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. douglas

    Ryan is a joke with a sob story,

    October 12, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. M. Magoo

    The republicans don't like Biden"s grins and chuckles because everyone was when Ryan was exaggerating, misleading or out right lying. The republicans don't want us to notice that. When Biden spoke it was with passion and knowledge, and calling out Ryan for the exaggerating, misleading and lying. You notice they aren't complaining that he lied or got facts wrong they are saying he was disrespectful and acting crazy. NOT – his grins and chuckles remind me of Reagan saying to Carter – "There you go again". Ryan just had more moments of "there you go again"!

    October 12, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Antwan Merriweather

    ..Ryan took 14 sips of water during the debate. Is he on a diuretic?????

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

    Jennyvee is an example of the level of intellect of the average Democratic voter. Semi-literate at best.

    October 12, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. palusko996769

    I won. Because I didn't watch it.

    October 12, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Jules26

    Hi there, just a Canadian observer interested in the election, I too cannot believe the poll results......Joe Biden clearly dominated & won this debate......Paul Ryan is not even in the same league as Joe......

    October 12, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Who won?

    How many times can reps vote in the poll?

    October 12, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Carol

    Both did well. This debate just confirmed the way everyone was going to vote – I don't believe the debate changed anyone's vote. For those who are "undecided" stay home. The beliefs of the two tickets are so different I don't know how anyone can be undecided! So far each debate has confirmed the way I am planning on voting. I love the way America was and still can be if we change course now. I am voting for the America, Americans have fought and died for not the one the current administration wants and is working on changing it to!

    October 12, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Shalit

    The campaign leaders for Obama (and believe or not I'm Democrat who was very active) said that they will go back and evaluate their strategy after the Obama Romney debate. I don't know the people who took over the party, but it's embarrassing. You went for tactics that to appeal to immature people and those who smoke dope and have the giggles. Biden appaered to9 be a bad debater and a superb idiot.

    On Yahoo, people wrote "tell me what Biden was on. I want some." It was not a good tactic. And I am not going to vote for Obama, who has demonstrated incompetence, insensitivity and indifference to the American people.

    October 12, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Jerry

    Biden reminded me of my EX-Wife, who constantly interupted me and everyone else she talked at. Gave me the chills!

    October 12, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. John Jaynes

    Ryan has the only sensible solutions to our nations problems.
    Joe Biden is like the likeable drunk at the end of the bar who talks a good game but has no intention of backing up anything he says. He is Obama's yes man.
    I hope all you left leaners are happy when Obama/Biden ticket is re-elected and the cost of living in the US keeps rising (all due to Obama's policies). Obama's stopped drilling on federal lands = higher gas prices, (Obama even said earlier in his administration that US gas prices needed to be in line with Europe $5-$6 gal.), more executive orders with EPA regulations (because he couldn't get the Cap & Tax through even with a democratic controlled House and Senate) on Power plants = higher utility bills, food prices due to increased business regulation & fuel prices = higher costs at the market, His GE jobs Czar closing plants in US and opening plants in China = less jobs. Bankrupting of the US so he can re-form this nation into a socialists society. Maybe only after all of this, will the people of this nation pull their heads out of the sand, by then it will be WAY too late. The American people are like a frog you put into luke warm water and then gradually turn up the heat, when the frog relaizes the water is boiling, it is too late.

    October 12, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. Who won?

    Funny how ppl comment on the debate as though it was DWTS.

    October 12, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Lawrence Smith

    What is most troubling to me about the Democrats is how very arrogant and dismissive they are toward their Republican challengers. If Obama and Biden had created a robust economic recovery and had the deficit under control, they might have a right to act that way. But with an uncertain economic condition, they should be interested in debating the issues and respecting other possibilities for how to solve our nation's problems. Obama promised to be a uniter, how can you be a uniter when you show no respect for other opinions? How could Obama and Biden possibly get anything through Congress in the next four years when they refuse to engage the Republicans in a respectful and productive way? Remember, Obama had a Democratic Congress for the first 2 years, and he basically ignored the Republicans and did exactly as he wished. So why should he not be held accountable for the results?

    October 12, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. keepingup1

    @Anonymous. If you are going vote on who was rude and not on facts; than you must be voting for Obama since Bully Mitt was so rude during his debate. I'll rather for the leader of this country to have more tact than the VP, which I might add, did give Ryan time to answers. Biden just couldn't believe that Ryan could just lie so easily. I laughed out loud at him too.

    October 12, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Biden for Pres

    We need this kind of character at the helm!~

    October 12, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Brian M.

