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. Qaracer

    What are you crazy, Biden was incorrect about foreign policy. He is our VP and did not know the truth. P. Ryan Won.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  2. sunrise

    I used to think that CNN was a fair channel to watch the news, but lately they've been very biased in this presidential election.

    Every where else said Joe Biden won the debate

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  3. Lew

    Either way, Biden lost, he was crude, condescending and in no way acted "Vice Presidential", he interrupted and actually, Raddatz never asked him for specifics and he is Vice President. He smiled and grinned, but actually, I consider this a draw as Ryan never delivered a knockout blow or moment. Hence, Biden loses

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  4. Gap each

    Everybody keep saying that Biden was rude, but in reality it was a debate. Thats what it is. No one said anything when Romney did it to Obama.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  5. Mary Anne Woodrom

    I watched the entire debate, and Joe Biden definitely won the debate! I cannot believe people are complaining about Joe smiling! Paul Ryan had a wide "sick calf looking" smile on his face the whole time Joe Biden was talking, and he made such a big production of drinking his big glass of water every time it was Vice-President Biden's turn to talk. It was very annoying, and in my opinion, it was deliberately done to interrupt Biden's turn.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  6. jeannie

    To all of you that said Biden was rude & disrespectful....he was just following Mitt the Twits lead from last week!!

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  7. graph7

    Ryan Won- Biden was rude, unprofessional and obnoxious and arrogant, he tried too hard to make up for Obama who was weak, and it backfired on them both!!!! Our country will be better off with Romney and Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  8. ChrisJ

    We'll isn't CNN owned by a rather conservative/RICH guy?

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  9. Mulitiple Choice Mittens

    I thought republican's were in love w/ the idea of a VP pitbull w/ lipstick.? Now biden was rude and overbearing.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  10. Seve

    Biden doing much better than his boss doesn't mean he won. He came across as bitter and bumbling. Ryan is clearly a more polished and intelligent leader. Ryan won by a lot.

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

    Romney/Ryan tax plan in layman's terms..."We have a plan and it will work, and that is our plan!"

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  12. JPM77

    I'd say that seems consistent with the debate as I saw it. Not a major blow out, but definitely slight edge to Ryan over Biden. Biden came across very obnoxious and condescending, Ryan came across more in command of the facts and with more substance. Overall I think both sides are going to like what they got out of their candidate, but I think the persuadable middle and independents will sway slightly to Ryan on this one.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  13. Lucky

    Biden demolished him. No doubt about it. He changed his mind so much I could be wrong !! Lmao.! He made Ryan look like a joke begging to get elected . CNN must have been drinking .

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  14. what up

    CNN I think you are making a huge mistake on say Ryan won Poll. Take a look at your poll on home page( where you ask who faired better in the debate. Right now poll shows 65% Biden and 35% Ryan. Its sad when media can tell the truth. I know you are trying to make a race out of this. NOT!!!!! Oboma @ Biden all the way.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  15. Coyote Crawford

    How can you release a poll this early? May be you should take some time and do it right so your findings are legitimate. You should slow down CNN. You always get into trouble when you don’t take your time to be factual.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  16. kimberly

    This poll is not correct.....Hands down biden won!

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  17. Judith Colangelo

    Biden won by a landslide and Ryan looked like a lying fool.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  18. bla-bla

    Biden won for sure...

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  19. Will

    Really Scary!! Biden is just a heartbeat away from being president. I do not want a hot head like Biden with the ability to use nuclear weapons. By the way, the question of what would keep America in Afghanistan; anything that originates in that country that harms America or Americans is the right answer.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  20. Common Sense

    How about we just give first place trophies to both candidates.....so we don't hurt the feelings of either side???

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

    Biden totally nailed it, and Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  22. Nola Miller

    I watch the debate and the one I watched Vice President Biden won by 50 points. I have no idea what debate the people in this poll were watching.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  23. cntrrealist

    Obvious that Ryan was more composed, respectful and thoughtful on his answers. GOP wants to move forward and allow Americans to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Dems pledge they can solve the budget and deficit problem by spending more money (more foodstamps and college loans). Seems an easy choice. Reduce tax burden on those who create jobs...grow business, hire more people to full time jobs, allow middle income workers to keep more of their pay and stop the negative spiral we are in. If you want to turn it around, give another team the chance with their new plan.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  24. Tony McDay

    LOL CNN only network that has Ryan as a winner. Biden destroyed Ryan.

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

    joe needs to be put in a home along time ago. ryan is the real deal. are the last four year that good.if yes stay where your at now. if not.look in your heat.I voted for the team we have now.but they lost my vote.

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