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. James

    Andre, wake up. we should not question anyone who make a anti muslim anything, book, movie, etc... Muslim's killed American's on 9/11...Obama is a Muslin leading a Christian nation. Yes America is a Christian nation. America was the greatest nation in the world, sad word is "was" we're slipping. Began and became strong on Christian valves and views. Take that away then our nation slips. Doesn't matter who accepts this but it's truth. You can't argue truth!!

    October 12, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. John

    Also one last thing. The moderator made it CLEAR they had two minutes and that she HOPED open discussion would take place. DONT YOU PEOPLE LISTEN???? She said it at the beginning, she encouraged open discussion and thus we saw a TRUE DEBATE. Wow.... listen people. It happened just the way a real debate should happen.

    October 12, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Biden Buffoon Brigade

    If behaving like an jerk, laughing through debate like a simpleton, and being a rude bully is the Democrats idea of a Biden victory, then so be it. Remeber–substance over style–you Obama voters got hooked on Hope and Change in the 2008 election. Hope......and........Change-simple words that obviously meant nothing. A strawman with no ideas regurgitated those words over and over and swayed the simpletons of America with slick and shiny packaging. You wanted jobs–you got Obamacare......you wanted gitmo closed.....move prisoners to Illinois.....you wanted peace through appeasment in middle east.....you got a failed foriegn policy that has now resulted in deaths of more Americans–
    You got exactly what you deserved by not vetting the man who believes words speak louder than actions.

    October 12, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    I am not understanding some commenters are saying FACTS DONT MATTER and style does!! Who cares if VP Biden laughed! I'd be on stage laughing too at how BLATANTLY Paul Ryan LIED to the american people and somehow came out a statistical winner in this debate! Even when pressed on certain issues he diverted the conversation elsewhere and left specifics out of the debate ENTIRELY. GET SERIOUS! This election is clearly about whether or not we want to go back to the days of Bush and his horrible policies or do we want to continue to support our President in his effort to fix the problems left by reckless policies of the Bush Era. If Romney and Paul are elected we might as well get ready to go BACK to war and see our middle class earnings disappear into the night. And if you don't believe the line about the 47% and you think he didn't mean it EVEN AFTER he said that he stood by it AND eventually said he was completely wrong (The usual Mitt Romney Flip Flop)-– Look... He stood up and told you what he thinks about us and people still have the nerve to support him.... Real smart.....

    October 12, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. Go Bam!

    I love that Ryan people blame the messenger our CNN for the fact
    that Ryan looked like a amateur.

    October 12, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. tony munoz

    both were good but Biden won with knowledge and Ryan won the gentleman's award

    October 12, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Tired of the hype

    At a sample size of 381, this poll isn't worth its salt anyway.

    BTW, Biden won, and Ryan/Romney will keep trying to fight a war that has been going on for 10 years without clear definition of victory. Why would we put more troops back into Eastern Afghanistan, when we already had FOBs in the area for years, and they didn't prove effective in eliminating the Taliban in the area? Now we want to put more US servicemen in harms way, in extremely rugged area, that has to be supplied by helicopter, which are vulnerable to solder fired missiles. Ryan's foreign policy is dangerous, and foolhardy. I never want this guy making decisions about troops lives!

    October 12, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Yajulia

    Biden WON!!! Hands down, he put the smack down on Ryan's " Malarkey"!!!! Its about time.

    October 12, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Kevin

    Looks like most of CNN's debate watchers look and hear but don't listen.

    October 12, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. Bob

    CNN, you continue to embass Ted Turner with your attempt to keep the right-wing of this country happy. I know you are making money with your foreign reporting, but your attempt to become FOX lite, just is not hacking it. I will call them FOX viewers, want to see the real thing–so thats where their ratings come from. Although MSNBC as "Morning Joe" and Andera Mitchell (Mrs. Alan Greenspan) their evening line up is pretty liberal, so they get that group. Frankly, if you don't get your act together soon, I really don't have much future for CNN., Especially when it is easy to see what you are trying to do. Other, than an glimpse at a brief special with Anderson Cooper, I haven't watched you in at least 6 months. If my cable company would let me, I would remove you from my line-up tomorrow.

