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. ianthomasyoung9

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

    October 12, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Polls, debates, and elections...

    Cannot wait until this ugly show is over! Take a look around which person is on which team, and then think as a citizen of the US (IN THE FUTURE): you being treated fairly, taken care of, over taxed, and most of all.. count?

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

    How can you trust a robotic republican with a fist-sized head that has a huge schnoz and imploding lips emblazoned on to it? You can't! Paul Ryan is the worst kind of republican. No heart, no soul and ugly facial features.

    October 12, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. CavPilot

    Uncle Joe looked like the crazy uncle that is obnoxious and loud at the Thanksgiving dinner. It's scary that someone that comes across as so unhinged is a heartbeat away from controlling the nuclear "football".

    October 12, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. FERNY

    I am an independent, no ties to dems or republicans.
    Does anybody here, know what a fanatic is?.............Welcome to fanatic blog, very sad.
    If Obama gets re elected pray, if Romney wins...pray
    And liberal friends, stop!......Obama was bad debating, and Biden, if you proclaim this was a victory?, wow!, i guess you get a free hot dog and some popcorn, the vp debate was horrible

    October 12, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. Mojobutta

    How can you trust a robotic republican with a fist-sized head that has a bulbous nose and imploding lips emblazoned on to it? You can't. Paul Ryan is the worst kind of republican. No heart, no soul and disturbing facial features.

    October 12, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    I'm a Candian and Americans are in huge trouble. Most of you have no idea whats going on with your economy and are desperate for a resolution, grasping at the idea that a new president with "credibility and fresh ideas" will fix your problems. If you think electing a new leader will save you, then go ahead, but remember the years when the rebublicans were in power and how well that worked out for the American Economy and National Security. Your posts on the last 4 years being a faiilure, PLEASE...educate yourself on what matters and stop being persuaded by the media and debates.

    October 12, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. Joe

    It is really sad that CNN's home page has comments/articles that make it appear Biden won the debate. Biden was a mess in this debate.

    October 12, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. kittysquared

    The first words out of Biden's mouth were a lie, throwing the intelligence community under the bus. Most of you people don't know what's come out in the Benghazi investigation because CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, etc. AREN'T giving it coverage! Intelligence knew right away, as did the State dept, that it was a terrorist attack. Yet Hillary, UN Ambassador Rice and Obama himself repeatedly referred to the attacks being a protest over a You Tube video, for days & days after the attack.

    October 12, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. debatewatcher95

    Biden is a stud. All you ryan supporters out there...i feel sorry for you if you're drinking this guy's koolaid. How many times does it need to be pointed out his ideas are terrible and he lies like a cheap thai watch? Wake up!...unless you're a millionare, he's trying to get you to vote against your middle-class interests. ...i just dont understand why so many americans vote for the party of the super rich and elitism, thinking these guys will actually will give a darn about them. All the republicans do is make things better for ultra rich people, widening the gap between rich and middle class, and use the lives of our american military servicemen and women to fight uncessary wars like chess pawns.

    October 12, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Jean

    It was just dandy when Romney talked over the president, bullied the moderator and interupted both. He even was rude to the president on occasionl But that's OK according to the Republicans. BUT just let Joe Biden defend his position and he is called a disresptful clown. Who "won"? Liars never prosper and I heard Ryan doing a lot of dodging on divulging the facts of the Romney/Ryan mysterious plans.

    October 12, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  12. oreo

    Biden was rude and petulant, Ryan was composed and wrong. Both are hypocrites.

    October 12, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. Patrick

    I watched the debate and thought the Vice President was rude, arrogant and ridiculing. On the other hand, I thought Congressman Ryan was more cordial and respectful. I also thought Ryan was more knowledgable on the issues, answered the questions, and did not try to mislead the listeners.

    October 12, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. NYSDIVA

    CNN polling is bogus. Stevie Wonder could see Biden won the debate. At least when Obama lost the debate, Democrats owned up to it. Republicans are such liars and sore losers.

    October 12, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. WES

    Typical CNN report. Ryan won and the poll says so. It was not a split.

    October 12, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. Kent

    Ryan is a habitual liar. He cannot even tell the truth about his Marathon Times. Did you see his workout pictures? This guy is a joke.

    October 12, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. yep

    How can people keep saying the last 4 years has been a failure? Where were you when we were bleeding 800k jobs a month. Where were you when the stock market was at 6500? Where were you when we wound down the Iraq war and are now winding down the Afghan war. Unbelievable what a short memory people have. 30 straight months of job growth. The dow above 13K. Wars ending. Etc. Etc. Wake up and smell the coffee. Oh wait, it's black coffee so that can't be good right?

    October 12, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. Jean

    Thank you , Anonomous Canadian, you are SO right and very sensable. It is amazing how short a memory people have and how gullable they can be. If only the average American was as perceptive as you are.

    October 12, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. Honesty

    How can Liberals be so stupid.

    October 12, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. The_Mick

    These results are tremendously out of sync with poll after poll and media editorial after editorial. Biden conclusively won.

    October 12, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. Pete Iverson

    Ryan's closing comments should have been like this:

    (looking into the camera)

    "Please take a good look at the man sitting across from me. His actions, his demeanor, his "My Way Or The Highway" approach to the issues that face our nation clearly illustrates what is wrong with our government today. The American people may not witness it everyday like we in senate and house do, but they can't ignore it's everyday effects while the economy drags, our country looses status in the world and there is so much uncertainty. The approval of our nations legislator is 7% because Joe...... the president of the Senate, has used this tactic his entire political career. To continue to allow this kind of bitter partisan leadership for another four years, will not only empower Joe and people like him, it will eventually destroy our republic.

    Our approach to making change in government begins with finding common ground on the issues. Gov. Romney has clearly demonstrated this leadership as the governor of Mass. We can not make a change in anything our government does, until we can find common ground. This is paramount to begin a change for the better. "

    ................... Then the rest of his speech This would have clearly illustrated to independents why this country is hurting so bad.

    October 12, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. Nange

    I thought Biden was more accurate in his facts than Ryan. I am Canadian and I can tell you that Ryan is totally wrong about the taxes we pay. It is a sliding scale that starts at 15% and goes up from there. Only someone making less than 20K would pay this low tax rate. The middle class would be paying 29% and above. If you are going to talk about another country get your facts straight and make sure that they don't pay for health care with those taxes.

    October 12, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. Kathleen

    Biden was a bumbling idiot and needs to stop making a joke of everything. It is time for Washington to get serious about the state of our nation. He made a complete fool of himself last night.

    October 12, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. Cindy

    Biden is diagnosable & the day I can relate to someone like him, is the day I stand in a corner & cry.

    October 12, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  25. tucsand

    With Romney as president we will be at war with Iran or Syria starting WWIII if it hasn't already been started?

    October 12, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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