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. Arslan

    Stick it CNN. Biden Won!! WOOT WOOT!!!!

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

    I don't know where these poll results are coming from, I came on this site just to participate in the poll, because it iis obviously flawed. Biden won this debate! How is it that everyone is finding fault with his so called "interruptions", but last week when Romney did the same thing he was considered brillant!

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

    48-44. That is pretty much the way I saw it as well. Basically a tie – with a slight edge to the assured Paul Ryan. Unfortunately Joe Biden's bizarre laughing probably cost him some style points. Too bad. Good debate on the issues.

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

    Was Biden drunk?

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

    Ryan won??? What a bunch of malarkey. Biden is a passionate guy and wears his emotions on his sleeve. He needed to challenge Ryan on these issues. I especially liked it when he pointed out the hypocrisy of opposing bailout money but requesting some for his state.

    October 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  6. Angela Lee

    I see MateoinUtah also saw that same CNN poll I did a little earlier. CNN – I think you owe us all an explanation?

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  7. Susan Hartwig

    Are you kidding me? Where was this poll taken? Ryan did well, but Biden definitely won this one. He took Ryan to the woodshed!

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  8. jac426

    Forbes calls it for Biden: http://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2012/10/11/who-won-the-vice-presidential-debate-in-terms-of-temperament/

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  9. Marcy

    I can't believe Joe Biden actually said Syria was 5 times than Libya when it's actually the opposite. Anyone who has looked at an Africa and Asia map knows that! Plus, he was rude, disrespectful and lied openly!

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  10. Roger Hessman

    Biden won hands down. As for Ryan? Malarkey!

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  11. janell

    Ryan had to battle being interrupted by the biased woman moderator and the smerking rudeness of Biden. Thanks Joe for the arrogant laughing. You just elected Romney our next president!

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  12. BR

    Biden was the clear winner...

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  13. praetorianc130

    So long CNN !

    Its been a long time coming, but I'm done with you.

    Shame on you.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  14. BaldEagle77

    CBS polling uncommitted voters had a different result: Fifty percent of uncommitted voters polled after watching the vice presidential debate picked Joe Biden as the winner while 31 percent thought Rep. Paul Ryan won. Anthony Mason reports.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  15. carol sullivan

    what a joke BIDEN WON HANDS DOWN

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  16. watkd25

    Joe took Ryan to town!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  17. Nancy Lee

    Joe is a real person, he knows what compromise is all about from the days of Reagan and Tip O'Neal. Ryans' lines were all canned from the RNC; The Repubs are complaining that Biden was mean to Paul, but Biden was clearly disgusted at the lack of compassion that Romney/Ryan have for struggling Americans. Biden clearly won this debate as did Martha Raditz.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  18. junkboxfor

    Fact checking CNN's poll...we rate it False.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  19. eml

    Biden won

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  20. rmurray614

    Definitely chalking this one up to the democrates. There is nobody better educated on foreign policy than Biden, no one!

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  21. Patrizia

    Biden won! This time he stopped the lies by Ryan, before they could fly. Biden had to interrupt And what else can you do when Ryan says stupid things? You have to smile! Or slap him

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  22. Forrestine

    Hey Denny, you might not have liked Bidens tactics or antics, but that had nothing to do with the facts, which were very true forBiden. You need to get your facts straight also, and join Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  23. armoney

    Congressman Paul Ryan showed sincere concern about our country and told facts. VP Biden laughed and giggled like a silly old man. Biden embarassed our country, at his own amusement. Paul Ryan clearly won the debate!

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  24. matt

    cnn polls are joke BIDEN won handsdown and this is a national debate polite doesnt cut it .ASK OBAMA

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  25. Jason

    Ryan won??? What a bunch of malarkey. Biden is a passionate guy and wears his emotions on his sleeve. He needed to challenge Ryan on these issues.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
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