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. What

    Ryan puts down stimulus but asked for stimulus money. Ryan had no specifics to show how their plan won't add to the deficit. Romney and Ryan's math don't add up. Ryan and Romney are intentionally leaving out details. Romney and Ryan are Bush and Cheney repackaged and sold to the next Sucker who buys thier lies

    October 13, 2012 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  2. What

    Romney/Ryan, Bush/Cheney same thing. Bush Cheney already lied to and destroyed our country and Romney and Ryan plan do so in the future with the same tactics. Don't be a Kochhead or Rush Limpbrain think for yourselves. Biden had the facts and Ryan was Just Lyin and now he's Cryin cause he lost. poor Lyin Ryan he left the Right Wingers all Cryin. If Romney gets elected I would say I hope he fails as President but Romneys failure will be garunteed because he is no different than Bush.

    October 13, 2012 03:35 am at 3:35 am |
  3. Alicia

    So you passed a poll with 300 voters off as actual news while on your website thousands of people voted by a 61 to 39 margin for joe biden. No wonder no one watches CNN anymore.

    October 13, 2012 03:35 am at 3:35 am |
  4. swipedcard

    CBS shows a decisive win for Biden, as does any rational person who watched the debate.

    I'm growing sick of CNN's strong rightward lurch in the weeks leading up to the election. It's a shame that Ken Jaust, Erin Burnett, and other Republican operatives within CNN are pushing an agenda and Foxifying CNN. It's no wonder ratings are sinking like a stone.

    October 13, 2012 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  5. Christy Ho

    Paul Ryan is professional and respect. I don't like Biden s body language. He can disagree or has different opinion but he should shown professional level. I will vote for Ryan.

    October 13, 2012 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  6. Nick Smith

    Some choice: A corporate raider or an illegal alien.
    I'll take the alien every time over someone bent on destroying our American way of life.

    October 13, 2012 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  7. The Friday KJ

    A whole mess of pollsters spammed my parents' land line– daily, for a couple of weeks– just trying to hear what I had to say. It was awesome! I felt, "special." If the pollsters were local boys, I'd give them my personal number, even! HAW HAW!

    ... God, I'm lonesome...

    October 13, 2012 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  8. Anonymous123

    I am very impressed by Romney-Ryan's presidential and VP debates, they crashed the Obama-Biden team. Romney-Ryan have plans and goals to move country to the right direction, their Presidential look/act/performance are the leadership we need for to U. S. and the world. On the contrary, Obama, like a poppet who needs tel-prompt to get going (like the lip singers). Watched VP debate was like watching judge Judy's family court, Biden acts like a laughing cow, continuing interruptions and making gestures during the debate is troubling. Martha also needs to learn from judge Judy to handle the debate more orderly/fairly.

    October 13, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  9. Biden Won = America Won!

    CONGRATULATIONS to V.P. Joe Biden!! You did an Outstanding Job for Middle Class Americans, the President, and the whole country! You have a great command of the facts and presented them in a way we could truly understand. You elucidated the true differences between a compassionate president (Obama) and his opponent who after getting your vote would surely throw you under the bus, reduce your Social Security benefits, make it harder for you to afford Medicare, reduce our educational resources, take us to more wars, not get us any more jobs as promised, take away privacy rights, and the list goes on and on. Is that what you really want? That's what voting Republican will get you! Be Smart - Vote Obama in 2012! Keep what is rightfully YOURS!

    October 13, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  10. The Miles Of Smiles For A Reason

    Some are wondering why Joe Biden was laughing at the debate. I'll tell you why. His opponent's rhetoric reached such a new low that it became funny to hear! Ryan was espousing thoughts that were so ludicrous that Biden couldn't help but laugh in dismay at the comments he was making. I'd laugh too and I did that's for sure! The only credible person in the debate was Joe Biden! He presented the facts as they stand and made no bones about it. He was forceful and hard, but remember folks, so was Rhomboid at the last presidential debate! And Biden knew what he was talking about unlike his kid opponent who is still wet behind the ears and speaks that which would bring utter ruination and war to this country if you vote them in!

    October 13, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  11. D Egan

    For anyone wondering why nothing is getting done in Washington, Joe Biden epitomizes what passes for mature statesmanship among today's Democrat leaders.

    October 13, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  12. kristalp

    dont care who won the debate ryans cute!!

