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. dee semaj

    biden laughed because ryan was very thirsty.

    October 12, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  2. Thera

    Both Ryan and Biden made some good points. But I could not stand Biden's derisive sneers and condescending chuckles. Most of the time his words simply attacked the intent Ryan and Romney...according to him, Romney & Ryan WANT to hurt the middle class and the elderly. That is absurd. And I'm supposed to believe that Biden wants to unite Americans & Congres and get things done?! A man like Biden has no business anywhere near the White House.

    October 12, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  3. JACK AINSWORTH

    If a politician wins, America loses.

    October 12, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  4. achani

    If after so much of complaining about Joe's smiles, the debate tied in polls. That means he won big time.

    October 12, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  5. Jules

    I don't see the difference between the way Vice President Biden aproached the debate and Romney during the 1st Presidental debate Oh Yea Biden had more facts

    October 12, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  6. cindy

    Biden what a pompous ass. Honestly, I could hardly stand to watch and a few times I did leave to go do something else.

    October 13, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  7. Genie O

    We try to teach our children not to bully and the Vice-President is on national TV to debate very important issues, and he mocks and condescends his opponent in a disappointing demeanour that was not worthy of being Vice-Presidnt. What a poor example of what shoud be statesmanship or at the very least constructive adult behavioour. His body language spoke volumes about Biden's need to avoid important issues.

    October 13, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  8. miklea supporter, but

    Biden can still laughing , because he still got job. My son lost job Friday with bank of America. My family don't have reason to laughing.

    October 13, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  9. its coming

    muslim brotherhood head spiritual leader just calls for jihad to liberate jerusalem and all of "palestine", by force.

    so obama? whatcha gonna do......?????? give a speech?

    October 13, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  10. sheila

    The VP debate explains why Congress is broken. Who could work with someone who behaves like Biden does? As a mom, I wanted to put him in a time out until he could come back and behave like a big boy! The sobering thought is that this unstable man is a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Let's get him out asap and into a hospital where he belongs.
    I also applaud Ryan for behaving so admirably and respectfully under very strange conditions.

    October 13, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  11. scot pederson

    It was quite clear to an independent thinker that even though Biden had command of what he believed were the facts (and some cases he was right), it was his constant interrupting, smirks, laughs, condescending tone and pointing fingers that showed a man in desperation and a need for trying to be a control freak that took away most of his positives. So it's no wonder Ryan eked out a win, who seemed calm, collected and stayed straight with the substance and no Histrionics.

    October 13, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  12. jinx88

    I missed it, did Ryan give specifics on the 5 trillion dollar tax cut or the 2 trillion dollar increase defense budget? Or did Ryan pull a Mittens and dodge the question?

    October 13, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  13. Charles B.

    Joe Biden won the debate hands down. Every point he made were backed up by facts.
    With fewer than 30 days left to the election, Neither Mitt Romney, nor Paul Ryan can give any answer as to how
    they are going to put ANY of their fiscal strategy into effect,

    October 13, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  14. Marc

    Hey Sam-

    Tired of the war mongers? Biden forgot to mention that he voted for both the Iraq and Afgan wars. Either his age is catching up to him or he lied? Look it up. Not sure, but either way, it doesn't look good for Biden.