    October 12, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Every time Ryan spoke his nose continued to grow. What did he do when pressed for a more specific answer? He changed the subject! The guy knows nothing about foreign affairs and I loved that Biden laughed during Ryan's b.s answers.

    October 12, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. C Three

    That was on 381 voters.

    October 12, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Triboy

    No wonder we have division in our government. We have people like Biden that want to talk over anyone with real ideas instead of taking a minute to listen to them. You can't force your ideas on to someone and expect them to want to cooperate.

    October 12, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Hydration, drinking lots of water, is a sign of lying. Check it out and who was it that was gulping it down?

    October 12, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. talkingtruth

    Senile Biden exploded in fury (laughed like a clown) when bright Ryan exposed the obama's
    administration inability to propose any single balanced budget. Of course, they
    will never do it because they want to continue wasting our tax money in paying
    the rich inefficient companies, devolving the favor to corrupt groups that
    voted for them and continue travelling (obama and his wife) while the 16
    trillion debt continues growing and 23 million unemployed people struggle to
    survive. In the meantime, inept Biden only laughs. Pathetic! We, the young Americans
    are with Romney and Ryan!

    October 12, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Yoni M. Salguero

    There is so much the whole World wants and yet America has an American President that supposedly the President depends on His Advisers, His Representatives, and ect. to take care of USA and the World, and from what I gathered are the Americans trying to give the Presidency to a Vice President, when The World is so Large, so what happened to The United Nations, and what is their Jobs now days, from someone that needs to be Educated in Foreign and American Affairs!

    October 12, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. soupboned wife

    Hydration....interrogators in the police field say this is the sign of lying. And who there was drinking gulp after gulp of water?

    October 12, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Alex

    Phony – false – and not funny –> VP

    October 12, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. Bad Dog

    You post a poll with more Republicans than Democrats? Huh? There are more Dems than Repubs in the electorate and have been for a long time.

    Also, Americans have to ask themselves one question about Ryan. If he were the VP and something happened to Romney, would you be happy seeing Ryan take on the Presidency? With his extreme ideas and delusional beliefs? Really?

    October 12, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. bryes

    "Call it a Draw"?? How?

    CNN poll: Ryan 48% to Biden 44%. Expressing one's self: Ryan 50% Biden 41%.
    NBC poll: Ryan 63% Biden 31%.
    CNBC poll: Ryan 56% Biden 36%
    Danville Advocate Messenger: Ryan 56% Biden 41%.

    October 12, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Jalane

    I am not an American Citizen and i have watched the debate last night. Anyone that comes out and dares to say that Ryan won or that the debate was a tie, is doing smack,crack, meth, crystal, weed, cocaine, abusing Alcohol and prolly sniffing athlets-foot for breakfast!

    October 12, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. bluedogboy

    If you want to see obnoxiousness, rudeness and interruptions, go to your congressional districts' next town hall meeting when the room is full of neo-cons and teabillies. My "congressman" is Joe Walsh. the biggest moron a voting booth has ever produced.

    October 12, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. Nospam2

    I don't know what it is about Biden, but when I was watching him during the debate, I kept thinking that his bullying bluster reminded me a lot of Jerry Sandusky.

    October 12, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. taylor just taylor

    the poll was done in Danville, Kentucky... google danville kentucky... it's at the top of the page

    October 12, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. koumintan

    Ryan won the debate for my foreighner's eyes.

    Biden was not debating but just being rude all time. If that is considered a good debate method, some wrong with America and maybe this is a reason many other nations nate America. Being rude is not a good debate. Period.

    Yes Ryan could provide details but there was nothing from Biden.

    Presidential debate was clear with for Mr. Romny. Mr. Obama looked like high school student against CEO.

    October 12, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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