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. Jerry

    I think Biden showed himself to be the liberal version of Rush Limbaugh. While we need to muzzle both of those idiots, only one is a step away from the Presidency. Are you scared yet? I am........

    October 12, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  2. 2 Cents

    Republicans policies are just as hot as the HOT AIR coming out of them, weooo Stinks.
    I am not sure why they even bother after all this devastation that had been done by them previously and want to do more for Americans, come-on, who do you think you are fooling? only yourself. If I were them (god no), I would put my tail between my legs and let the real people with real policies get on with business of rebuilding the country.

    October 12, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  3. JPX

    Biden obviously won the debate. Ryan appeared wet behind the ears and kind of dumb.

    October 12, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  4. Rob

    Really....these debates mean nothing.. for the most part, regardless of what people are saying, there opinions are made up, there are VERY few actual undecided votes to be had. That being said, clearly, the republicans are looking better in debates, it really isn't up for argument, to that point, will it impact the election....nope, I think this one is pretty much in hand for Obama. A couple of points about previous posts 1) you are wrong when you said "republicans are all liars", it's actually "politicians are all liars". What this country is missing, not from those idiots on TV, but from it's citizens, are people respecting other people's opinions, and treating each other like Americans... we are a VERY divided country right now, and it's sad. Try not to label your neighbor/co-worker/friend as a liar, just due to political association, we are as the people of this country, are doing ourselves in....breeding an environment of hate....just based on a political stance, and it needs to stop.

    October 12, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  5. Luke

    Biden is a pompus fool and it showed.... ryan won by merely keeping his cool, presenting a plan and not looking like a damn loud mouth bum.

    October 12, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  6. melvin

    If it had truly been a "debate", neither side won. This was a bar fight, and Ryan got dropped like a girly-man.

    October 12, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  7. marctheduck

    I don't know who won but the viewers lost. It was boring and strange. The only thing Iearned is that Biden's top ten front teeth are all capped. Yes, I could count them.

    October 12, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  8. PaulC

    The depressing thing is that these are the same voters who saw George II as a strong leader.
    You'll never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American voter.
    Hey...I survived the 8 year disaster of George II so Romney/Ryan can't be much worse...can it?

    October 12, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  9. Scott tranName

    Any way Ryan win lastnight

    October 12, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  10. NameDoug

    We smart people can see thru Ryan Avoiding questions with slick Answers, good job Joe for your sincere honest answers

    October 12, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  11. helenle

    I choice BIDEN ....Because he told with every body direct ,in 4 years he and OBAMA give their heart for unite state ,they was make alot ,but the people dont happy ....
    DEAR SIR/ MADAM:
    Please !!!Can SIR/MADAM are thinking again...I am vietnam ,My life very difficult ,I live with my mom.
    But I think :OBAMA is SAINT....He was device his life for every body ...Althought I and my mom did not get
    his money .....But alot people live at sanjose got his money ....He gave fo people poor ,to bought coat for winter ...
    That is heart 's SAINT.
    I am not relationship with him....But he gave for me one lesson....So that I tried study very good ...when I will the doctor ,After that I forget my self and I will device all for every body...I study good ..That is God gave me ...And I should device all.....
    Dear SIR /MADAM:
    Our President poor ,he didnt rich...He was not think him self .....IS HE SAINT?
    or our FATHER ( He is GOD) ?
    Do you know?If the GOD for us poor and difficult ,we will not complain GOD...we still talk with GOD help us .
    The president OBAMA the same .....He is people ,He have 2 hand ,2 leg , 2 ear .....Why we dont write leter to him
    ,why we did not help him ......

    October 12, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  12. Name

    Yeah right. Biden won entirely!

    October 12, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  13. 15grains

    You don't win a debate by interupting your opponent – oh wait that's exactly what democrats do, they are not interested in debate – they are the ones who want to talk to an empty chair

    October 12, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  14. marctheduck

    It was the most boring and least informative debate I can remember seeing. The format was part of the problem. I thought the moderator knew her stuff and handled herself well but the free for all format made this debate worthless to watch. I thought I was watching a really bad sitcom with an incredibly obnoxious laugh track.

