You focus on sensationalist stuff and sure that's works for you in getting viewers and ratings, but you've fallen dismally in terms of quality and honest reporting. Please stop masquerading as a legit news station, and please get rid of all the gimmicks.

    Biden won that debate hands down, and you know it. The reason republicans aren't even talking about Ryan's performance is because it was BAD!

    People CNN's agenda here is not pro democrat nor pro-republican. It is merely SENSATIONALIST. ALL THEY WANT IS RATINGS. DO NOT LOOK TO CNN FOR THE TRUTH.

    October 12, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. Andy

    Biden debated. Ryan could only keep repeating what he's been told to say.

    October 12, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. Susan

    I have to agree with the getleman who equated Biden to a used car salesman. He performance was awful. It was like a slimy used car salesman trying to make you buy what he was selling. He used theatrics to try to deviate from the path and tried to throw his opponent off track. When someone uses that much theatrics it reminds me of the two year old throwing a tantrum. I have to give Ryan credit he kept to his points eventhough he was interrupted time and time again. He kept cool under the bad behavior of Biden. I don't know that I could have been that nice. I liked the way Ryan took notes and formulated his answer before he spoke it came across as well spoken and sincere. Where Biden just appeareed as a cranky child that needed discipline.

    October 12, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. stevegee

    The American people were the real winners in the VP Debate. We got to see the real Joe - a rude, arrogant jerk who spews lies like the rest of the Obama administration.

    October 12, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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