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. Conor

    I love the responses on Ryan. Mocking his looks, his lips, his Eddie Munster face. However, there's nothing in those comments about his position. Unfortunately, these folks will be allowed to vote and will cast theirs based on ignorance. That's a shame.

    October 12, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. a disgrace but you voted for him

    biden gives his farewell speech and america says good riddance!! the winner is AMERICA!!!

    October 12, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. Jazzy

    BIDEN WON!!! Ryan was robotic and sounded like he memorized all his lines and talking points. Some people are saying that Biden was smiling. Well Ryan had a smirk on his face the whole time and looked like he was trying to remember what his next line was going to be. He could not specify how he was going to reduce the deficit and cut taxes for his rich contributors and friends. Republicans don't care about the working person/middle class, they never have. They have just done a better job of brainwashing a lot of people to vote against their own interests. Biden was genuine and sounded like he really does care about us. Go OBAMA/BIDEN

    October 12, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  4. Mojobutta

    Any woman that votes for a fist-head obnoxious congressman that's pro life with and against choice is insane.

    October 12, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Anyone who can seriously carry on a conversation....

    Anyone who can seriously carry on a conversation while you have a clown several feet away making faces, laughing and showing off his new dentures is someone I want in power. Paul Ryan was extremely professional the entire time and this guy to his right looked like he was somewhere lost in space.

    As for the clown, perhaps he can get a gig in the traveling-show.

    October 12, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Poll is correct. Good job CNN. Biden need to learn some manner. Can't believe VP of USA behave like that.

    October 12, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. Believer

    Biden's grin was sinister.

    October 12, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. scmaize

    Biden's manner was irritating, but, judged on facts and substance alone, he won by a mile. Every time Ryan lied or tried to avoid answering a question, Biden interrupted him. Ryan could have stopped the interruptions by telling the truth, but he either chose not to, or was unable to do so.

    October 12, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. ptb91

    Seemed to me like Biden was a bit unhinged and fighting with his back to the wall

    October 12, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Brian English

    Calling a poll of 381 people an actual "Poll" is rediculous. Anyone who has taken a statistics class can tell you that kind of polling is 100% JOKE! Margin of error is more like up to 20%

    I don't care who it shows in the lead 381 people is not a scientific poll

    October 12, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. JOhn

    Anyone who says Ryan won that debate is either a liar or an idiot.

    October 12, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  12. Silly boy

    i dont know what debate anybody saw, but the look on Mr. Ryan's face has summed it all for me. He had no answers to anything Biden asked.

    Can anybody here ask the question, the reason why so wealthy people come over to win elections and be president. Talk of patriots..common who are we kidding here aah ?

    October 12, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Body language says much more than the words we speak. This is where Biden lost the debate. Anyone paying attention figured this out within the first ten minutes.

    October 12, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. I'm retired, and I'm the 47%.

    Here's the bottom line. Romney and Ryan, the GOP's RnR kinds are all about rest, relaxation, and zero taxes for the Ultra Wealthy. This guy Romney never had a REAL job. His claim to fame is riding on his father's coat tails like Bush. His only semi-real job was heading up a fund of corporate raiders and sending hundreds of thousands of jobs to CHINA. Ryan is another wonder kid of the Billionaires. I would not buy a used car from either of them. Anyone who thinks otherwise is smoking dope. This kid Ryan proved last night that he's a confabulator. I've met a lot of con men in my life time, just like him.

    October 12, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Michael

    Let's go to war and give the rich people the tax breaks they deserve. Give those women the probe test even if they don't want it. Let's suppress the vote even if we get caught doing it! Let's reverse Roe vs. Wade and least of all lets have those on medicare get vouchers to shop for a doctor who will take them if the emergency room throws them out!

    October 12, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. youns

    Don't understand why you want as business man running the country – businessmen are what caused, in large part, this disaster. Feeling that things are better off now ... doesn't make sense if Republicans come in and take any credit for turning things around ... looks like that might happen based on polls. Disappointed Obama didn't do better at last debate – he had this sealed.

    October 12, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. tucsand

    I can see it now, right after the Inauguration ceremony, Mitt Romney will be ordering our military to war. If its WWIII then for you guys there will probably be the draft re started.

    October 12, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  18. And Justice for All!

    How CNN Poll can report that Ryan won last night debate is laughable. If Romney and Ryan are voted into the White House, then there plan is to phase out Medicare and privatize Social Security.
    Medicare, and the Romney and Ryan plan, why is okay to allow anyone 54 and younger to pay more? Saying we should allow people under 54 to pay more to have a choice later but on the other hand your critical of the fiscal deficit being passed down to the younger generation? Seems a bit hypocritical.
    Why continue the Bush Tax breaks to the super wealthy? For Romney and Ryan Greed is Good business. Same old song, just being replayed by another con-artists.

    October 12, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. Seriously!

    Clearly Beauty is not the only thing that lies in the eye of the beholder! Biden was so disrespectful and rude and showed no "older statesman" like manners. We get that he was told to do the opposite of Obama and be loud and steal the show one way or the other but, really, how can Dems support that behavior? Obama was at a loss without his teleprompter and prepared speeches as he does not have answers that will defend his record. Biden was another embarrassment of a different type... these debates show the story but the question is how to get some people to open their eyes and see!

    October 12, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. Market fools

    How do you call that a draw then go on to say 48 to 44 is no draw

    October 12, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. jeff postman

    I believe that Biden did all of the things the Democratic base asked him to do an left them feeling satisfied. However, I think he really hurt himself amongst undecided voters with his contrived laughter and interuptions that may have seemed strong at first, but soon began to look desperate when Ryan just ignored them and kept plowing through the issues.

    October 12, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    All but one poll I've seen shows Ryan won. Is what it is people.

    October 12, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. Lindsey Brutus

    Biden was acting like an elitist which, I guess, he thinks he is! Ryan was much more genuine and likable and on that I give him the edge!

    October 12, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. wow

    Fact: a promise was made to open minded americans hoping for improvement that the economy would be improved in four years, if not he was only to be a one term president.
    Fact: we owe more money than before and continue to spend, no jobs, fuel is highest it has ever been, and our security is
    is decreasing
    it's sad how true liberals applaud the vp's arrogance and wouldn't care if it were bin laden running as long as he ran as a democrat he is God.

    October 12, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Next Round!

    We wanna see Biden vs Romney!

    October 12, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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