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. Susan

    I know others said it, but Ryan (who I don't like) came across as the better statesman. Biden, for all his years in government, experience, and charm, came across as extremely unprofessional. It matters as much as content and facts.

    October 12, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. VCP

    Biden could not wait for his turn to make his statements. He kept interrupting Ryan throughout the debate and making wierd faces. Would you want him to be the future President of the United States if god-forbid something happens to the President? I say NO!

    October 12, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Pinewalker

    excuse me CNN but what a bunch of malarkey as your favorite politician would say! Any poll you report that slightly shows a Romney/Paul advantage is explained to the nth degree and any poll out there that shows an Obama/Biden lead is just given as fact. I'm not really sure how CNN correspondants can sleep at nigth with thir unfair biased. I actually had to go to BBC to get unbiased reporting of last night's debate. CNN-slanting left, MSNBC-slanting left, CBS-slanting left, Fox News-slanting right. Are there no more honest journalists minus their possey of republican/democratic startegist cronies??

    October 12, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Rod

    Did we watch the same debate? Biden won this all over!! First I am dem and openly state Romney won the first one, but Biden Clearly won this one. CNN wow as always reporting falsehoods and propaganda that all other agencies are reporting just the oposite. Speaks volumes of your watchers. GOB Telecast here no neutrality here. Fox is no better.

    In fact since the GOP deregulated radio and television ownership via the FCC Jornalisim is no longer in America, just corporate SPIN.

    October 12, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. stormeeatl

    Last week most Dems had enough integrity to admit that Obama lost that debate. But since "integrity" and "Republican" rarely fit in the same sentence these days, of course the Republicans are not going to admit their golden boy lost. But all you hear is that Biden was "rude" or "crazy" or about his laughing and smiling, face it, they would have roasted him no matter how he reacted. This is microcosm of what a lot of liberals have been upset at Obama for, that he doesn't need to be "courteous" to Republicans since they are going to hate him and rake him over the coals no matter what, so he needs to be true to his beliefs and call the Republicans out for their lies, and Biden did do that. Of course the Republicans are also making the "rude" and "crazy" remarks because deep down they know that is all they have, their golden boy got schooled on the issues

    October 12, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. keepingup1

    Throughout both debates the Republican party were given more time than the Democratic party. Has the media decided that want Romney and Ryan to win. I hope the American people saw what I saw and does not let the media bias affect the issues. Ryan did not answer the questions all he can't doing was saying what the President hadn't done. What are they going to do better. His party is the reason why the country is in the shape we're in. They don't care about the working poor. He put this "oh America we know how you are suffering and We who put you in this place, will help you out of it; We can't tell you how YET, but we will do it. Give me a break. Tell me how. Are you going to stop giving taxes breaks to companies sending jobs overseas; are you going to raise tariff on bringing produce into the United States, are you going to make the rich pay more taxes. I don't believe you will. As for abortion, I agree with Biden. I don't believe in abortion but I believe people should have a choice. Abortion is like religion. Freedom to choose which religion you believe; freedom to be pro-life or pro-choice. Stick to the issues. How are the Republican party going to make this a prosperous country where all man are created equal in being able to provide for themselves and their children.

    October 12, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. wisdom

    u don't just talk bcse u wnat to, ok biden won vthis debate for a fast.

    October 12, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Liz

    Who do you people poll? I dont know one person who thinks that Ryan won. We all thought he was unprepared, knew nothing about foreign affairs and constantly lied about the President's record.

    October 12, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Mike G.

    From this article:
    " 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."

    Now that one sentence about this polling sample says it all!
    How the heck can it be well within the margin of error when the polling participants were mostly republicans??

    October 12, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. kikik66

    I have followed CNN for many years because I have always felt they were pretty balanced when it came to politics. Until last night when their very own poll on their front page showed a 61/35 win for Biden but their "breaking news banner" had is 48/44 for Ryan.... lost all my respect guys. you now rank up there with fox for me now when I will be checking the days news.

    October 12, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. terriebari

    CNN said this morning that their poll only included those who were Dems and Reps. with a slightly larger portion being Reps. They did not include undecideds. WHAT IS THE POINT AND HOW IS THAT EVEN CREDIBLE?!

    October 12, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. daGubmint

    Biden lost my respect when he wouldn't let Ryan finish a sentence. He behaved like a spoiled child.

