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. Jack

    Why do newscasters keep ignoring the big lies? Romney and Ryan keep talking as if all the debt and unemployment was created by President Obama when it was the Romneys and Ryans of the Republican Party who walked hand in hand with President Bush mangling the powerful American economy that grew under President Clinton. It's Democrats who balance budgets and Democratic Presidents have created twice as many jobs as Republican Presidents. Facts. Why don't newscasters report on these big truths? Democracy should not be a game where the biggest liars win elections by telling lies the public is left to believe. These big lies are today are the exact same lies George W. Bush told to get elected. What happens to America with 4 or 8 more years of twisted Bush economics by the same Republican machine that caused the mess we are still recovering from now?

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

    Biden squashed Ryan. He out even out Religioned him.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  3. Nick Nicholson

    Ive taught debate for 20 years. If you chose Ryan as the winner it is because you wanted him to win. Joe kicked his ass.

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

    Ryan won overall. Talked less but made his point well. Biden spoke from the heart but demeanor off, over the top, could not stop interrupting, and a few times seemingly rude to moderator.

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

    Biden made up stories are no longer valid. He is a liar just like Obama is. Ryan was calm, cool and collective and won the debate.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  6. jb

    Sample size at 381 is very small. Margin of error is 5 percent so the results are inconclusive. Also, was the sample random or what is skewed? This poll looks pretty worthless.

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  7. Johnson Chellappah

    Something wrong with the poll...Joe Biden is the clear winner. Like as Mitt Romney's team struggle to show their math on debates CNN too has failed to do a proper survey, probably would have asked a Mitt team member to complete the calculation. CNN please recommend Khan Academy to Mitt & team...for basic maths...

    October 11, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  8. pat o'brien

    Biden won the debate although Paul Ryan was more impressive than I thought he would be. It was an excellent debate, fun to watch and I feel they both did a good job.

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

    This is a no contest. Biden won this hands down. And besides, 381 registered voters is not representative of the entire country's view.

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

    Amazing!! Everybody loves Ryan's demeanor??? Obama had the exact same freaking demeanor and he got slammed..Romney was interrupting, smiling, laughing, cutting off the moderator and he was "Presidential".

    Cmon people, Ryan was pressed for specifics 3 times and couldn't give ANY..But he won the debate..Nevermind the lies he told (CNN Fact Check)..wow..

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  11. Veritas

    Biden was the clear winner. Authentic and knows the facts.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Yeh, CNN is now in the tank for the GOP. Did hell just freeze over from global warming?

    I would call it even with Ryan taking a slight edge due to each candidate's closing remarks.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  13. Keyser

    Biden came off like a condescending old fool.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  14. CB

    If Biden would have stopped interrupting (over 80 times) and laughing/smurking he would have scored off the scales. Why did he have to look like the Joker? He was excellent with what he said, but not on his delivery.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  15. Goodfish

    Can we forget about Obama and Romney and just pick Joe? I like Joe. Is it too late to get new candidates? Is this REALLY all we have to work with?? Im saddened.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  16. Biden won for America

    Sadly , I think CNN report is biased. Biden was the only experienced man on the room.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  17. pl0689q

    I am quite happy the way biden presented his case. I think he was quite sincere in answering questions.
    I am surprise at dept ryan has as he never answered a question put forth about a soldier hearing so much negativity on campaign and is he ashamed of things he said or done during campaign..
    Come on American people can not judge from this may be america very well deserved bush and they do deserve Romney...

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  18. Donna

    Are you kidding me?? Biden so clearly won – and he wasn't condescending; he was simply showing his superior knowledge and experience on the topics. Ryan, just like Romney last week, came to the debate, with little more than a lot of misinformation and flat-out errors. One of my local T.V. stations also took a poll, and Biden won by more than 2 to 1.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Biden won and there is no debating it!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  20. editeu

    CNN is going to towards the conservatives, all of the major stations says Biden won the debate ,why is CNN Poll different ? true colors really start to show, I used to like CNN but after tonite, they really got me Twisted on there view of the things.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  21. cousinrk

    Ryan was impressive?? Why because he was calm when he gave no details and he was relaxed when he showed how little he knows about foreign policy and how he didn't realize there is a thing called separation between church and state in this country? What's important to people in this country, a guy interrupting in a debate but who actually has experience and knowledge or a good looking guy who is calm and know nothing at all? Priorities people.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    I think it was a tie. Yeah, to some people, Biden may have won because he was more aggressive. But I believe it is about the material they were saying versus how they say it.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Biden did not help his cause with his weird bright fake smile, ( like I am going to eat you smile), and childish laughing at some serous topics.
    I think that was distracting.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  24. Perry

    Biden won this debate clearly. CNN you didn't call me.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  25. commonsensematters

    i am a registered voter that will VOTE 6 NOVEMBER. BIDEN WON HANDS DOWN. Biden style may have not have been POLITE but he was on point. RYAN was reciting talking points or his debating points and it was obvious he was out of his league. THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION I HAVE who would you want to be PRESIDENT if GOD FORBID something happen to the elected PRESIDENT. Where it matter the most, I WOULD SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT having BIDEN as VP

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
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