    I've watch CNN more regularly over the past couple of years than any other cable news network. I've found them to be fair and state the issues of both political parties on an even playing field. Even with the opinions of some of there more defined Right or Left news anchors. However during this election year I have notice a shift. There seems to be a more consorted effort to lead and misinform the American viewers into accepting the Republican party. Just without actually saying it. What I heard last night after the Vice Presidential debates and previously during the coverage after the 1st Presidential debate made me for the first time question CNN's credibility as a mostly down the middle news network. Their of coverage of their own CNN/ORC International Nationwide Spot Poll (48% Ryan – 44% Biden) was so in favor of Congressman Paul Ryan and so different from the CBS and other National debate polls, that I had to take pause. The manipulation of the information and facts about the debate threw out the night and into early this morning by some of there panels and anchors recapping to the viewers who didn't watch the debat or basically in hopes to change the minds of those of us who did, really troubled me .So I decide to take the time to a little research on this CNN poll that they were so strongly defending and denouncing any other credible poll that was released around the same time. What I found and what they are now acknowledging and defending today in there afternoon news coverage is their poll of these National and International serious debate viewers consist of only 381 people that they supposedly contacted by phone, Yep! Thats it...That who CNN claims represents All of the Voters of America. And here's the good part. Of the 381 people polled there were around 8% or a maybe little bit more registered republican voters that were used in their poll. With a 15% room for error just encase things swung the other way. Oops... I'm sorry CNN you have to explain to me why you had your anchors questioning anyone who viewed Vice President Joe Biden as the winner of the debate last night, to then "explain your factual un biased (48% Paul Ryan) CNN/ORC Poll results" as a response to there views and opinions on what they saw and believed with there own eyes. The fact that CNN justified this Poll and defended its merit up until this afternoon is appalling to me and completely changed my views as well as I'm sure a number of your worldwide viewers opinions on were this network is going and who really runs it!

    October 12, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Seriously!

    @ I'm retired, and I'm the 47%; Clearly you are in the ??% that refuse to see the truth and won't let facts get in the way of opinion.

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

    Biden looked like a guy who had a few too many sitting on a bar stool unwilling to let anyone else get a word in edge wise. Very unpresidential, especially for a sitting VP. His actions and comments only push the divide in America even further.

    October 12, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. On the Fence

    I thought Ryan's demise was outstanding- very confident answered the questions and was gracious enough to allow Biden to speak and not interrupt him...unlike Biden himself who appeared to act like an attack dog, smile and smirk every time Ryan had something to say is down right rude. Those that are on the fence here at work are now leaning toward the Romney/Ryan ticket.

    October 12, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. Aaron

    Ryan clearly won this. Biden got aggressive and very defensive, in the debate world that mean you fell flat on your face and lost. Sure he had some points> Sure the libs got his blind support, that's not what matters, the independents are what matters. Nothing Biden did/said made me feel like he's part of a team that can pull this country together. Also, those who are dependent on government support, your opinion doesn't matter.

    October 12, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Sylvia

    The debate was close I think both candidates held their own very well. However If we look at both candidates it's pretty clear who has more experience, and which candidate knows what is really going on in the white house, what the joint chiefs of the the war department are doing and thinking, and it's Joe Biden. Joe Biden was demonstrating his feelings of superiority and many will take offense to that, it's not exactly polite. But I imagine it was extremely frustrating for Joe Biden to engage in a debate with Paul Ryan who has much less experience working on legislation, so much less experience with foreign policy, and has limited access to the west wing and the daily workings of the president. If I were Joe Biden it would hard for me to me not to grimace, so I can see how the smiling and the laughing would be a good alternative to grimacing and grinding his teeth.

    October 12, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Deb Gabbard

    It scares me to death that joe Biden would be next in line if something should happen to the president. Life is not a joke.

    October 12, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. anaida

    the winner debate is Joe Baidden ! I look the debate i like the message the Joe in open my vision! rite now my vote is for Obama and Joe ! Romney and Ryan is laird! that people destroyed this nation! Obama and Joe is good people and try protesting the nation and old people!

    October 12, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Robert

    How can anyone, with any intelligence and integrity, say anything other than Ryan clearly won the debate, hands down. Biden's performance was supercilious, inaccurate, blustery, pompous and boring. Ryan's was fresh, on point, accurate and pleasant. One would clearly invite Ryan for lunch for a decent conversation. The same cannot be said for Biden. We like our elected officials to be leaders, polite and people we would invite into our homes. Biden failed on all points, even with the assistance of moderator Raddatz, who tried to help him as much as she could. Go Ryan!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Seriously!

    "...The manipulation of the information and facts about the debate threw out (throughout) the night and into early this morning by some of there (their) panels and anchors recapping to the viewers who didn't watch the debat (debate) or basically in hopes to change (of changing) the minds of those of us who did, really troubled me .( )So I decide to take the time to (do) a little research on this CNN poll that they were ...." Do your own research folks!!

    October 12, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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