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. Sheila

    Joe Biden clearly won this debate – why are you showing stats otherwise?

    October 11, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  2. P Curtis

    I don't know what poll you got your numbers from but the front page of CNN clearly shows more people thought Biden fared better than Ryan. I always thought CNN was a more bias station when it came to this campaign guess I was wrong. Your getting to be more like FOX News. Guess I'll stay with MSMBC

    October 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  3. dman419

    C'mon CNN the message boards are 8 to 1 Biden as winner

    October 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  4. Alfredo Hernandez

    Not sure what debate they were watching or even if they are all independents.

    October 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  5. Herman

    Biden is insane He came off as a bit unstable. Obama is an empty suit and Biden is an angry old man.

    October 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  6. james

    I think. Biden win this debate.

    October 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  7. richard

    I thought it was pretty even until the end when Biden gave a personal summation and Ryan gave a "pub;lic announcement". Biden 1 – Ryan 0!

    October 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    I question the political affiliation of the respondents of the poll. I would bet 48% republican 44% democrat. No one is objective.

    October 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  9. Pedro Risso

    Biden did a much better job than Ryan.............Ryan still no details...

    October 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  10. Nathan

    I would like to vote. I think Biden clearly won.

    October 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  11. onlyfacts

    I really doubt there is one Republican out there that would admit their "team" lost this one.

    October 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  12. sandrajeanford

    Are you kidding me? It was a knock-out and Biden won. Where are you taking this poll? Republican campaign headquarters? I am officially down with CNN!

    October 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  13. cvayer

    What? lol there is no way in hell Ryan won that debate

    October 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  14. neal

    ....the LIAR?...winner AGAIN?...i guess this country has really gone S T O O P I D.

    October 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  15. Jay G

    On the economy, neither side has put out numbers that show how they're going to start working off the deficit. The Democrats say tax the rich, but no clear plan for how to do that or how much money it will generate, and there's no way it generates enough to balance the budget. The Republicans say cut taxes across the board but close the loopholes – not clear how much money saved there. Democrats dishonest in talking about the loopholes, though – with the cap on those loopholes, such as mortgage interest and healthcare, that are being discussed, nobody making $100k a year will come close to the cap.

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  16. PG

    Really? I'd like just a little bit more information on the sample population.

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  17. mario

    cnn ,, wich poll are you talking about!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  18. Texas Gal

    Biden's smirk throughout the debate mad him look like a fool. He certainly did not take this debate seriously. Heaven forbid that he ever had to take the place of the presidency. My vote is for Romney.

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  19. Full_Disgruntal

    Is this a joke? What debate is this "poll" referring to, because it certainly wasn't the same one that happened tonight between Biden and Ryan. This one was as stark or starker than the one between Obama and Romney.

    This is poll is a joke, CNN. I see you're continuing your slide into obscurity.

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  20. Mike

    Romney/Ryan (2) - Obama/Biden (0)

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  21. Jean

    If my 3 twenty-something children are any indication, Ryan won their vote tonight. They found Biden to be condescending and arrogant. They especially did not like his smirking and laughing. Did Biden hurt the Obama ticket with the younger voters tonight?

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  22. leanne

    and yet your own poll now shows Biden with over a 60% lead and you've not updated your own news – that's bad news reporting.

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  23. donna pettway

    i am really surprised that CNN could say that ryan won the debate – i really think and others on my job feel that cnn has lost their credibility, and that is why most people either listen to msnbc or fox news, we see how bias and dishonest cnn is becoming, there is no way ryan won, biden rocked this debate, everyone is laughing at the cnn poll, we know you want romney to win, but get back to the way you use to be, reporting the truth

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  24. Jay G

    Biden was probably stronger on the issues he addressed, but he didn't answer a TON of the questions. And his behavior was embarrassing – too much interrupting (leave that to the moderator) and laughing.

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  25. Al

    Is this a joke? Ryan got manhandled.

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
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