    October 12, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. Obama Biden2012

    Clearly, majority of you are whiners. Vice President Joe Biden KO young Ryan. Everyone was so focused on Biden clearly, just clearly you have a bias, myopic vision of the debate. Sir Ryan did not have no facts, did not present a concrete plan for medicare, job creation or how would the middle class be impacted for their tax plan. Lets talk business, the Republicans were the ones who put this great nation in the worst economic down pour in history, Republicans do not have a plan nor will they create jobs. Biden did a great job! A+

    October 12, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. lefty367

    48% to 44% isn't a draw. It's a statistically valid fact, CNN. If undecided voters like myself can't count on you to fairly report the results without attaching a biased headline, myself and others will get our news elsewhere. We're not stupid to see when you're showing your bias.

    October 12, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. CavPilot

    Biden came across as panicky and desperate... like part of a team that is losing ground and is beginning to see the writing on the wall...

    October 12, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. djv01

    It really makes no difference to voters when it comes to the VP debate. You vote for the top of the ticket and most voters have made up their minds. You may get a few swings after the next 2 debates but not much.

    IMO, if Biden couldve toned it down and not been such a buffon at times he pulls off a big win but his lack of control physically and mentally cost him, but again, not much play either way.

    October 12, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Jam.Nat

    Biden typified American Liberalism, condescending know-it alls who are cluless when it comes to real world economics and international politics. They have no plans for the future so they instead attack and ridicule their opponents, oh excuse me I meant enemies, Obama's own words.

    October 12, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. carry

    I didn't watch the debate on TV last night because I wanted to watch it more than once... I watched it 3 times now...and listened to both sides...where I heard false statements... I noticed others... Biden's facial expressions when the issue of the terrorist attacks came up...and the issue of Obamacare ...watch him..he knows he is not telling the truth...and over shouting someone isn't being respectful in an adult debate.

    Romney did interrupt Obama but he did not do it in the disrespectful manner of Biden and did not made board statements as Biden. According to Biden... we should have world peace under Obama , Obama has united all the world leaders under his plan of action.

    October 12, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. chrs

    What station was the second debate on, because people weren"t watching the same one based on what they say happen.

    October 12, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Joe Biden has always been an obnoxious bully. He is used to bullying anyone he gets on the senate hotseat. In this case, he figured he had Ryan on the hotseat because of the biased moderator (she had Obama at her wedding). THAT's totally biased. Biden, as usual, acted like the bullying fool he always is. What else is new?

    October 12, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Deb Walker

    Jack Kennedy is back! Just look at Ryan! Jack Kennedy was for the people! The Democratic Party has changed so much since the 60's that jack Kennedy wouldn't be a dfl'er...... Just look at working people.. The Democratic Party is no longer for the middle class but dependency on government. Jack Kennedy was for the middle class and Ryan is young open minded, handsome, and intellectually gifted! The Romney Ryan ticketed can do it! I was a democratic all my life but the Democratic Party changed in a big way!! I would love hearing more from Ryan and his unique character to work together across the lines to get things done!!!! Way to go Ryan!

    October 12, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. veesrock

    I personally don't understand the early polling, but perhaps it was just that.... too early. Biden clearly had a command of each and every topic, complete with hard facts. Ryan just seemed to be outmatched and his youth and inexperience hindered him. His script wasn't strong enough to hold up to Biden's well thought out responses. As for their methods, Biden was more aggressive, but his tactic seemed to mirror Romney's approach in the 1st debate. If that's so, then why was Romney applauded for it, yet Biden is being criticized. That in itself makes no sense. Ryan really didn't say anything of any substance and was actually confused about Afghanistan. Why would we rather send our own troops into the most dangerous areas as opposed to letting the trained Afghans do it. So much of these debates come down to "common sense" and "trust". Do you really feel that Romney and Ryan have your (middle class) interests in mind? It's hard to fathom how anyone could believe that, but to each their own.

    October 12, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. Bob

    Biden came across as a buffoon. As an independent I cannot vote for such a tool. Biden certainly changed my vote last night.. from Obama to Romney.

    October 12, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. Joyce

    Biden missed the opportunity to behave like a sage, wise public servant, and instead chose to insult his opponent by openly laughing at him. When in such a debate, it is important to listen intently to your opponent and act respectfully, no matter what that person says; it's simply debate ettiquette.

    I was embarassed for Biden, watching him laugh like a fool – and laughing at statements that weren't even funny, not even as an inside joke. He could have acted as a role model for the up and coming Paul Ryan, and set the tone for the evening. Instead, his smirks and laughter just made him look like a has been.

    October 12, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  25. Tony

    I saw the debate yesterday and hands down Joe Biden won. Paul Ryan is still an unexperienced person from Wisconsin and needs to get out a bit more. Biden is a very strong VP and in the event of something happening to the President you need to think who has the capability to lead the US (one of the major activities that a VP will do). I just can't see Ryan taking the reigns in case Romney can't lead.

    October 12, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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