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. L Rivera

    And to think Biden is only a heartbeat away... scary.

    October 12, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. Just the facts, please

    You folks should go to Factcheck.org and view who spewed the most lies and exaggerations before you decide who really won the debate.

    October 12, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. abbydelabbey

    Ryan lied repeatedly .... this man along with his running mate are totally untrustworthy - Biden may shoot from the lip occasionally but he is not dishonest.

    October 12, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. drgary

    Biden's behavior last night could be described as obnoxious and uncaring. This is our VP who is laughing, smirking and smiling while discussing serious issues. Millions of Americans are out of work and people are struggling both financially and personally. I do not find that humerous or anything to smile about. I also found his behavior as unprofessional not befitting for a VP. God help us if something tragic happens to our President, because based upon Mr. Biden's mannerisms last night and his countless gaffes he is famous for, I would lack the confidence that this man could lead our country in a presidential manner that our country mandates. Is this how he is going to behave while negotiating with members of Congess or when when negotiating trade agreemnents, human rights, or other important issues to other foreign diplomats.I also found it quite remarkable about his stance with Iran. All reports indicate that Iran will acquire enough nuclear material at the 20% grade level or greater by this next spring. His position based upon his statements, that even if they do acquire the nuclear material for a warhead, they do not have a delivery method. So his position is to wait until they do develop this delivery method, then what? At that point in time the sanctions he spoke about would be pointless and Isreal and possibly her allies would be in danger. Iran also could be selling or distributing this material to terrorists who are intent on destroying our country before they they develop a ddelivery method. The VP must understand that to the Iranians, Muslim Brotherhood and other terroist groups, this is a religious war and we are considered the great satan in their minds. Sanctions mean nothing to them as they are prepared to die for thier cause. I'm by no means a foreign diplomat but this administration's foreign policy should make Americans question.

    October 12, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. mike

    Really seriously !? A poll of 381 of those 381 183 of those viewers are Obama supporters and 198 are for Romney, that's all that poll says.

    October 12, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. Lin Farrell

    I am a SC independent voter and I really liked the job Joe Biden did...he showed passion and faith in us,,,Thank you Joe Biden!!!

    October 12, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Plew

    CNN needs bring on better politcal commentary team and forget about the GRUMPY OLD MEN like David Gergen and Axel. After last night debate it is hard for me to beieve CNN electorial map and their numbers at the poles. Seems like you guys borrowed a face form Romney.

    October 12, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Haha! People think Lyin' won this debate? I have no faith in people who watch debates. What are these opinions based on? RMoney and Lyin' are just car salesmen and it looks like the public is getting ready to buy. We deserve to get reamed for being such m0r0ns.

    October 12, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. Dogwood Acres

    48% feel Ryan won the debate? 85% of Americans believe in Intelligent Design so your results aren't much of a surprise.
    The masses must be taught to listen to understand. CNN, please stop the Undecided Voter 'thing' at the bottom of the screen during debates as it just paints a picture that many Americans aren't particularly bright.

    October 12, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Joe

    Biden was so rude, may God bless Obama so Biden won't be have any chance to become president.
    Ryan like like someone who could be fit to be a president.
    On the surface, Biden beat up Ryan on the debate, but he lost my vote.

    October 12, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. RK

    Biden interrupted more than 80 times in a 90 minutes debate.
    That is rude, impolite, unprofessional, and clearly showed how desperate he was to win the debate. He was trying too hard to gain the ground lost by Obama in the first debate. The moderator sat there like a fool and let him misbehave because she is from the liberal media and was too hungry to see Biden win.
    He should have retired from the Senate long back. He is not worthy of any civilized debate.
    He clearly lost with his stupid behavior and his supporters know it but they are too greedy to admit it because they do not want to lose the handout this administration has been giving them. The handout money that we don't have and are borrowing from China or printing like newspapers.
    The handout hungry crowd would be happy to borrow from China than to admit that Biden lost by behaving like an idiot.

    October 12, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. My Mind Is Made Up Now

    Was Biden drunk last night. Talk about being rude and interrupting all the time. He showed all the classic signs of nerves getting to him. He had to hold a pen, always pointing, laughing and wasn't very clear on the facts. Basically he had his head handed to him last night and Biden did most of this to himself. I wasn't sure who I was voting for but after watching both debates, the failures in Libya and now another American dead in Yemen, I will be voting for Romney.

    October 12, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Bill

    was Joe Biden our October surprise?? sure was a good one!!

