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. C

    It's quite funny how quickly folks change their position when the shoe is on the other foot. When PRESIDENT Obama was polite in his debate... No low blows, he was seen as weak, or "lack-luster", but when VICE PRESIDENT Biden shows a little fire, he's a "jerk". Hummm... Maybe the TRUTH hurts. Romney is a lier who changes his position with the wind. GO GET'EM PRESIDENT Obama!!! GOD BE WITH YOU ALWAYS!

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    This poll is ridiculous, unless you've been living under a rock, everyone with eyes and ears and watched the entire debate would know that VP Biden schooled this ryan.

    Are you kidding? Please it is time to speak honest to the citizens like VP Biden did.
    ryan cannot explain so many questions, excuses excuses, even the moderator said he couldn't provide facts.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Ryan's presence owned the floor. He was on point, respectful, and offered clear solutions and facts supporting both how the Obama strategy has failed and how Romney will get us back on track. I am a very independent voter and I do not like Mitt Romney. The only reason I am voting Romney is because this country cannot survive four more years of Obama.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  4. independent voter

    being knowledgeable of economics, i like facts, the reality is paul ryan was lost in the facts, he was even flat out wrong on a 20% tax cut across the board and being able to still balance the budget without increasing taxes (removing deductions) on the middle class.

    joe biden did seem a bit condescending, but i can't let that get lost in the real substance of the debate... which were the facts.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  5. EZ

    The Poll numbers on the CNN vote screen was 66% for Biden, then they announced Ryan won.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  6. mudman

    A sample of 381 voters... good sample... NOT.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  7. lgads

    Sorry, but something's not right. This poll based on ONLY 381 registered voters gives Ryan the lead by 4% YETthe poll right on CNN's main page shows Biden winning 65% to 35% with over 8,000 people polled. CNN should be ashamed putting up such misleading information. Each day I'm more convinced that Sheldon Addelson and the Koch brothers have CNN on their payroll....something has changed at CNN in the last year...smh...

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  8. chale

    where is this poll? JOE was wonderful. i don't understand this arguement that he smiled too much. He made EXCELLENT points about Afghanastan, women's rights and abortion – clear distinction about imposing one's faith onto others, medicare, and care of soldiers. joe spoke to the people. i thought he did very well. i'm surprised anyone is calling it a draw. it was a clear winner to me. Ryan came off as slimy, contrived, and phoney.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  9. Ranger luna

    Biden won the debate if you heard it on radio. Ryan won if you saw it on tv. Biden was more passionate, but rambled his facts, sneered and was disrespectful. Ryan was concise with loaded stats and info, but lacked Bidens passion! all in all, I'm we're glad our entire family has now voted for Romney/Ryan!

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  10. mgpatty

    An over inflated, arogant outward posture usually indicates an inner sense of weakness. In this context, Biden seemed very weak. Ryan definately came out the victor in this debate. Biden played to the Democratic Base, but the base isn't going to win the Democrats the election. This was definately another loss for the Obama/Biden ticket.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  11. doug

    Its scarey to think of a laughing baffon being one heart beat away from being president.

    October 11, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  12. Travis

    CBS Poll has Biden at 50%, Ryan at 31%. I have to believe that one is more accurate given what I just saw. It also makes me question last weeks 63% margin.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  13. Elizabeth

    Seriously.... You really think Ryan won? Biden made him look like a rich, petty boy. Oh, Gee, how the truth hits home!?

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  14. Sharon

    Biden=Rude, Condescending, Arrogant, Inappropriate!
    Ryan=Mature, Respectful, Knowledgeable, Genuine!

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  15. sophia

    Biden won hands down.. He got a little passionate at times but that means he really cares about the middlle class.. plus not going to let lyin Ryan mislead America..

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  16. One party politics

    Biden won with facts and passion.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  17. Mako

    Biden was awful. It was like watching Clint Eastwood again – I was wondering when he would point at a chair.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  18. JJ

    As an independent voter, I was not impressed by Biden's antics and condescending demeanor.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  19. IdahoJoe

    People can say Biden won but it was clear that Biden was disrespectful. Do you people forget he is one step away from being President ? Guy is a buffoon & everybody knows it. Sorry but as an independent he lost my vote tonight. Also my dad who is a senior said he lost his vote tonight as well.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  20. Roger Hessman

    Biden kicked Lyin Ryan's rear end tonight. And by the way, the GOP platform on abortion does NOT provide any exception, even for the life of the mother!

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  21. rh

    Ryan sounded like a fool, falling for everything both the host and Biden said about him.

    Someone who comes in and says "we'll be better because we would have done this or that instead of what they did" sounds stupid. There has been NO talk by the GOP about what they WILL do.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  22. Misty King

    I am an independent and there is NO WAY I would vote for Obama or Joe Bidden! I have NEVER witnessed such a rude, arrogant, nasty man as I did tonight with Bidden! That old man must have forgotten to take his meds tonight! Ryan was way more kind and calm than I would have been in his place! It is terrifying to think that blubbering idiot Biden is only one step away from being the leader of our country! Lord help us all!!! And the moderator was horrible, she interrupted Ryan almost more than Biden, it was apparent there were 2 ganged up against 1 tonight and Obama will not recover from this, no way will he win!!

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  23. Cubgrl1

    Go Joe Go! He did a great job!
    Loved his responses to Paul (malarky) Ryan!
    Joe was a breath of fresh air to clear the away the "bubble" which the republicans all seem to live in.
    I hope the president gets some inspiration from this debate for his next debate.
    I still believe!

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  24. Melissa

    People in this country are smoking something. Biden won this debate.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  25. NigHater

    Biden's laughing and smiling during answers the entire debate was terrible to watch. As an independent voter I was completely turned off to him by it. He needed to throttle back by about 5 because it was painful to watch him.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
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