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. Matthiew Cordova

    And pretty much every where else, the general consensus is that Biden won.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Ryan won big time

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  3. Joel Amusavi (Kenyan)

    No Nooooooo ! U r loosing credibility ! U r rigging the opinion ! Stop the crap ! The VP Mr. Joe Biden Won 60 % Ryan 33 %

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  4. ehomer

    Biden was the clear winner. Malarkey!

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  5. aicohn

    Liberals should be happy.

    Biden wasn't quite as lame as his boss.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  6. Swing Voter

    I checked all the news sources and the liberal bias was clear. So I was pleasantly surprised to see CNN show some perspective. I've read the comments and there is such a blind hatred for the right. Even in the face of such a strong performance by Ryan tonight. He came off as a statesman and was spot on with his agenda. Biden was an arrogant ass. His facial expressions, demeanor and lack of substance really turned me off. I hated his constant interruptions, sighs, guffaws and overall tone. Maybe I need a new pair of glasses, but I saw a clear choice tonight. And while I am waiting for the next two presidential debates before I make up my mind, I have yet to read any intelligent opinion from the left leaners that would sway my take on tonight's winner. "Lyin Ryan," how childish. It scares me that these people vote.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  7. Vicky

    Biden won this one BIG time

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

    Ryan handled it pretty well, particularly since the moderator seemed on occasion to be on Joe's tag team. That being said, I believe that he handled Joe about as well as he could, if he had come across to aggressive, older voters would have seen him as disrespectful to the much older Joe Biden. As it was, he came across like the smart young man listening to his crazy old gaffer uncle who everyone in the family knows is crazy, but loves anyway.

    I pointed it slight edge to Ryan in voter points with a slight edge to Biden in debate points. Of course, voter points are better than debate points.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  9. Hoosier53

    I think only democrats think Biden won debate. I honestly think it was a draw. Ryan is a little green, while Biden came off as condescending and dismissive. Again, it gave impression that dem ticket thinks debates are a joke and waste of time.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  10. dory

    Biden won, plain and simple. He had the facts; Ryan spouted the same old lies.

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

    Biden won, hands down.

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

    where on earth are you getting these numbers? they are so obviously skewed to the right. embarrassing. everyone else is naming biden the winner, some even by a margin of 60%. he clearly dominated in the debates tonight.

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

    What does ORC stand for in CNN/ORC? Overly Republican Comics? If yes, I am good with this poll. Everyone who I know has been blogging about Biden's fight back. Biden was just great. You could tell he was sincere and confident in whatever he said. Ryan was nervous and clueless from word go.

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

    Are you kidding???? This is why I can't watch CNN ...... FOX Jr. ....................lol Joe Biden took out a can of whup azz

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  15. itwasbidenwhowoncnnurfixingtheresult

    CNN poll showed Biden was 63% and Ryan was 34%...now what happened ?
    Biden WON THIS DEBATE...LOOK AROUND YOURSELF.

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

    Still not one specific from Ryan, Biden swept the floor with him.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  17. Bill

    Biden clearly won this, who is CNN polling did weal watch the same debate?

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

    One of the Most disrespective debates in History!

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  19. Larry prince, tax

    Ready to VOTE!!! Obama/Biden – 2012!!! They care about the common man, and are not trying to legislate their extreme agenda...

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

    Ryan (republicans) Won Hands down. Joe Bidens rudeness, is a big turn off. The moderator has worked with Obama and a friend. Glad Ryan put out a respectful debate

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

    CNN is really becoming a stepchild of foxnews. Every single indication is that Ryan was TROUNCED tonight. That was honestly embarrassing for Ryan. Where are these polls being conducted? CNN needs to show some accountability and stop cheer leading for Romney.

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

    Laughing, smiling, interrupting, and arrogance are not grounds for winning. The only people pleased with Biden's side of the debate are the people that have already made up their minds. As for the rest of us he just came off as a jack ass. Ironic?

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

    CNN you are seriously starting to lose your credibility(Or at least what you have left). Who are you calling to get these numbers saying Ryan won? How about you show the numbers of the amount of people who took your pool and the math behind it that shows Ryan out performed V.P. Biden.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  24. I love Joe

    Who did you guys polls? Looks like CNN can also say even their polls are not credible, just like some of the GOPhers have said that the latest jobs report has someway been tilted to benefit Obama. Joe Biden clearly won.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  25. JJ Castillo

    Ha..Ha...that Bitter old lady Biden got his dumb butt handed to him !! Biden is a political dolt ...period !

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