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. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    What ever happened to transparency? Joe Biden blamed the intelligence agency. I can't believe anything this Administration says. The White House is on it's heel putting an incredible spin on Libya. How would you like to be the parents of these soldiers?

    October 12, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. Guest

    Thank goodness for the MLB playoff's and the NFL Thursday night football game. I didn't watch the whole debate but what I did see was interesting. Regardless of who wins the presidential election, the elected officials in the congress and senate should put politics aside (probably won't happen) and start getting to work on working for the American people. It is about time to say NO! in reference to buying things we can't afford. Maybe if the government could show some fiscal responsibility then maybe everyday American's would put the credit card down and start living within their means. Money is money it is how it is managed. We need something positive in the next 4 years from whomever is elected.

    October 12, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Tom in San Diego

    48/44 is not a split on who won! When a track star hits the finish line 4 feet before 2nd place its called a "Win"! Leave it to CNN to say, we need everyone to get the Blue Ribbon!
    Geesh...

    October 12, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. duffey

    I think the question should be "who lost"? Answer: No One. Both did an excellent job and articulated their positions very well.
    I really hope there is this kind of dialog next week with Mitt and Barak. A one sided debate does no one any good.

    October 12, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. jennifervizzo

    Biden won. And not because of his theatrics. Ryan didn't understand the draw-down in Afghanistan, couldn't articulate the Romney/Ryan tax program, seemed to propose that we bomb Iran and send troops into Syria, and wouldn't admit that he advocated a voucher system and privatization of Medicare and Social Security. He looked nervous and his body language said so. Biden, on the other hand, was relaxed and his usual ebullient self. He might not have looked like the cover of Newsweek, but he looked darn good Vice Presidential.

    October 12, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. jigglefree

    I looked at the poll on the CNN home page and that poll tells a very different story...I would trust that one because it is more random than the above one...who voted in that poll???

    October 12, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. JesseJames

    I love how the CNN poll manager keeps saying that Republicans were over represented in this poll. When they oversample Democrats to make it look like Obama is leading, they never mention that oversampling. Poor media, just can't seem to get Obama elected again, Nice try guys.

    October 12, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Cindy

    I watch CNN all the time and was so disappointed in their observation of last night's debate. I agree Obama did lose the first debate but last night was entirely different. Biden came out with facts and numbers as Romney did last week and I thought Ryan seemed nervous at first, good thing he had that glass of water next to him or he may have choked. So being a debater what do you do come out swinging as Romney and Biden or come out with that laid back demeanor like Obama and Ryan. We still do not know a specific Romney-Ryan plan. They avoid details on everyone of their 5 points. Just cannot trust them SORRY!

    October 12, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. john

    Biden came across as a total A$$. He may have got the libs excited but almost certinaly turned off the independents.

    October 12, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. Jim

    Re: Pat..republicans are smarter than Democrats....What world are you from? The debate covered topics that the VP was extremely famililar with and not to mention...experienced as well as well versed. What was seen last night was an amatuer go up against the master and lose. It was embarrasing for the GOP to have an individual poorly represent issues...that he had no knowledge in. It's a lack of knowledge that was seen...as well as revealing the "Myths", that their campaign has been stating..

    October 12, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. carl

    None of the remaining debates really matter. The whole world saw that the emperor has no clothes in the first debate. Without the media to cover for him, the fraud was exposed. The millions whose minds were made up that night are a bell which cannot be un-rung. T

    he extraordinary lengths CCN has gone to in an attempt to call this debate anything but a Ryan victory is not working. The 7% advantage Romney/Ryan achieved in new supporters exceeds any sampling errors which would skew the results toward the Republicans.

    America is waking up to the incompetence and malfeasance of Obama, and the Democrats are becoming crazed with worry as the Romney juggernaut continues. Desperate people do desperate things so be ready for ANYTHING from the Democrats and their imbedded operatives at outlets such as CNN.

    October 12, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. ray

    there are no words to describe the white people in america, here you have two men ryan and romney lting every single day to get elected to the highest office in the land and the white people are loving it. mmmmmmm talk about family values the only word i can come it with is>>> BIGOTS.

