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. emdub

    Best part was when Biden had Ryan admit to asking for stimulus money to create jobs and grow the economy – no wonder Biden was laughing

    October 12, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. Kristin Stevens

    Who was polled? Biden clearly bested Ryan who came off as brash, inexperienced, and unable to do the math. Moreover, how does Ryan (and Romney) get away with criticizing the Administration for lack of funding for embassy security when the GOP has made the cuts?

    October 12, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  3. EG

    After both debates – game over. Obama & Biden lose. The US wins. Other then refusing to admit it, I don't see how anyone can disagree.

    October 12, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. gwill

    Let me get this right. Rush Limbaugh is a loud mouth jerk who you conservatives think gives you the gospel on all subjects political. But Mr. Biden raises his voice a little in a debate and he is to over the top. Did you actually listen to what was said??? Ryan/Romney care nothing about the middle class. They think anyone on social programs is a freeloader. And they will throw us into another war and get us right back where we were at the end of Bush's term.

    October 12, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  5. gymdad

    Biden did not win this debate. He was a tool. The crazy drunk uncle that you laugh at during the Thanksgiving Dinner. Biggest note, Biden made a hug mistake about Libya. Seriously, who could rest at night if Biden moved up to President? He was a disaster. As a Catholic, Biden was a disgrace.

    October 12, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. Jean2010

    Joe Biden won hands down !!!!! Everybody watching it knows he did also. Somebody is rigging the pools to discourage democratic voters. Biden was aggressive and fired up while at the same time he knew and spoke the facts. I also find it intersting that when Romney was aggressive with the president this approach was seen as him being confident and the president who was calm was seen as having a lack of energy. I smell a rat!

    October 12, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  7. Ethelsdad

    Curious because when I voted on the on-line poll last night at 9:40 central time it was 2/3 Biden to 1/3 Ryan. Seems like all the trolls got the word out and skewed the results

    October 12, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  8. Jon Samuel

    Adam63 – yes they did "pole" you. it happened when they passed Obamacare legislation.

    October 12, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. Todd

    I can't believe so many people are denying that Biden won the debate. I'll admit any time that Romney beat Obama in the first debate. It was as obvious with that debate as it was with this VP one and Biden obviously won.

    October 12, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  10. John Ashton

    Joe Biden clearly won the debate, no contest, it was a clinic. Mr. Biden is a true professional, he been around the block and worked in the political arena for a long time. He represents the middle class and everyday americans , he's smart knows whats going on in the world and we need his expertise. The other guys (R), two rich guys who are clueless about what going on in the world, How many of Romneys' sons served in the military? that what I thought. Romney and Ryan are not to be trusted unless ofcourse you're rich like they are then go for it.

    October 12, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Jon Samuel

    Ryan won the debate in the first 5 minutes. Biden was supposedly the foreign policy "brains" of this regime. The regime messed up Eqypt where they burnt our flag. They helped illegally assassinate a foreign leader in Libya where our consulate has been sacked and burned and our ambassador murdered and dragged through the streets. They denied proper security on 9/11 of all dates and then tried to cover up the mess. Biden then lies about the security situation which is public knowledge. America has had enough of the arrogance and lies. These people will be leaving the WH in January.

    October 12, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. Holly

    For Taylor,

    If you understand someone constantly lies about what they say and repeatly saying over and over looks like they are true, you should be able to laugh. You prefer vice president to lose temper and you would feel better. Republicans are liers. Only if you are one of them. you would not understand of anything V P laughing the whole time.

    October 12, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  13. blake

    Biden qualified to be president. Are you kidding me? The man has all the maturity and sophistication of a 3rd grader. He was unhinged and a jerk in last night's debate. He is a disgrace to the office of VP.

    October 12, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  14. JD

    Mitt Romney's son, Tagg Romney, has been engaged in a contract with a surrogate mother with the stipulations that if the child being carried was not up to the Romney's specifications, that the Romney family would have the final say if the child would be aborted or not. In other words the Romney family used their money to buy the power to end a human life, something that Mitt Romney has spoken out against vehemently in the past.

    October 12, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  15. Victoria

    VP Biden appeared to be the professor. Mr. Ryan appeared to be the student. I do respect experience.

    October 12, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  16. Sef

    Must really have torn up this network to post those results

    Scott

    October 12, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  17. Ernie

    There is a reason why Ryan did not give specifics. They have a framework in place. From that framework they are going to work WITH democrats and republicans to come up with the best solutions to the problem. That is why they can not give specifics. Many minds are better then two. You idiots who say you want specifics have no clue what you are talking about. He gave you the information on what they specifically wanted to do, just now how they are specifically going to do it. Do you not think they will once they have reached bipartisan agreement? Biden lied twice during the debate, do you really want a liar in the whitehouse? If he lied in a debate, what and when else will and has he lied. Duh.

    October 12, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  18. Anailza D.

    Joe Biden's tactics may have worked back in the sixties, but its out of date in today's world! My mother always told me that people who couldn't control their laughing when they were talking to you face to face couldn't be trusted and to get away from them! Paul Ryan is a modern man and makes more sense than what giibberish Joe was saying. Ryan was the clear winner here!

    October 12, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. lbpaulina

    These polls are ridiculous, but this is what the media give us. They manipulate us, and we, obedient puppets, become more and more brainwashed. In the shadow of the scare for higher taxes (fact that is good, because it means that we are not poor) we the people will follow exactly what the networks will tell us to do. Hope they won't tell us to become all Mormons. Never.
    I do not understand why our President wishes to remain our leader, I think we do not deserve him. In the years of his Presidency he was able to make such things that nobody was ever able to do. For example, he would like to give us a better health system than the one we currently have, the worst and most corrupted in the world, but the lobbyists explain to us that a change would not be in our interest.
    Do you want to show that Biden was the worst of the debaters? OK. He was the worst. Do you want to show that Biden has old ideas, lack of style, etc.? Maybe, but CNN should begin to fire the 50% of his wonderful political panel because it is ANCIENT and behind, and... style? Just look at the clothes, hair cuts, etc. no good taste at all.

    October 12, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Biden was completely arrogant and rude. I felt sorry that this is our (current) vice president.

    October 12, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  21. Ernie

    Sam, Biden did not speak statistically, Ryan did. What debate did you watch? Oh, you watched the fantasy land debate. Romney showed what a liar Obama is during their debate. You have two liars in the whitehouse, is this really what you want representing the country? If it is, you people are really stupid and deserve what you get.

    October 12, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. jay walker

    I sure hope no children watched that debate. Because say it isnt so joe showed our youth its ok to be a bulley!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. Mary

    In the debate, Vice-President Biden was a sneering boor; Moderator Martha Raddatz was ineffective and biased; and Congressman Ryan was respectful, informed and sincere.

    October 12, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. Justin

    Only poll count on Nov-6-2012.

    October 12, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. debbieqd

    Well, here's what we learned from the debate about the Romney/Ryan ticket:
    1. Social Seurity and Medicare will be privatized
    2. The likelihood of war(s) is quite probable under Romney/Ryan
    3. Women will become second-class citizens; white male lawmakers will dicatate their every bodily function.
    4. Middle class taxes will definitely go up
    5. The American safety net will be completely taken away

    October 12, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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