    October 13, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. Jonesie Quartey

    Personally, I think the President and Vice President do recognize the urgent need to alter the geopolitical and geofiscal dynamics of the United States, in light of current global geofiscal and geopolitical vicissitudes plaguing humanity.
    Secondly, having been duly delegated as the US Senate point man to monitor the 2000 Presidential election via CNN on November, 7, what I deduced from the political process, was the infiltration of certain morons and primates, who set a bug in the Atlanta wire room, preceding the election and were directly related to the Florida banana ballot and contagion.

    October 13, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. Charles Dean

    So Ryan comes out ahead in the CNN survey after the debate and CNN says it's "split"? Would they have said it was split if Biden had come out ahead? Hmmm...

    blessourprez, did you even read the article?? Are you aware 48% is higher than 44%?

    Anonymous, what is a "lier"?

    Sam, the federal debt increased $1.3 trillion under Clinton. It increased every year under Clinton, usually by over $100 billion. The government took the Soc. Security surplus and spent it elsewhere. Claims of a surplus are bogus, esp. when the governnment was trillion in debt at the time. If you're talking about the highest deficits ever, you are referring to Obama and the Democrat Congress his first two years. They set the record. Do a little research next time.

    October 13, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. Charles Dean

    Note: That should read "trillions" in debt.

    October 13, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  16. Tammy

    This poll is a BUNCH OF STUFF! The poll on the CNN site is showing Biden ahead at 63% the clear winner, so this seems like a bunch of nonsense to me. We all watched Pinochio's nose grow with all his LIES, No wonder he needed to drink so much water during this process, to wash his own lies down...Scary!

    October 13, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  17. Jonesie Quartey

    The world has reached a highly volatile period in history, with tensions rising everywhere, due to austerity measures that led to the geoeconomic contagion and can be alluded to gridlock on my satellite internet system, based on my data analysis on digital electronic financial coding system, organized crime lawless elements with propensity to regulate the
    geofinancial fluidity from Wall Street to Neikkei and Tippei, in a global heist to declare nations insolvent by attempting to e alter the color code to blue instead of light, which has been coded into my system as the international media bar code.

    October 13, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. Tom

    Biden was laughing at the inconsistencies and Lies Ryan was dishing out to the American public. He was present at all these meetings they had the last 4 years as a Vice President of the United States and he knew EXACTLY how Ryan and Romney was voting. The laughing was the ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I would laugh at Ryan's face or anybody who sat and lied in my face. I would have wanted to punch this idiot instead. Nobody seemed to question Romney during the debate when he kept interrupting the moderator and the President of the United States..

    October 13, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. Aware Citizen!

    Chris Wallace is an embarrassment to his father!

    Biden cleaned the floor with the shallow, Ayn Rand loving, double-talking, millionaire cheesehead boy Ryan. Romney-Ryan is a joke that the RIGHT WING MEDIA insists on selling to the American people.

    October 13, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Linney

    Biden was rude and arrigant. There was nothing to keep laughing about. Don't people realize that this is serious business? People are walking around with binders on and keep drinking the cool aid! Biden made the democratic party look like idiots! I watched it and thought why are you laughing all the time and keep interupting! It was very RUDE!

    October 13, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Peter Clarke

    I'm sure in such a divided country that Republicans thought Ryan won and Democrats thought Biden won. We have a dysfunctional congress who squandered our treasure over the last 12 years. I can't see much difference in Iraq other than their leaning toward Iran. the Afghans we are training kill our troops. The stimulus money for the banks provided nothing but bonuses for executive bankers. And the middle class hopes that the winner of the presidency doesn't shaft them. God help us !

    October 13, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. Name Glen

    Cayman islands is where our money will go to.

    October 13, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Why when Joe Biden is aggressive then people say he was being rude; but when Romney steam-rolled the Moderator Jim Lehrer, nobody said anything.

    Joe showed heart!!!

    October 13, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. DG

    You're full of bull. Biden overwhelming won the debate. There were other polls with 50% saying Biden won to 31% Ryan. You CNN people are deathly afraid of the Republicons, because Dan Rather was fired for telling the truth about Bush II being AWOL from his statewide millitary service during the Vietnam War.

    October 13, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Sonja

    Steve, Romney and Biden are basically repeating president Obama's platform. Even if Romney were to win, nothing would change. Welfare would still go to big corporations as always. If Romney tightened the strings... The citizens in the U.s. would be rioting just like they are in Europe. Crime would get worse as the poor face deeper crisis. It's been hard watching a group of citizens digging in their heels and not working with president Obama this past administration. A Travesty. It's too bad you can't think outside the box of what I've begun to call the hate mongerz.

    October 13, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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