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. dwp62

    Biden was an embarrassment to himself,his family, his party and his Country. He was rude and crude. Is that the kind of person we want running our Country. What a total disappointment. Wasn't sure until last night...he will never get my vote!!!

    October 12, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. wow

    how can anyone talk about romney not having a real job?? what qualifications did obama have before his presidency? take a look at both candidates before you throw darts at the other? i will remain independent but i'm sorry Ryan showed passion about our security while biden didnt have intelligence regarding libya...c'mon, maybe if our president attended his daily security briefings he would know

    October 12, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. h v nguyen

    wake up american, mr RYAN TELL THE TRUTH, I LOVE IT , THANKS

    October 12, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. R. Samuel Mowery

    Hello, Anonymous: The first Europeans to come to what is today the USA came fleeing from religious oppression. They were a very fragmented people, with varied religious preferences, hence Massachusetts settlements different from, and opposed, Rhode Island, and the like. They came to settle and build new lives for themselves, lives of freedom. Eventually more colonies were formed: Maryland was formed for Catholics by Lord Baltimore. William Penn was more for making room for all. Did you know that the police force in what is now Pennsylvania was completely native american into the French and Indian War? All these remarkable people managed to form together into one new nation, safe from European tyranny by the immense ocean, and the fastest land transportation being the horse. For a while the French colonies held the British against the Atlantic Ocean where they farmed and manufactured, and grew in strength and numbers. Up until the American Revolution, "slaves" in the south might as likely be white as black – whites sent from England to serve out minor crimes like stealing a loaf of bread for the starving family. This probably accounts for the number of Blacks with lighter skins than the "slave master" dominating the black woman thesis. Individual talent, and feedom to explore, settle this immense country (Texas itseld is as big as France; as big as Germany). Slavery almost died out completely until the invention of the cotton gin made production a major export for the South. The Native Americans did not grow in population as rapidly as the Europeans, probably because they were decimated by small pox and the like unintentionally carried by Europeans, and then raided each other's settlements to capture others to add to their own tribes. There is a lot more to our "founding principles" than meets the eye. The founders were struggling to end slavery, but first to build a new nation of merit, decency, religious freedom, family values, and the like. We have never suffered the horrors of many in Europe – before our settlement, and since.

    October 12, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. Debate...debacle

    I give the debate to Biden, however his performance was anything but presidential. I expect our country's leaders to act less childish, and more professional than what Joe exhibited on stage last night. He has the history and knowledge to knock Ryan out in these debates. Act your age Joe!
    Paul Ryan was awfully thirsty, but first rule in interviewing...DO NOT CHEW GUM. We all get a dry mouth under stress. I think Paul Ryan held his own against the shrewd ol codger. BTW, I lived in DE and voted for Joe in 10+ elections. Very disappointed last night.

    October 12, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. pat carr

    Stupid article. CNN your own front page poll shows biden at 62%.

    October 12, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. jk from MN

    Did I hear that CNN over sampled RepublicanS???? I guess this means that CNN polls are skewed. It almost looks like CNN wants to be more like FOX. Big mistake.

    October 12, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. tburgar

    Biden lost because he acted like a clown – disrespectful, uncontrolled, totally beneath the dignity of his office. Simple as that.

    October 12, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Why Why Why

    the sample is 381 voters? out of hundreds of millions? thats a joke right.

    October 12, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. debate2

    it looked like a grown man beating up a child.

    October 12, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. DaisyinNY

    tfinngolf. Nope even Fox News called it a tie. But Fox and CNN are BOTH owned by the same company, so it is in their best interest to keep people "debating" over who won, that way they get more viewers.

    October 12, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Why Why Why

    The sample is 381 voters? did they just stop when they had results they felt would get them the biggest ratings/unique visitor bump?