    October 12, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. Par

    Just like Biden I don't believe any of this load of malarky
    CNN use to be a pretty fair news network its anything but anymore
    It rates up there with FOX if your a so-called librerial Why oh why on gods green earth would you listen to this network

    October 12, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. salvatorecimino

    What a bunch of baloney from the pollsters they say OBAMA was soft and didn't take advantage of the lies and openings Romney gave him and seemed weak.Then they criticize .Joe Biden for being too strong . They say Biden kept interrupting Ryan but failed to mention Romneys many many times he not only interrupted Obama but also the moderator who positivily stunk. The pollsters made fun of Obama's add on Big Bird but no mention of Romney, being
    the one who injected Big Bird in to the debate right at the start. JOE BIDEN KICKED RYANS BUTT ESPECIALY ON FOREIGN POLICY AND IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. What bothers me most is the Facts seem to have disappeared in the eyes of the people. Romney has changed what he believes in multiple times he has insulted half the population as lazy, insulted the British the Chinese and the Russians He likes to fire people (his words not mine) he an Ryan have not given any yes I said any ZERO specifics on their plan.. Obama inherited the mess from Bush And this election is close? it tells me two things The Supreme Court is proving you can buy Elections of the other 57% that Romney did not talk about have short memories. We are the 98% and the 2% are close to winning WOW NOTHING TO BE PROUD OF. WAIT UNTIL THEY TAKE AWAY OUR DEDUCTIONS THAT WE TAKE FOR OUR MORTGAGE INTEREST AND
    WHICH THEY DO NOT WANT TO TELL US ABOUT AMONG OTHER MONEY WE WILL LOSE. BUT IT WILL BE TOO LATE. WAKE UP AMERICA GET YOUR MEMORY BACK.

    October 12, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Norm

    Look at all the GOPher trolls crying about Biden doing the exact same thing Romney did.
    We really don't care what the Republiclowns think.
    This election is to keep those degenerate liars out of our government.
    No more Bush politics.
    Thats all they have to offer.

    October 12, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. wow

    @bigdaddy...find new material, it is old and used up, it might hold substance if he didn't PROMISE to improve it in these 4 years..instead he dug us deeper

    October 12, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. Edward Lawrence

    I think Biden was on top of his game last night. He played the role of a clownish buffoon better than ever last night.

    October 12, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. Darren

    I was leaning Obama before Romney/Obama debate, but afterwords felt that Romney is much more sound on the economy. His performance made me very interested. As far as this debate, it was frustrating listening to Biden snickers and loud obnoxious behavior while I was trying to understand Ryan's arguments. I think that the VP debate confirmed my shift to Romney.

    October 12, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. sweetwilli

    Dignity and respect are earned. A chubby commentator on CNBC was attacking Joe Biden this morning for smiling and smirking and not showing Paul Ryan the respect he is due. He said that if he was Paul Ryan, he would have gotten up and hit Biden in the face- that is vice-presidential, I guess.
    Romney modeled debate strategy for Ryan by using the fast talking, more lies than Obama could possibly respond to plan. Obama mistakenly gave him dignity and respect that he did not deserve and he got no points for it. Biden did what you have to do to serial liars, call them out on each one even if you have to interrupt. It is not polite, but it is effective and justified to control pathological liars.
    Paul Ryan knew that Biden’s tactics were justified. He and Mitt believe that leadership means doing and saying whatever it takes to get what you want. If you are not willing to do or say whatever it takes, you are a loser who belongs in the 47%. Romney’s 47% comments really reveal his character, or lack thereof.

    October 12, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. Hendu71

    How can anyone look at those numbers and say it was a "draw"? More people said it would make them more likely to vote for Romney. More likeable. More in touch with the american people (wth, even that surprised me). Uncommitted voters who watched the debate gave Biden the edge over Ryan by a 50%-31%. The only thing Biden "won" on was spending more time attacking his opponent. Even if it over-sampled republicans by 2%, the numbers don't add up to a draw. CNN, why are you dismissing your own numbers?

    October 12, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Larry

    "This poll does not and cannot reflect the views of all Americans"?
    Are you kidding me? What poll reflects the views of all Americans? Helloooo...that's why they call it a poll.

    Also "One-third of the respondents who participated in tonight's survey identified themselves as Republicans", the last time I checked , one third is 33.333, which means that there were less republicans than democrats.
    But for the sake of argument, I will do the math that based on your number and it is 100-34-31= 35

    So there we 35% Republicans and 34% democrats on a poll that favored Ryan by 4 points.

    In conclusion, if you guys at CNN don't like the results of your own polls...don't do them.

    October 12, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Rick

    Did anyone else notice that Ryan kept reaching for that glass of water.

    October 12, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. JerPell

    If it were 48% Biden and 44% Ryan the headline would have said Biden crushes Ryan.....But the bias media calls it a split....The greatest threat to this county is our bias main stream media...."Don't pick sides, just tell the mews!"

    October 12, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. daveinla

    The moderator wanted to talk about Libya for half an hour. ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    October 12, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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