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. pat

    Anyone hungry for crawfish? After Biden told about the libyia attack, looks like there is going to be alot of crawfishing going on.

    October 12, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. Angelo J Garcia

    The GOP is trying to repeat history, and is scary. Hussein had Weopons of mass destruction and now is Iran's turn to start another war.
    Can anyone imagine a very old person not clear minded with a bunch of vouchers trying to buy health insurance .
    It is amazing that Obama has been able to accomplish so much with all the obstructions provided by the Republicans
    To hell with the nation (our nation)! What matters is that Obama fails. Guys is this ipatriotism? I call it treason....

    October 12, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. DOM

    Funny comments today... One compared Ryan to Damian in The Omen. hahahahaha – an atheist liberal trying to compare Ryan to the devil (hollywood style too)! Hypocrazy Liberals strike again! – and yes i meant to spell hypocrisy that way.

    October 12, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. Tom K. From Beverly Hills

    Great debate! I have to say that Biden looked like Robert Blake a few times when he was angry. He was a little rude however, have to give Ryan kudos for holding his own.

    October 12, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. James

    Pay close attention to what they say–Nothing Ryan or Romney says is true. They keep changing their stories. These guys are like door to door salesmen who will say anything to make you buy their garbage. Every week they do the etch-a-sketch again, and try to make your forget the stupid stuff they said before. Do not trust them.

    Even that sweet "bean" story Ryan told. That is somehting Kurt Cobain is known for saying about his own baby. Ryan was telling a fake story, copied from Kurt Cobain! Bizzare, but true.

    His athletics stories are make beleive, as is well known. And his budget numebers do not add up. The "six" studies he mentioned were actually blogs (not studies) funded by his own campaign!

    Personally or politically, I do not trust these chumps!

    James in Cleveland

    October 12, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Robert

    Biden came across as a pompous "bully", seemingly full of Malarkey, and himself?

    October 12, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. Lenny Eiger

    All this complaining about smirks and whatnot is ridiculous. Biden is a seasoned veteran. Ryan can not and should not be taken seriously – he is a silly little boy. He laughed because Ryan's (and Romney's) lies and claims are laughable. He was far more respectful than Ryan deserved.

    October 12, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. Vi R

    Vice President Biden was the clear winner just as I thought he would be.
    He knew the facts; Ryan didn't. Especially on the statuses of the afghan war and Iran's nuclear progress.

    October 12, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. alpg49

    What else was Biden supposed to do when Lyin' Ryan is bringing the Malarky? Truth just doesn't have much value any more.

    October 12, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Descarado

    Who behaved in a more Presidential manner?

    October 12, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. Publius327

    Dear Mr. President: Your opponents are supposedly short on specifics and flawed in vision. If that is true, and they are running fairly even as an alternative, what does that say about you? If you have such a great argument to make, why aren't you cleaning their clocks?

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

    I think Joe did great. I don't think he was disrespectful considering it was a debate (It isn't like he was tossing F-Bombs on the floor of Congress like our last V.P.). But it's probably like Paul Ryan said, if you don't have anything to stand on demonize your opponent.

    October 12, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. nclee

    Does anyone realize that this whole cover up smells worse than watergate. The main difference is that 4 american's were murdered. Why isn't anyone holding our president accountable? Impeachment anyone?

    October 12, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. sbrowne

    Biden won the debate and now the Publicans can't handle that! Way to go Joe, all the way to the White House 2012

    October 12, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. Colorado female voter

    Biden was NOT Rude. Passoniate, Fiesty – yes. Right wing whinning and delusion going on here – par for the course. Ryan was out and lying, making stuff up. Ryan was so far out of his league he looked like a dear caught in the headlights, taking sips of water to try and think his way out of the bad situation he was in. All Ryan could do is sit there and be quiet.

    October 12, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. Hoosier53

    Yes, I think it was a draw, too. Ryan often times looked like a young deer in the headlights; Biden came off as a crusty old coot. So really, just cancelled each other out – would've like to have heard more from Ryan but Biden just kept talking over him.

    October 12, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. Larry in Houston

    @ keeping up 1 @ 1:58pm – - I whole heartedly Agree with your whole paragraph. I was actually going to say what you just did, but saw that I do not need to. As a "transplant" from "back east" that's why I'm here. I was not going to draw welfare, after my un-employment ran out, so instead, I went where the Jobs Are. The only thing is : it's like 12 bucks an hr, as opposed to 24 bucks an hr.

    May the Best Man Win – 2012

    Hillary – 2016

    October 12, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. Bryan

    Biden says the world is united under Obama ...laughable ...then world is burning at the stake right now...the middle east is a powder keg and he wants us to believe everything is ok....Nothing to see here , move along...what a joke...tell the American people the truth...the economy six and and the world is on fire..we all kno it...admit it...we are all adults

    October 12, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. Chris

    Ryan never answered any of the questions. All he did was talk without answering. They are both clowns.

    October 12, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. Michael Thompson

    It's simple really. You cant find a single voter identification poll from any polling organization not named Rasmussen that finds self-identificatied Republicans at more than 28%. For those who only look at the Rasmussen polls, using their methodology, this would result in a result of about 40% of the respondents being Republicans. It isn't bias. Maybe it was just that more Republicans were engaged enough to watch the debate. Who knows? But the results aren't reflective of what previous polls tells us about the population and because it's skewed 6-7% more Republicans, the likeliy outcome of a normalized result would have been a Biden victory within the margin of error.

    October 12, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. Davren

    How did Ryan win??? Even the moderator had to keep asking him for specifics..Everybody so focused on Biden laughing didn't even listen to him shoot down every things Ryan said as false. Biden was CLEARLY more informed and knowledgeable about what was going on.

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

    You know what I hate about these debates. It is making us look much uncivilized. Paul has ideas of international policies that will jeopardize more American’s life’s and keep talking about tax cuts without any clarifications??? On the other hand, vice president thought it was a show down and he kept interrupting Paul. 8 years of republicans put us in the dark ages, the 4 years of democrats without a significant change. Where are we going!!!!!!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. Davren

    @Jam.nat sorta like the condescending know-it all tone of your post????

    October 12, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. moose1

    For God sake, if we are to continue these debates, get a moderator with some stones to maintain control of the debate. The VP debate was a total fiasco!!

    October 12, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. pgh

    Who cares who won [will win] either VP or Prez debates. I can't take credit for this thought, but it's like choosing between a blue condom or a red condom... The middle class will be taking it over a barrel either way. Sigh.

    October 12, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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