    October 13, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  15. M. Jackson

    Well, you want facts? I know the facts and feel that most of the people in this country are being misled by the Republican Party, which is NOT the Republican Party of Lincoln and Reagan, but the party of mis-truths and outright
    brain washing of the American populace.
    It's evident that the richest 1% are trying to buy this country. Do you REALLY want Medicare to be made into a voucher program, with the health insurance companies pulling the strings? (Or sending you the bills?) The small company I had worked for got an increase of $40,000/yr. for their health insurance costs for 30 employees. How much will your bill amount to about 10-15 years down the road, if they privatize it.
    And V.P. Biden got Ryan to admit that his plan is to privatize Social Security–the same plan the Republicans have presented how many times before? What would have happend to ALL the money you have paid into Social Security if it had been invested in stock (Wall Street) in 2008?? Do you want to take a chance on losing what you DO have left?
    And, can we really trust them when they say that current seniors will not be affected??: Will they sign a pledgte to us like they did for Grover Norquist that they will NOT raise the taxes on the richest 1%?? Ha!
    And Medicaid–who is going to be defunded in this plan? Could it be your mother, your brother, or someone dear??
    Or, your 85 year old grandmther, who may be forced out of the nursing home? Can your wife affrord to quit her job to take care of this poor, broke elderly person who has spent all her money by being bed-ridden?
    Not to mention the millions who will be thrown off the Affordable Health Care Plan when Romney axes it on his first day? How many children will die because their parents cannot afford health care for special needs children, or those that require a life-saving surgery they cannot now afford since the cap is back on whatever plan they may (or may not) be able to afford?
    I see nothing ahead except dispair and foreclosures right and left–just ike after the 8 years we went from a surplus to a deficit. How come none of the party in power then mentioned the word "deficit?"
    The whole world will be laughing at us again–to think of a nation of adults who think nothing of voting against THEIR OWN interests - just because they've been sold a bill of goods??
    Listen to the Nuns on the Bus - the people who will show you the way to a better life here on earth, and beyond. Is it worth risking your soul when you enter that voting booth and make that decision. Do you really want to send millions of elderly people and helpless children to a pending death because of inferior (or no) healthcare?? How can we trust the R/R team–when nothing they say adds up or is even consistent?
    There's mroe at stake here than just an election. God is watching.
    Think before you vote!! And vote Democratic–the party that supports the Middle Class.
    "The Voice of Reason"

    October 13, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  16. Mikey P1

    Given that this debate was 2 against 1, I thoguht Ryan did pretty well!

    October 13, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  17. pat

    Immature is the word that comes to mind for Biden. Definitely immature. And did you hear him whine that Ryan got 40 seconds and he only got 15. I do think Ryan may have gotten more than 15 seconds but it sounded so childish.

    October 13, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  18. Zallen

    Taylor, if you watched closely Biden laughed every time Ryan started lying so you figure it out. In fact I have the same reaction when I hear someone spewing pure bull to my face.

    October 13, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  19. Elena

    Ryan was calm, diplomatic, and poised in-spite of unbridled aggression. He certainly provide and demonstrated his "Presidential" abilities. Biden was verbally, mentally and emotionally abusive. His conduct and manners were absolutely deplorable. Biden lacked tact and common civility at the very least.
    I was waiting for the paramedics to rush on stage and give Biden two shots: 1) a strong tranquilizer for his own sake and 2) a rabies shot for Ryan's sake.
    Biden was foaming at the mouth...hardly presidential qualities or conduct.
    Since Obama and his loyal demo followers keep blaming the mess Obama inherited (as if the man had no idea what he was getting himself into); if he were re-elected, then I wonder who Obama is going to blame for the BIGGER mess he would be inheriting going into his second term. I pray to God, we never have to find out:) It's time for Biden to retire and Obama to get a job; they have both been on government welfare long enough.

    October 13, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  20. MaryM

    Biden Won!!!

    October 13, 2012 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  21. M Mckinney

    The Biden-Ryan debate does not really matter. The VP position is not really important. Biden should be told to just shut up. He can be obnoxious.

    October 13, 2012 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  22. robert

    lol and who the hell believes in Rush. Believe in rush is like believe in a idiot that is running for the Presidency .

    October 13, 2012 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  23. Walter

    I looked for this poll the whole day and couldn't find it to vote on. Anyways, all you Republicans want some cheese with that wine? Lol, common now, you gotta be completely disillusioned if you think for a second that Ryan won that debate. I was about to call the police, it looked like child abuse on stage, I swear Ryan was about to shed a tear. Just admit and stop making yourselves look like sore losers. When Obama lost the debate (only on salesmanship), we all admitted it. Just proves that Democrats rely on honesty and fairness, and Republicans rely on Lies. They don't call him Lyin Ryan for nothin

    October 13, 2012 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  24. Lingam

    It was clear that Biden's strategy was to try to get Ryan to lose his temper.

    October 13, 2012 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  25. Name. seanf

    Ryan sound like he has no clue biden is the man ryan needs to back an run for mayor or city counsel or some thing

    October 13, 2012 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
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