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. Sam

    Biden did well...no doubt but he wiped off the lead he had by his smirks and interruptions....But Ryan held his ground and came across as a polite likeable guy....So advantage Ryan

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  2. Kathryn

    Ryan was amazingly informed. You wouldn't know there's a 27 year age difference between the two candidates. Ryan will make an incredible leader under Romney. Didn't appreciate the condesending smiles and smerks by Biden. It just illuminates his arrogance, lack of integrity, respect, and honesty. Is that who you really want as your vice president, and potentially president of our country? My vote is for Romney/Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  3. jon

    Go Ryan
    Has respect for others

    Biden = looked like idiot

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  4. Draeggo

    Doesn't matter who won the debate... the American people are the losers in this election no matter which side wins. Time to bury both parties and look out for America first but that concept is too hard to be grasped by the political trolls of both parties.

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  5. Matt

    Sore losers are out tonight I see. So if I don't like the numbers then they must be wrong? Nice. I see Obamas blame game is spreading

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Liar Liar Pants on Fire! Who are the people voting in this poll! I want to vote – Vice President Joe Biden won!

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  7. sandy46

    funny thing Biden's laugh is called rude, annoying, by the Republcains, Romneys brash running over the commentor oh that was great. just like Obama gets blamed for the economy when the Republicans said NO to everything and sat on the economy. They didn't care about us then and they don't care about us now. I'm a hard working 70 year old who has her first year in the 47 percent. But I sitll take care of my self and i paid for that medicare and social security. by working 54 of these 70 years. Biden you rock

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  8. Patricia Bass

    The poll on your website shows a different result- 65% Biden 35% Ryan

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  9. Christy

    Ryan won. Biden was rude, smirked, interrupted Ryan, not as informative.

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  10. linda

    CNN I disagree with the polls...Biden won!

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  11. jude ohio

    How are these "snap" polls conducted so instantaneously?

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  12. Dick Hertz

    And that's giving Joe a gift.

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  13. TheTraveler

    I think CNN got this one wrong ... all the other polls I've checked have given Biden a clear win over Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  14. Junior Vital

    Biden won

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  15. Iris

    Hooray Ryan! I'm 100% with you! Thanks CNN for the great, professional job you always do. Obama/Biden are scary and will kill America if left in office four more years. Wake up America!

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  16. skertso

    What debate were these people watching? Get real, Biden wiped the floor with Ryan. CNN better stop believing their own hype!

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  17. rtrMicky

    Smokin' Joe!!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  18. Mossy

    Seriously? A tie? CNN has become a joke. Debates should be judged on substance not theatrics. Gergen compliments Ryans calmness, the same calmness that Obama was criticized for....

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  19. True Blue Dem

    Biden definitely won. Ryan was very good, but it's pretty clear he's got nothing. Remember, the 12 Million jobs Romney will create if elected will all be the people drafted and sent to Afghanistan, Syria and Iran.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  20. Peter McGovern

    Biden by a landslide. Ryan had no details on tax plan because the math DOESN'T add up. Ryan got swamped on foreign affairs because Biden has been "in the room" when most of the foreign policy decisions were made. Biden called Ryan out continuously for lying.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  21. Wade

    I think the American people lost because the Moderator was clearly in favor of Biden and against Ryan and even with that Ryan held his own and more. Ryan won but no knock out punches were delivered because the moderator was totally biased. Imagine how much more Ryan would have won by if the moderator had actually given him the same time she gave Biden?

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  22. Colleen McGuire

    C'mon CNN. By trying to look middle of the road you are giving false information. Your sample is only 381 people. This makes this neither statistically valid or representative. This is false information! You are better than Faux News.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  23. Sean Kelly

    And CBS News had Biden winning by a large margin.... Ryan got buried.... he looked like a ferret...

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  24. jb1952

    Ryan was insightful, respectful, professional and very intelligent. Biden was disrespectful, unprofessional, typical old politician that calls for the attention of "term limits" for disrespecting people and insulting our intelligence. We the USA need fresh ideas for our tiresome problems and Paul Ryan is our man.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  25. murcielago

    CNN reporters.....please share what you guys are smoking

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
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