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. Patrick

    Biden blustered and blew off a lot of gas. For anyone who has ever been in an argument, the person with the inferior position is the one who gets loud and interrupts. That was Biden. All night long. Those are clear signs of a liar.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  2. Nameski mazk

    Biden choke Ryan so bad he drink 2 gallons of water

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  3. The Film Professor

    Based on 381 responses? That is a really small sample don't you think? I don't even understand how you decide what your margin of error is with that small of a sample.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  4. FLW

    I commend the Vice President for showing his depth of knowledge on foreign policy, I liked the lie about not voting for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I can honestly give him more intellectual credit than I would have before the debate. He lost the debate however. He was a total bore. A real horses ass. You wonder why they have gridlock in Washington. How long could you stand to work with that jerk? Not likable at all.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  5. Detroit pride

    I thought Eddie Munster was going to start crying. Not even close Biden schooled ryan!

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  6. Mac

    Crushing defeat for Ryan!

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  7. Idon'tthinkso...

    Where Oh Where are these numbers coming from? The poll on the front page of CNN shows Biden winning over 60%. I concur... Sounds like the made up numbers from the Romney/Ryan ticket.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  8. Billy Butch Bluth

    #grinningjoe = #malarkey

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  9. Mark

    Hands down Biden won.... CNN check your math.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Lets put aside for a second the fact that Biden contradicted his own State Dept, which stated that Amb Stevens requested more security several times and was denied. Of course, Biden is known for lying but that's beside the point. What most of the liberals here are missing, is that Biden presented himself as a smarmy, unprofessional hypocrite. He was condescending and constantly interrupted both Ryan and the moderator. What people will always remember from this debate is Biden laughing about serious issues. What he missed – that the rest of us understand – is that this country is in trouble. Not sure whats funny about that. Im sure the liberals here will complain, but that's why they vote liberal...they don't get it.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  11. Helene

    Biden all the way. Ryan's Cliff's Notes approach to foreign policy was embarrassing ... not to mention scary. The CNN poll is ridiculous.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  12. klheitz

    Call Romney/Ryan over and over again on why we're where we are where we are. As Clinton so eloquently stated: We left you with a big mess ... you didn't clean it up fast enough ... so give us back the driver's seat. THEY put us here .. THEY WILL put us back. Please Please PLEASE America – your memory MUST be longer than 4 years. Same S**T, different day!!

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  13. Zippy

    Democrats seem pretty ecstatic that Biden did okay.
    The goal for Biden must have been to "not suck as bad as Obama".
    Congrats, mission accomplished.
    He didn't suck as bad.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  14. exu10

    Please next time use Facebook or social media to poll.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  15. Josh

    To all of you fools who keep saying Biden won: constant interruptions, talking over Ryan, smirking, laughing, and a lot disrespect toward what a debate really should be is not how to win debates.... It's quite the opposite actually...

    The polls have spoken, and the majority feels the same way...

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  16. rmurray614

    Who are these undecided voters? You've got to be kidding me!

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  17. Leo

    CLOWN IS CLOWN !!!!!!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  18. patty

    way to go Joe Biden! I thought he showed the real difference between the two party's he gets a thumbs up .I want to be part of the polls!

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  19. Darren

    The ONLY way anyone feels that Biden won is if they are so far in the tank for a socialist bald face LYING administration that they can't see straight. Seriously, Biden LIED DIRECTLY with not even a hint of plausible deniability. His demeanor was rude, un excecutive and child like. And really the debate was 2 against Ryan. The moderator CLEARLY favored Biden in response.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  20. Vanngy65

    Biden won hands down. . . There was not a serious question when Romney kept interupting both the moderator and the President.

    I have always thought both Romney and Ryan could change their facial expressions. They both have smug looks on their faces during their debates and in my opinion, they are a bit sarcastic.

    Information is accessible, we as a people only have to do a bit of research to tell which candidate is being honest by their records. Let the American people decide who they trust.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  21. Seb36

    Biden is back home with his bottle of Rye Whiskey – feeling much better now!

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  22. Jeff Dean

    How can people possibly consider Paul Ryan the winner. He lacked passion the same thing that killed Obama. But unlike Obama he could not name a single specific of his plan. No deductions mentioned, no yes or no on a new war. No mention of how he will give you low taxes, spend more and cut the debt. I don't think they have a plan just a have your cake and eat it to platform.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Joe all the way!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  24. Roger

    Post your real poll where it's showing Biden winning by 30%, sheesh! 381 registered voters? That's the poll you're going by?

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  25. Ashleigh

    Gosh, I was hoping this would be an open online poll so REAL voters' opinions could actually be included. There is NO WAY more people could believe Ryan won over Romney. I still could not sit down and have a legitimate conversation on exactly how Romney/Ryan will decrease the debt. This undecided voter has made a decision on which VP I'd trust more and that's Biden.

    October 11, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
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