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. ga.democrat

    Not sure who you polled CNN, but Biden clearly won this debate. He did an excellent job of calling Ryan out on his lies and showed his experience on foreign policy. The facts matter and Joe gave us the facts. Loved the part when Joe told of Ryan asking for stimulus money when Lyin Ryan had previously denied it. Wake up CNN....Biden took him to the woodshed!
    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  2. Chad

    Ryan did well considering that both Biden and the leftist moderator kept interrupting him and changing the subject, not to mention Biden's dishonesty, misrepresentation of facts, and childish smiling and laughing.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  3. Josh

    Whom did you poll? Romney campaign staff? I am sure even your own CNN staff would say Biden won. I don;t trust the veracity of your poll

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  4. Name kevin kelly

    That survey is pure trash. Biden slaughtered Ryan- Wake up people the fix is in. How come CNN own web page has Biden winning with 65%.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  5. Ann

    I was on the fence before this debate. And yes I voted Obama in 2008. I'm not on the fence anymore. Joe Biden, you're a horses ass. Ryan is a statesman.

    I'm not in love with all their policies, but at least they're not bullies. Biden = simpleton.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  6. Andrew

    Progs mad at cnn, hilarious

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  7. Alex

    Who can honestly say that Ryan won? Honestly...did people even watch? There hasn't been such a one-sided debate in years. Biden clearly CLEARLY won.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  8. Chris

    As my first post awaits CNN "moderation..." I like how 381 people are enough for CNN "THE MAJOR NEWS blah blah" is enough to make this debate winner call...

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  9. Dan

    I am an undecided and Ryan won the debate. He provided many facts and new ideas as we go forward. Biden did better than expected, but he had to.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  10. tominil

    Biden came across like he thought he was at a union rally. His demeanor was thuggish.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  11. Palin Power

    Biden got PWNED by Sarah Palin in 2008 and got PWNED again by Ryan. It is all over, stick a fork in Obama and Biden. They are one and done.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Biden walked away with it... Where did CNN get their results?

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  13. wakeupamerica

    what a joke...when asked "how religion has shaped your positions"....Biden states he has been tasked to take care of those in need.....GIVE ME A BREAK, has anyone looked at his tax returns, especially compared to Romney's? He gives NOTHING to charity which is the classic diabolic issue we have.....Rebulicans are very generous in their giving, Democrats give less.......think about it.
    Republicans give because their heart says give....not for the deduction.......

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  14. Brenda Blodgett

    What a bunch of malarkey! Joe won.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  15. Joyce

    this debate was not even close. biden schooled ryan. came out the more factually prepared, more passionate and more truthful and trustworthy. i don't understand these polls saying ryan won, on what? because biden was so passionate? they criticize him for correcting facts and calling ryan out? i would rather have someone like that, someone who is calls it the way it is than the hypocrisy of ryan and romney who would say anything to get a vote. romney is uniquely qualified to switch positions depending on who is listening.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  16. Bea

    Biden always goes overboard. Too much mugging and interruptions. I'm an Independent, so I listened with an open mind.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  17. dawn0834

    Biden all the way

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  18. Gimple

    If you consider being rude, disrespectful, and deceitful then yes... Biden won. Ryan presented facts in a calm and well spoken manner. He made Biden look like a fool.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  19. Brian

    Debate was mostly a wash....either side can claim with some merit their guy won...

    Biden giggling though gives the edge to Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  20. Gymrat

    He said "yes, we can", but he didn't .... oooops???

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  21. Barbara

    CNN, did you see the poll on your page? You guys are just as bad as Romney and Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Biden appeared to be on some type of upper. Very obvious. The speed started wearing off towards end of debate. Moderator in the tank for Biden. She was rude also. I am an independent but Obama better tell Joe to get some manners

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  23. Bob

    Biden came off as overly aggressive to me and desperate. He was far too rude, and it says a lot that the main trends on Twitter were #JoeIsTheJoker and #Joe'sTeeth. "Who ya gonna trust?" Not a Vice President that acts like a used car salesman...

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  24. Lindsey

    Um... Were the voters in this poll WATCHING the debate? Biden slammed every lie Ryan tried to say. Biden was the clear winner. Debates are not measured by who is the most polite...

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  25. Kmacc45

    Biden kicked ass with facts. CNN I have issues about you know now

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
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