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. Yankee

    Ever get the feeling America is like 2 countries boarder each other?

    October 12, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. mac123

    Was Biden juiced? His manic performance served once again to diminish the office of Vice President. What should have been a substantive debate became a clown's performance with Biden's smirks, gasps and eye rolls. This nation faces serious decisions and unfortunately…nobody laughing…except Joe.

    October 12, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Geek

    Only thing that stood out to me was Biden saying they were never told that more security was needed in Libya....That is one that will come back and bite them...

    October 12, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. Alois Saint-Martin

    Biden Failed, to terrier Paul Ryan from his Great White burrow. With the longest Liberal Administration since F.D.R. ( Kennedy/Johnson ) on the line, you would think Biden would have gone after Ryan/Romney like a Wolverine after a Dog Bone ! The Cold Hard, Fact of the Matter is, Biden`s Clinton/Obama patronizing of the Bourgeois " Middle Class " ( The Middle Class is the Backbone of America ?/ Malarkey ! ) only illustrates the utter futility of Bi-Partisan American Politics.

    Abolish the Egalitarian Capitalist Caste System !

    Support Jerry White of the Socialist Equality Party for President of the Untied States of America !

    October 12, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. trixy

    I didn't believe Biden. He contradicted himself and his regime. He has picked up on the traits of Obama. Blame others !! The last 4 years have been a complete failure. I don't want 4 years of the same. Biden lost when it comes to keeping his cool. Being respectful, facts, . This is not funny but Biden thought the whole thing a joke. I hope his new job will give him plenty of time to be the clown .

    October 12, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. keepingup1

    @PJ. I can tell you must be for Ryan. Sorry if I offend you for my opinion about the debate minutes. But I will not go down to your level and insult you for I do not know you, but I'm sure you must have a low IQ since your language has not left the toilet.

    October 12, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. RealityGuy2

    Why are we always so concerned about who won and who lost? This debate gave us interesting insights on what each side of the campaign thinks and what they think is important to think about. Bottom line is that the GOP wants you to think, "what you see is what you get" and vote for the Dems if you want more of what you got the past four years. The Dems want you to think of what is fair (with taxes) and that the GOP will get us right back into another war, this time involving Iran. Let's face it, both sides may be fairly accurate. My simple take is not very optimistic: Dems may very well print money until the economy takes off and completely loses control of inflation, with the irony that the stock market will go up, the rich will get richer, and the poor will lag badly as wages will be the last thing to start rising and they will have no market assets to keep up with inflation. The GOP would indeed likely start to limit the fed money printing, the equity markets will head south, deflation may be renewed, the economy will go back into recession (or stay in the depression we are actually in), previous reasons used internally as war justification as there is really no other out there. People of sound mind and evidence seekers realize that, even if Iran is truly after building a nuclear weapon – they are not even close to that goal and there actually no evidence that they are going to try to build one. This theme has been brought up many times since 1984 and war mongers always make it sound ominous. Let's all try to think more logically.

    October 12, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. Observer

    Ryan was an amateur He was not engaging, He was not leading the communication .. He was just answering the questions without specifics.. He has a long wany to go to become presidential b/c he was like a robot he could not put his own personality and love in it. But he is promosing, He might be a great politician or a leader in the future but not yet... As Biden was more experienced and mature and he seemed llike he loves what he is doing and he owned everything he explained so he sounded he was in it every step at a time....therefore he seemed like the honest one. Ryan & Romney stilll do not have plans and goals supported by real numbers!! they just have words and promises without numbers... and of course Biden needed to be more aggressive ... if the counterparty keeps attacking you without showing solutions supported by numbers then you need to defend your self aggressively otherwise eveybody things the other party tells the truth.. IF Ryan would be able to support their vision with numbers and more specifics I would really respect him and applaud them but I could not see it.... Their vision can make you excited in words but then as the numbers and specifics do not follow then you get disappointed....

    October 12, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. TomJones

    The mediator was a total joke! Where do they find these people that are so one sided. I felt the debate was a draw. Dems likely loved Biden, Reps likely loved Ryan, but the independents likely saw Biden as a used car salesman.

    October 12, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Dennis Burke

    When Wolf Blitzer announced this last night he said ther was a potential sampling error of plus or minus 5% therefore it is a tie. Typical CNN bias. The sampling error could also be the other way ie 53% Ryan 39% Biden. No spin will make Biden a winner on this.

    October 12, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. kittysquared

    What planet are you on if you think CNN is a conservative/Republican-biased network. They are MSNBC-light.

    October 12, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Alois Saint-Martin

    Not that it make any difference;, but the Press is calling the Debate along Partisan lines of Left and Right. Very Interesting 1 Perhaps the Class War is making into the Main Stream, ( Middle Class/Malarkey ) yet ?

    October 12, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. John

    Biden came across as a misinformed, cranky old man. I know liberals are trying to put a positive spin on this, but lets face it, he was rude and lied over and over again. If the Obama campaign thinks that is a "win" then they are in BIG trouble.