    October 12, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. J. COLO

    Biden is a old man clown. He was loud and rude. Kinda reminded me of the drunk old guy in the bar who had nothing of substance to say, but still talked louder than everyone else in an attempt to make you believe what he was saying.

    October 12, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  14. Joe

    I'm still haven't decided on who I'm voting for, and don't think I will come to a conclusion after watching these debates; but honestly after yesterday most republicans are in serious denial and so is the media for thinking Ryan won or that it was even a draw. Biden schooled this youngster; without lube I might add.

    October 12, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  15. ray

    ryan and romney are the two men that god never wanted to be president of the usa. lies, lies lies and more lies to come from these two hypocrites

    October 12, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. keepingup1

    Mitt helped out a family that attended the same church with him. Well good for him. If the family had never had the accident would he have helped. What, the father couldn't support his family. There are family out here that haven't had any accidents and need help to so their children can go to school too. It all a political ploy to get the suckers who now say Romney/Ryan next president. When the camera is rolling these candidates faces change. The lies roll off their tongues. Their horns extends, their eyes become glassy and the idiots that believe them are hypnotizes and sucked into their lies and shall suffer for four years making Mitt and those like him richer. They don't have to worry tho, we'll be in another war. Did you not listen, the republican party want us to continue to be at war.

    October 12, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. JIM

    Great Great for Biden, surely the clear winner last night on every topic. PRyan was schooled on his lies and opinions, he has no facts! Did you see PRyan sniff and shrug his shoulders everytime Biden schooled him, that was hilarious... In Your Face lolz! you Repub Golden Boy Liar!

    October 12, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. David

    The debate was spirited, the candidates were informed and certainly Paul Ryan won on style. He showed a markedly more mature respectful ability to debate.

    Now as a Canadian I am highly interested and at the same amused by your politics.....not saying we are much better. The thing I do not understand is how they can sit there and talk about the economy and yet just to arrive at this point between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama; 6 billion will be spent. Change your system, by virtue of this fact I do not respect the way you do politics. A candidate that puts a ceiling on his spending and is thrifty would be elected because voters would trust a man who puts his country first and not his career...

    October 12, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. Plew

    No body know who the real Romney and Ryan are. Every time they take the platform they will put on a different face. They reminds me of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. Their true face is hidden in the north pole. But like Jack Sparrow the Dems are going to expose you to america.

    October 12, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. K

    Let's just all agree. A younger mediator is needed if any subject is too be discussed with reason. It's like the 2 min their given turn into a 10 min explanation on how Republicans did this.. or Democrats had the wrong ideas. Please I just want a better America and hopefully a brighter future.

    October 12, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. Cindy From Texas

    Biden stomped Ryan!!! I couldn't be more proud. How can anyone say it was a tie???

    October 12, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. ObjectiveGuy

    Biden looked like a rude, obnoxious clown, with that silly chimpanzee grin after every Ryan response. Ryan looked composed, professional, factual, and respectful. Given the choice between a blithering old man deflecting blame on every topic, versus a cool, calm and collected guy who actually understands what he is talking about, I would totally support Ryan. Biden is all show and no go. Ryan is all go with not so much show. We Americans have been watching a couple of snake oil salesmen in the White House for four years now, and don't need any more entertainment from the grinning empty suits. We need a team that can actually solve our problems, and Romney/Ryan are SO much better equipped to do that.

    October 12, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. bluedogboy

    Ryan clearly isn't accustomed to people calling him out on his BS.

    Bravo Joe.

    October 12, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. jpweeble1@gmail.com

    Biden's smirks, grins, eye rolling amd other juvenile jestures reminded me of a defieant 6 year old when they are told something to do that they don't want to do. He was childish, immature and a clown. If all these issues that are on the table are funny to him they sure are not funny to the middle class. Imagine if he acted that way to a foreign diplomat or head of state. They would be insulted and think as I do. "How in the world did this guy get in office?'.

    October 12, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. John

    Where is even CNN getting these statistics. It was so clear Biden killed im, slaughtered him. My facebook today is buzzing with how Ryan got his butt whipped. I am Republicn so not biased at all and want Romney but admit Ryan looked like a school boy learning about the world for the first time. He was clueless!

    October 12, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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