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. Ms Jack

    Biden was rude and disrespectful? So what was Romney last week....to THE PRESIDENT? How quickly we forget (just like we forgot that this messed up economy was the origination of the Bush leadership)

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

    Lets face it America, we all know Biden won hands-down, because facts don't lie.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  3. Parry Hotter

    I like Charles Krauthammers statement: “If you read the transcript, I think it’s dead even. If you heard it on radio, Biden won. If you watched it on television, he lost.”

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  4. Illaqint

    Grumpy Grandpa. Ryan brought the facts, Joe brought the speech. I want a leader not a speaker, especially not a rude one. Ryan wins on substance.

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

    You gotta be kidding me Ole joe took the youngin to the bank and robbed him of his credibility on the facts. What debate did you watch. Good old fashioned ass whippin.

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

    Without a doubt, Biden won the debate.

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

    How could you say Biden one? By interrupting smirking and trying to scare the American people? I voted for Obama the last time because Palin was a disgrace, but in 2012, the choice is obvious. Obama and Biden are out of ideas and it showed big time in this debate.

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

    When you take into account the fact that most of Ryan's answers were fabrications, Biden "won" without question.

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

    Democrats should be happy.

    Biden wasn't quite as lame as his boss was.

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

    381 registered voters...determined who won a nationally broadcasted debate...WoW!!! I am convinced that someone should conduct a Reality Check on CNN's polling strategy..

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  11. Marty, FL

    Malarkey. Real polls show VP Biden won the debate hands down by telling the truth and exposing Lyin' Ryan's dishonesty and stimulus hypocrisy.

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

    Mark my words, Biden just lost more female voters with his angry fingerpointing at Raddatz. It was a disaster for the democrats and they'll find out in the next couple of days.

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

    What!!!!!! Biden clearly won...... CNN shame on you..... Who did you poll FOX news? Great job Biden.... Substance, passion, Biden!

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  14. Rancell

    Biden Won...Perdioddddd!!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  15. Nathaniel Kelley

    The reason why CBS's poll us skewed that way is because it is with uncommitted voters. CBS also tends to slide towards the left more than CNN. CNBC says Ryan won as well as the WSJ

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

    Joe Biden–what a rude idiot!

    October 11, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  17. Larry prince, tax

    Who took these polls? Romney interrupted Obama ALL night, but nothing is said. Go figure. Biden shows the same level fight and facts, and he is criticized. If you lie enough, you get the benefit of the doubt by default.

    CNN needs a larger aggregate of the population....

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

    Poll should read: Biden 70% – Ryan 3%

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

    This must have been an all republican poll. Biden took him to school and back. LOL.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  20. Bob

    This poll is completely wrong. It was clear that Joe Biden dominated this debate.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  21. whitmanguy

    Less a matter of which candidate won by offering more cogent analyses and fact-based claim.....than which one is perceived as having "won." Commentators on the media consistently base their judgements on fluff factors–body language, intonation, "aggressivness".... Why are our media gurus so keen to encourage the impression that it is performance, not substance, that matters???

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  22. Rick Cobb

    Raddatz was awful. Rather than control the interruptions so the viewers can understand the points made my each candidate, she allowed Biden and Ryan to interrupt and talk over each other so that I couldn't understand what either was trying to communicate. I got stressed and turned it off. If that is going to be the same approach in the next debates, I won't watch those either. Thank you to Obama, Romney, and Lehrer for being much better communicators and having a peaceful debate where we can hear and understand both sides.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  23. Otter

    Biden was a cranky old man. Ryan was in command of the fact and respectful to all. Ryan won on substance and style. I believe the Biden supporters are engaging in wishful thinking given Obama's performance last week.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  24. Mike

    If your polling sample is a full 8% more Republican than the general public, I'm thinking your margin of error is a bit more than 5 points.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  25. Cari

    Ryan all the way...Biden made me mad with his laughing....this isn't a funny situation.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
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