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. Jerry

    Why are the polls showing what Fox News came out with after every other news network was originally showing a clear Biden win?

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  2. jamoosh

    Biden. Clear victor. Relevant, experienced, clear, and a fighter.

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

    CNN is rigged, just as their little dials are... if you honestly think Ryan's positives go up as he sits there and lies, you are delusional.

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

    Biden made a desperate attempt tonight to redeem Obama's weak performance last week. He overcompensated, and in doing so came across as pushy, disrespectful and condescending. He may have dominated the conversation, but he did not effectively defend the failing policies of the Obama administration. And he certainly did not win. Ryan on the other hand kept his cool, and was a professional adult. Ryan takes the win.

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

    I thought Biden was extremely rude. This is our VP? Paul Ryan surprised me on style and knowledge. I thought he should have called Biden more on the interruptions but I guess he's more polite than Biden. I'm ready for a change! Some new ideas and I think Romney would be more willing to work with both sides than Obama has been.

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

    Biden won. Not sure who CNN was poling. I liked it best when Biden called him on the millions of dollars Ryan requested for his state to "create jobs." Seems like the Republicans always seem to forget where they stand on the issues....one day they're asking for millions and the next they're condemning it...well Ryan, you can't have your cake and eat it too, or you can but that just makes you a hypocrite.

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

    Biden reminded me of THE JOKER from the old BATMAN film (where Jack Nicholson played the part). He laughed while rambling on excessively with nonsense.

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

    I wanted to vote. Biden decisively won the debate. Open up the poll to the masses.

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

    Fact checking the CNN poll: We rate it false.

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

    Joeker Biden's attempt to steal from the middle class was thwarted by Batman Ryan

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

    Libs, I cannot believe you would ever wish to be associated with such a condesending, snarky ass as Joe Biden. What a disgrace to the people of Delaware and our country.

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

    Joe interrupted Ryan 82 times, he acted like a spoiled child, pointing his finger in the moderators face. At one point I thought Joe was going to take a swing at the lady. Talk about a war on women!

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

    CNN is overcompensating. I felt bad for Obama in the last debate and CNN called it right. This time around I found myself getting embarrassed for Ryan. He has a lot of trouble explaining himself, especially in foreign policy, abortion, and taxes.

    Sorry, Ryan made a couple good points, but wiped the floor with Ryan tonight!!

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

    Biden was disrespectful and condescending – all while lying his a** off. Really? Lying about Libya when we all know the truth and that they DID request additional security. Paul Ryan was respectful and stated facts. Biden interrupted and smirked for 90 minutes. I thought overall they were even, but that Biden lost his ticket a LOT of independent support!

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  15. Mark

    I am an independent leaning towards Obama. After watching today's debate involving Paul, chief architect of GOP budgets, I am now getting convinced that Mr Romney has no real plan to fix the economy.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  16. David H

    I really do hope Romney and Ryan win the election; it's people like me who will benefit from all these blue collars dummies that will lose their jobs and will have to settle for low paying jobs once Romney's agenda kicks in. Look at how bad Wisconsin is, don't believe it? grab a newspaper, stop watching Family guy.

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

    Biden turned most people off, he came across as a nut, scarcy, Biden won nothing but a looney pin.

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

    Instead of posting sampling error post how many people you sampled

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  19. Concerned Democrat

    Biden was the clear winner. I hate how the news channels just cannot come out and say that Biden won. Biden is not a rude mean angry person. He stood up for what he thinks and what Democrats across America thinks so THANK YOU BIDEN. He knows exactly what he is doing and he gives specifics about what is to be done. REPUBLICANS WHERE ARE YOUR SPECIFICS??? Romney can't give you any and apparently neither can Ryan.

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

    Kept wishing Ryan would turn to Biden and ask him " Do you really think this is funny? I'm pretty sure most of America doesn't. Their way of life is on the line and you can laugh and make jokes.... Nothing funny here."

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  21. Tiashira Gadlin

    Wow CNN...not sure who you are polling..

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  22. Thomas

    I think Joe took too many happy pills before the debate. Paul Ryan seemed respectful and serious, much more substantive.

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

    Ryan looked like a child. Substance? Facts? No, just talking points. Biden killed him.

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

    Paul Ryan! What an embarrassment we have for a current VP? This administration thankfully only has a couple months left. Farewell. Romney/Ryan will take it!

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

    Just because Joe wasn't as polite as Pres. Obama was at his debate does not make him dishonest or a spinner. He is being a fighter for the truth about what the people who really matter care about!

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