    October 12, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. Glenn

    I cannot believe that it bothers Anyone to see someone smile. All of you that really watched the debate knows that Biden smiled when Ryan was telling untrue things and he knew that he would be calling him on them. The smiling that Joe Biden had was what is called "Sarcastic Expressions" because of the lies that he was hearing. They were to let Everyone know that what Ryan was saying was in no way, shape or form, realistic or true. And I have read that some people had hurt feelings at Joe for being on offense against Ryan. Have you forgotten about the debate between Obama and Romney? Have you forgotten how rude that Romney was the entire debate, even to the commentator? The main differance between the debates is that in The VP debate, Biden told the TRUTH and the Presidential debate Romney told LIES.

    October 12, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. real middle class

    Hey Blessourprez, What kool-aid are your drinking. I guess you must have received one of the free cell phones. Tell me one thing Obama has done. Only people that think he is great are the ones getting fee stuff.

    October 12, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  17. shawn

    This debate does not matter at all. Its a tie therefore a win for Romney. The stays quo remains until the next presidential debate.

    October 12, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. ArtW

    I definitely do not support Obama/Biden, but I thought Biden did a good job last night. He was . . . convincing. Particularly if the viewer does not follow events very closely (or even at all). Ryan did just fine as well. Clearly, Biden showed up knowing he had to pick up the slack for Obama – so he was working it big-time. Unfortunately, being 'aggressive' instead of 'the aggressor', is a mistake in debates (look it up if you don't know what I'm referring to). That's why you are seeing the rsults as they are. I, for one, wished Ryan would have pointedly asked Biden 'what the he!!'s so funny? – do you take the economy or the loss of life in Libya as comical? Wipe that malarkey-eating grin off your face!' Of course, that would be 'aggressive' (see the difference). Biden has always been a good debater – even though he is a bit of a buffoon. How he ever became this so-called 'foriegn policy expert' is beyond interesting . . . he's never really done anything notable in that area. In the debate, he was, apparently, even unaware that the Embassy in Libya had requested additional security – and then blamed it on the State Department . . . as if the State Department does not communicate with the WH (and, if they didn't in this case, we have another issue – bad leadership either way). The reduction in security $ that Biden referred to . . . is for fiscal year 2013 – and had no bearing at all. But I'm sure many viewers would not have known that fact either . . .

    October 12, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  19. Buzz1975

    Biden won this debate. Not sure who they polled...but they were obviously not watchng the same debate I did! Biden won on substance and debate STYLE. Biden put Ryan, the little lying pisher, in his place more than once! That was priceless. Watching Ryan with his wide-eyed, big-eared, Eddie Munster-like looks fidgeting, fibbing, and nervously gulping water was a sight to see! Getting called on, and unable to defend, his lies....especially about the stimulus was hilarious. No wonder Biden laughed!

    October 12, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  20. Olany

    Not sure who was polled, but Biden won that debate in my opinion. I am a middle-class lesbian female that would love to marry my partner of 4 years and eventually adopt a child. I have a grandmother receiving social security and medicare benefits that she rightfully earned and I have a sister that had an abortion several years ago because she was too young to take care of a child and scared of the baby ending up in the foster care system being that hispanic and black children arefar less likely to be adopted compared to white children. I think we all know who I am voting for!

    October 12, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  21. pvm

    Biden overshadowed his sensible debate with his stupid grins. It would have been better he didn't show his overly white horse teeth every few seconds. He looked like an idiot.

    October 12, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  22. Name Withheld

    If you plan to vote for RR ask yourself how much of that decision is based on voting against OB. If it is a factor, you will be disappointed in RR as well because our problems are real, complicated, and have no quick solutions. Like the fiscal cliff this congress has built, aimed at, and hit the gas

    October 12, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  23. gogeorgia

    After watching Ryan bob, weave and otherwise avoid answering questions, it amazes me that anyone can say that Ryan won the debate. I reacted much like Biden toRyan's double-speak. "Conservatives" would have criticised Biden if he had walked on water.

    October 12, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  24. KB

    Well what's the point of this article? It says the people polled included more republicans than dems. So why report it? You have no story. You should remove it and write something that's based on real poll numbers.

    October 12, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  25. Art

    It will be a long, long time before the nation recovers from the Bush and Cheney eight years and I don't think the nation can financially survive another GOP administration any time soon. Everyone don't deserve what they will get but unfortunately an individual sometimes are victims of the tide. Those that do vote GOP deserve what they will get.

    October 12, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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