    October 12, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. independent

    I am very concerned about the growing debt our government is taking on and it’s growing dependence on money from China. My family has cut expenses to the bone and taken on extra part time jobs to make ends meet during this time and I expect my government to do the same. You can’t spend what you don’t have. The situation with Iran and nuclear weapons is extremely serious. I’m glad Mr. Biden finds all this so funny because I certainly do not. He came across as a buffoon and a snake oil salesman. I’m not sure if the Republicans have the answers but I am sure that Obama and Biden do not. What an arrogant condescending man. As an independent his disrespectful performance has made up my mind. It disturbs me even more that such a performance “fires” up his base. If I was a democrat, I would be embarrassed by his behavior, not commending it. Can you imagine having a serious discussion over important matters and having someone behave this way? Disgraceful.

    October 12, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    I AGREE WITH TRICKBUNNY!!! No one said how rude Rmoney (THAT'S HOW I SPELL HIS NAME) was to the moderator, so why is everyone on Biden's case. Truth be told if your not a millionaire, you need to be voting for Obama/Biden. Rmoney is going to hoard American $$$ for himself and his rich buddies like the Koach Bros. AND TO THINK THIAT IS THE GROUP THAT SAYS THEY HAVE ALL THE MORALS! WWJD!

    October 12, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. Bruce

    Appears that although people were watching, many were not listening. But, that is TV.

    October 12, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. Jerry Carrier

    Why is CNN the only media to say the debate was a draw????? Even the poll you had live showed almost two thirds thought Biden won. Every other poll found the same. The poll CNN chose to use had only about 300 respondents and a disclaimer that said the majority were Republicans.Your analysts all wrongly empahasized your biased findings. I thought FOX was biased. I will not watch CNN on politics. Are you politically biased or do you want a closer race to sell soap? Disgusting!

    October 12, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. jason

    Biden won

    October 12, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  18. DaisyinNY

    tfinngolf. Nope even Fox News called it a tie. But F O X and C N N are BOTH owned by the same company, so it is in their best interest to keep people "debating" over who won, that way they get more viewers.

    October 12, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Big Daddy

    Biden's responsed by smiling and making faces is just a natural reaction to a person who is lying without presenting any facts. That is exactly what Ryan was doing. He had no clue of what was going on. By the way, whoever conducted the poll, did not ask me what I thought. Just a freidnly reminder that president Obama inherited this country in a worse shape than Bush inherited it from Clinton. Therefore, our president cannot fix in four years what took Bush and the Republicans to mess up in eight.

    October 12, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. Joan

    Biden was on top of it and responded to every issue with great retorts. What's the matter? Obama was too polite and everyone whined about his style even though Romney did a Dr. Jeckle, Mr. Hyde, jumping from extreme to moderate with saleman swagger. It's like the 3 Bears...Oh, this porridge is too cold...but now that Biden came out with passion, the porridge is too hot. That's just style, but the matter is the same. It's honest, consistent, and has substance.

    October 12, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. Rob

    Would ANYONE in this country seriously want Joe Biden's finger on the nuclear button?!! Can you see that clown in negotiations with Russia or China? Come on folks! It makes for entertaining TV but lets get this jester and his weak boss out of office!

    October 12, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. Commen Sense

    How could Biden actually ask me to believe that we didn't know the day of the attacks that it wasn't related to a video. He can sit there on national television and tell the American people that our intelligence knows for sure that Iran doesn't have all the igredients to make a nucular bomb, however, we were clueless to the fact that it was a terrorists attack when no protest were even being held. Ok Biden, I'll use my "commen sense" on that one too!

    October 12, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. k moom

    I was in the middle but have now moved towards the Romney-Ryan team as we can't have a VP who is so disrespectful and ignorant. Also, we know all candidates embellish/minimize facts but to completely lie about Libya as Biden did is inexcusable

    October 12, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. Big Daddy

    If it seemed like JB was interrupting Paul Ryan, it was because he could not let him continue with his lies and contradictions. The same thing happens with Mitt Romne, he says one thing today and then something different tomorrow. Ryan said tha Romney cares about 100% of the people, but just remember that not too long ago, Romney said that he would not care for the other 47%. What a pair of airheads.

    October 12, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. lagergeld

    A 4% win for a Republican is a "draw," yet the same margin won by a Democrat is a win?

    Just how low can CNN stoop?

    October 12, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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