    October 12, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. airtuan

    The Democrats kept yelling foul on Romney & Ryan for lack of specifics....Well, look at Obama & Biden themselves...What specifics that they have offerred? They don't even have a budget plan for the last 3 years and that were essential to run the Government. They don't have a clue on how to run a business let alone running this country. At first, they said that we have to grow this country from the bottom up, then now it is growing the Middle Out....what is next, well the only thing left is Robbing the Top!!! I have to tip my hat to the jokers in the White House because obviously, they have made close to 50% of the people in America believed all the stories and "Marlarkeys" that they have made up so far. Instead of uniting this country, all I heard is Dividing by using Social Class Warfare. This is an old hand from the Social Play List...I am very well aware of this tactic because my family escaped from one. America, please wake up....they are making snow in the middle o summer. Just ask yourself, how many times that ObamaBiden are working on jobs/economy to help the poor and the unemployed?? I believed they spent more times on going on talk shows, Oprah, the View, David Letterman, SNL and campaign trails than working to help the hurting American. What is so cool about Obama taking on all the personal exersions like having date nights out of town with Michelle in NY city, seeing opera show, dinner in Chicago.....Common, folks..the country is hurting, deeply in debts...and here the Obamas are spending US Tax dollars like it is going out of style. Every time the President goes somewhere, it cost nearly 1/2 million dollars just to operate the Air Force 1, then how many Agents and Secret Services have be on the grounds clearing roads, setting up road blocks and preparing security for th President. I can imagine it would cost a cool Million for his 1 night out....Can he just set up a candle dinner in the backyard of White House or even doiing it in Camp Davis nearby for cost savings. Some body have to pay for all of these excursions, unfortunately, the tax payer do. So everytime, they got up to the podium and said to the poor people that they feel their pains...I have the biggest laughs. Unfortunately, majority of American believed it. Well, they had their chance to make history, now, they need to move on so others can steer this country in the right direction.

    By the way

    October 12, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. david

    When a wise person debates a fool, the fool rages and laughs and there is no peace and quiet. Proverbs 29:9

    October 12, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Tony

    This debate was no slam dunk for either side. Biden came off as more aggressive, but Ryan did well enough to keep Romney's lead in the polls – at least though next Tuesday's presidential debate...

    October 12, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. JT

    In short everyone wasted their time Thursday night.

    October 12, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. algorithmsc

    As someone who voted for Obama/Biden in 2008, I was utterly appalled at the Vice President's behavior last night. He came across as a complete buffoon. It was shocking to see him disparage himself and the dignity of the office last night.

    While I expected a strong response, I found nothing that was being discussed worthy of the incessant smiling, smirking and disregard for the serious nature of problems facing our nation.

    Paul Ryan on the other hand, presented himself as someone who was prepared, articulated his position and methodically presented those positions in a calm and respectful manner. I think basically he just sat by while Biden dug his own hole deeper and deeper.

    Like a lot of people who voted for Obama/Biden in 2008, I wanted to believe the President and his message of change and hope. Based on the last performances of these two in a debate setting, I have been far from impressed. I'm concerned about the direction of our country, as well as the tensions in the world that are placing our national security at risk.

    We'll see what happens on Tuesday.

    October 12, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. guest4now

    Can't wait to watch SNL's take on this. Biden -the laughing hyena or the cheshire cat! LOL (no pun intended!)

    October 12, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. DJS NJ

    They both did thier talking points... But the clear observation that I took away from the debate was Joe Biden's behavior.... He grinned and laughed at Ryan's statements, inturrupted... His demeanor was clearly playing to his base. He came off as arrogant, dismissive and sanctimonious... I prob wont vote for either ticket. But Obama/Biden lost any chance with me tonight...

    October 12, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. John

    This is not even correct Ryan had no details he was babbering on and drinking like fish he knew most people seen through him like his kill medicare, social security, medicaid Plan. It will kill the elderly and 55 and below has paid into that system for years and can not restart over Ryan and Romney can not be trusted. Complete Fact

    October 12, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. James

    I would advise all undecided voters to listen to debates on the radio so that they can get at the substance only. Do not make your decision on style alone.

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

    These are Some of Paul Ryan closing statements, “we will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles. The choice is clear”.

    I don’t know about many of you, but I believe this country’s founding principles were based on greed, hatred, division, slavery, and the massacre/relocation of the native people. People came to this country to get rich and rape the land. The people who moved here formed a deep hatred for the British because of “taxation without representation." The Civil War, Southerners saw themselves as fighting to preserve slavery or the motivation was primarily to preserve the Union, not to abolish slavery: either way the country was divided. Slavery, people held against their will, purchased and deprived of the right to freedom. Forced to work against their will, under treatment of violence or punishment. Let’s not forget the forced relocation of Native Americans, and the millions of Indigenous people that were killed to make room for this great country of ours. “Now that sounds like some founding principles I would like to reapply.”
    One should not define principles by the words on a piece of paper, principle should be defined by the actions that you live by. Therefore the founding principles of our country are shameful at best.

    Think for yourself; don’t let someone think for you.

    October 12, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  24. ianthomasyoung9

    Boom: Romney Leads 51-44 in New Florida Poll. Just thought I'd lighten up someone's day.

    October 12, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. Anna Beales

    VP Joe Biden clearly won this debate. Paul ryan repeats what he is told to say by Mitt Rommney.
    How can americans really expect Romney to relate to average Americans, when he has liveed in a millionaires
    bubble all his life.
    Concerned

    October 12, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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