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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Read more of today's political news on the CNN Political Ticker.

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. Roger Hessman

    CNN is the ONLY place saying Ryan won this debate! What gives CNN?

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  2. Indy Voter

    Biden won hands down. Ryan lacked credibility. No details, plan, or strategy. He never answered the question posed to him and only talked the campaign talking points.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  3. exu10

    come on CNN! We all clearly know who won this debate. I am done watching CNN. The shows that makes me turn my tv channel to CNN are only Anderson Copper 360 and Piers Morgan, the rest a crap. Anderson Copper should teach you guys about keeping them honest.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  4. Jayzee

    381 registered voters? Seriously? That's all you could get CNN?

    Biden destroyed Ryan. No question.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  5. mike

    Biden showed his -–, Ryan was polite and respectful. I have decided to vote for ROMNEY.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  6. Nico

    Substance, they were relatively equal. But performance, oh Biden was pathetic. How immature could he of possibly acted? Really turned me, an undecided voter, closer to Romney.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  7. Taminka

    I was shocked at how badly Biden behaved and by the mediator's lack of fairness. After these two debates, first Romney/Obama and now this one, my vote is for the two winners, Romney/Ryan. What a shame that we have two big fat liars in ofc now. Time to get some decent folks in the white house again!

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  8. dd1950

    No doubt about it. Biden won hands down. Ryan came across as having nothing of substance to offer, while Biden did his best to question every inaccuracy Ryan presented.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  9. chris

    funny because on cnn's own poll
    Who do you think fared better in the vice presidential debate?
    Biden65%5553
    Ryan35%2962

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  10. Chris

    Biden won CNN .. You are wrong.....You guys are just trying to keep Americans on the edgeso they will still keep watch your money driven program and AGENDA!

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

    Biden won the debate hands down. CBS has it correctly – Biden 50% Ryan 31%. CNN is so chicken and afraid of the Republicons to have a correct, objective poll. Any objective observer could see Biden won. You can't have it both ways, i.e., complain that Obama was not aggressive enough in his debate with Romney, but then complain that Biden was too aggressive. Biden had to be aggressive to let the voters know that Ryan/Romney are lying hypocrits totally lacking in specifics. Biden was terrific.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  12. Rancell

    Biden Won

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  13. gseattle

    They're both flawed, not easy coming up with instantaneous arguments/data on the fly.
    Maybe we need a slow-motion debate in back and forth two minute video statements over the course of a week or so.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  14. Al

    Damn this poll is skewed. Many persons i have spoken to are of the opinion that Biden won the debate. And i am being very objective.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  15. Matthiew Cordova

    Biden was clearly the winner. It was a good debate and Ryan did well but not as well as Biden.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  16. Phil

    I thought Biden was rude and continually interrupted and came off as arrogant. He did much better than Obama but than again who wouldn't? I thought Ryan's close put him clearly in the lead.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  17. I. Seepersaud

    not sure on these poll figures. i gave the win to Biden. I thought he called Ryan on some key comments. I think Ryan was on the defensive a lot more that Biden was as well.. I am curious as to what percentage of republicans versus democrats were polled.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  18. Toyo

    I agree something is off on that poll. I think Biden is the clear winner. I loved the chuckles, smiles and eye rolls. Way to go Joe!

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  19. angela

    im sorry but if americans think thta romney and rayan are presidential... then any jerry springer staff could be this nations president

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

    Biden clearly won this debate cnn lost to fox

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  21. d33pn33s

    This is instructive of the number you polled for Romney, since you've clearly got a 10 to 20 point skew in opinion polling. Ryan didn't win this debate. So how much did Romney "win" in his debate with respect to winning the election?

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  22. Alyson (Florida)

    You must have polled mostly Republicans because Biden clearly came out ahead. Ryan was like a robot and clearly did not answer specific questions – just kept talking out of both sides of his mouth.

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

    BIDEN WON DECISELY!!
    Here are the five statements that deserve serious scrutiny:
    1) About the GM plant in Janesville.
    Ryan’s home district includes a shuttered General Motors plant. Here’s what happened, according to Ryan:
    A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.

    Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

    It’s true: The plant shut down. But it shut down in 2008—before Obama became president.
    if not for the Obama Administration’s decision to rescue Chrysler and GM, the domestic auto industry would have crumbled.

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

    Biden Won !!!!

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

    One out of six people cannot find a decent job, the Middle East is on fire, a US ambassador was just raped and murdered, and Joe Biden is laughing? This is a debate concerning leading the free world, not who leads the frat house. I was shocked at Biden’s behavior.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194