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. David

    So if it is within the 5% error it means that there is a good chance that Ryan got 53% and Biden 41%...

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  2. Log Cabin

    Biden whooped Lyin' Ryan!

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  3. jeri brown

    are you kidding me? it could not have been more clear who won the veep debate and it was not paul ryan! where do you get such data?

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  4. Mike

    People have spoken - its RYAN ... YAY!

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  5. Erin Go Bragh

    Biden seemed defensive, arrogant and condescending against Ryan. I am an independent and felt Biden was an over the top ass. I realize his experience and logngevity, but he really put me off. His facial expressions may have lost him and Obama the election.

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  6. Liz

    I definitely liked Ryan's manners and demeanor over Biden's.

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  7. Everybody in America

    For real? Did you even watch it? Ryan got is butt handed to him.

    October 11, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  8. Name

    UNCLE JOE took COUSIN RYAN to school period!!!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  9. Tex71

    Who did they poll? Staffers at Romney HQ?
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    October 11, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  10. Rich

    Please CNN ... Biden Won Hands Down !

    October 11, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  11. Jesse Berger

    Hey CNN, I have an idea. Instead of using these useless poll results and treating this like a sporting event, why don't you act like proper journalists and examine the integrity of the statements these were making. Fact check, and also gauge whether their statements were deceiving according to what their actual plans are. WHY IS THE AMERICAN MEDIA SO BAD???

    October 11, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  12. Sergio A.

    I'm failing to see on Ryan won, and I like Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  13. So What

    Why does the quick poll on your front page have 65% Biden 35% Ryan, then?

    October 11, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  14. Les

    VP Biden was very rude.

    October 11, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  15. Peter

    Buden was the Joker tonight, he is not VP material.

    October 11, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  16. Linda

    Where is this poll being taken? Certainly at odds with al the others.

    October 11, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  17. Jeff

    Did 48% of people watch the same debate as I did?

    October 11, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  18. gloria

    CNN must have weighed in on debate before it aired.
    Vice president JOE BIDEN was clearly the winner on all issues.

    October 11, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  19. fariaja

    Can anyone please explain why Romney interrupting and being rude is strong and shows he's a leader but Biden doing it, he's aggressive and offensive? And why Ryan seeming like he was getting smacked around is him being calm and collective while for Obama it's disappointing and a lack of preparedness? Double standards and hypocrisy, smh.

    October 11, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  20. Linda K Arnhart

    How come I didn't get to vote. I can't find a place on this page to vote and I think Biden won, so there.

    October 11, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Your poll results is an insult to my intelligence. Watch the debate from beginning to end.
    and clearly VP Biden just dominated the exchange.

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  22. Kona

    Biden won handily.

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  23. SPK

    Ryan still didn't give straight answers
    Biden was a little too interruptive

    I think that Ryan failed to do anything to sustain the GOP bump. He and Romney will tangle themselves up ... I was against abortion before I was for it, before I was against it... There is to much misdirection. Too many secrets. And way to little details and facts about how the R's are going to do what they say....

    So... on the character issue alone... (not mention their priorities and policies will screw the vulnerable, a big issue for me).... I reject the R's

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  24. Caligirl

    I didn't realize it until just now, CNN you know it wasn't a draw and I have concluded that you have gone to the right side! I'm done with your network!!

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  25. WP_Joe

    Biden clearly won the debate. Why wouldn't Ryan give any specifics on the tax loopholes he would close? He either doesn't have a plan or is afraid of what we will think of his plan.

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
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