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. sarge325

    Hilarious to see the comments from Obama supporters who think Biden won "hands down" and the poll must be fake. Take a deep breath Obamites – there. Now, if you look objectively at what transpired, you will see what others saw: (1) Biden scored points for being forceful. (2) Ryan scored points for clearly stating Romney/Ryan positions. (3) Ryan scored points for being calm and poised – presidential. (4) Biden lost lots of points for smirking, interrupting, rolling his eyes, interrupting, oh, and did I mention interrupting? He acted like a 13 year old bully. Objective viewers realize that a person who relies on bluster doesn't have logic on his side.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  2. romney

    Biden was very rude and pushy because he had nothing to stand his ground on, he tried bullying his way through this debate, Ryan had more class and spoke of the facts. Ryan gets this win

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  3. OBRon

    Lol!!!! I remember ol' Joe (a neighbor in Greenville) showing up at my high school (A.I.) for his first campaign. He's great! Love to have a few brews with him over at Cromwell's – any time!

    But as a VP? Heck no! Joe's about as bright as cow turd at the bottom of the Brandywine! Hahahahahahaha!

    If you people vote for this clown, you will get a great drinking buddy but an incompetent fool!

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  4. Keepingtherightwingmediaaccountable

    What a shellacking. I was embarrassed for Ryan/Romney.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  5. Cubgrl1

    One other comment, yes where are they getting the info, Biden won hands down!!

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

    And the CBS News poll showed Biden winning by a wide margin.....

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  7. Steve B

    CNN's increasing shift to the right might've influenced the low info voters. You should be embarrassed to publish this poll!

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  8. Monique

    CNN needs to use Fact Checker before they post that Ryan won, because I even casted my vote after the debate on CNN and the result afterwards stated that it was 65% Biden, 35% Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  9. Mon

    Nope, Sorry, Biden totally wiped the floor with that liar.

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

    SERIOUSLY PEOPLE....Biden was horribly rude and condescending....do you really want this man to help run our country for another 4 years. I am an independent and always look at CNN and Fox to try to get a fair take on the debates and all that is going one, and I must say, that anyone who thinks Biden won this is truly skewered in their thinking. These debates have made my decision for me. I WILL NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA OR BIDEN!

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

    It's all a spin by CNN and David Gergen. How scientific is the poll? How come the quick vote shows that Biden won by 2:1 margin but the 'super secret scientific poll' declares Ryan the winner? In the final analysis it's the votes on November 6th that count. It's trivial that Biden won and both of the participants had moments whereby they were either rude or condescending. David Gergen is only jealous of Obama and sad that he was not invited to serve the president so he could add the president as the fifty he had advised. Truth be told!

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

    Democrats accept snarky, smarmy attempts at wit to be actual political discourse. They *would* think Biden won. Paul Ryan crushed him on substance, just not on acting; Biden's fake sincerity was on full display as he laughed his way on deadly serious issues like Benghazi, Iran, nukes, etc., then masterfully trotted out the car accident as he does every time he wants to play the sympathy card. His playbook is tired, old and frankly, dangerous for America in very serious times. It was numbers vs. folksiness. Unfortunately there are citizens among us that allow that fake, "aww shucks" demeanor to paper over empty promises, lies (Benghazi security?? Seriously??) and failures. Biden lost and America loses if he continues to be next in line to the Presidency.

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

    Funny how this poll shows Ryan winning however the poll that real people took shows Biden... Interesting very interesting.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  14. Teddy Ruxpin

    When a wise person debates with a fool, the fool rages and laughs, and there is no peace and quiet." Proverbs 29:9

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

    Biden clearly was in charge of the facts and won the debate hands down.

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  16. jordan

    Hands down Biden, set Ryan up perfectly on afghanistan being appalled that Ryan wants American boots on the ground in the most dangerous area instead of letting afghans take resposibility for their own security and futures. Ryan is a war monger and wants to puff his chest out. poser

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

    Biden won hands down! He has pretty teeth too!

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  18. Dr. Vallejo

    Of course Paul Ryan won the debate.

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

    Biden was arrogant and the smirking laughter and constant interruptions were so distracting I couldn't even hear his points. He did come across as a person who could warm and caring but ruined those impressions with his other bizarre behaviors. I am an undecided – tonights debate didn't help me decide completely but Ryan did a better job.

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

    That's true: Biden smiled a lot, but to me his arguments won... at the end we choose what is important to us: laughing too much or having decisive arguments! Biden won : )

    October 11, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  21. david from washington state

    biden won.

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

    CNN got it right last week, but wrong this time around. Biden hands down won this debate!

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

    Ryan won? I must have been watching a different debate

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

    Bunch of lies.. Biden won. This is from a conservative. I don't trust your poll. Ryan failed to give one specific about war, Syria, tax cuts, and got nailed on the stimulus which he asked.

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

    Ryan knew his stuff. The Vice President just embarrassed himself.

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