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. dawnfair

    The truth is Biden would have one had he not acted so insane and aggressive. If you watched the undecided females every time Biden rolled his eyes, smirked or interrupted they turned their dials down. That is the very group Obama just lost traction with since the Presidential debate and with women Paul Ryan was the clear winner.

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

    Im very glad Paul Ryan didnt lower himself to act like that pompous ass. He was respectful, gave clear answers to direct questions. Good job!

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  3. Adam Nonnenmacher

    It was really annoying that Uncle Joe wouldn't STFU and let Ryan actually make a point, while Ryan quietly let Biden speak.
    Ryan came across very professional and articulate while Biden stumbled over and over. Clearly These statistics make sense.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  4. Melanie59

    Come On Biden won hands down

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  5. Linda

    CNN has become Fox's little brother. How impartial!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  6. smartblue31

    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 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  7. Charly (Florida)

    When you call out someone on his lies republicans label you as disrespectful and condescending. You know, somehow, you should let the lies fly. I am glad Ryan's lies stop with Biden. Joe Biden won the debate on substance and fact checking. Obama shoudl have done the same and I hope he will do it next time.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  8. Max&Louie

    What happened to CNN being impartial?? Seems that you are only polling Republicans. Biden was very honest, while Ryan was quite the opposite!!

    October 11, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  9. manning2miami

    Twitter doesn't lie, unlike Ryan...BIDEN DESTROYED THAT ROOKIE

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  10. CanadaViewer

    Watching live with all my friends in Canada on CNN, unanimous that Ryan won. Like with dogs, the larger the bark, the smaller the dog. Biden's constant yapping was just plain stupid. A debate is a back and forth conversation. Repeatedly saying something louder and louder isn't going to change anyones mind.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  11. Pedro

    Ryan got the old hog napping!! We the people cant wait for Nov 7!!! amazing grace how sweet that sounds.....!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  12. len30039

    CNN is foolish! Biden clearly explained his position while Ryan half stepped.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  13. bob

    biden was so incredibly unprofessional.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  14. On the fence

    Biden's performance tonight was overbearing and disrespectful. It exposed his true character and 'egoism." Once again, Biden and his party have failed to explain how they are going to fix our country and chronic unemployment. At least Paul Ryan attempted to lay out their plan for America. Unfortunately, most of it was drowned out by Biden's big mouth. Thisdebate certainly moved me from the undecided category.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  15. Gus

    I guess Biden was told to smile when Ryan made points against him...as opposed to Obama's frowning. But other than the fact that Ryan totally won the debate...Biden looked like Mr. Ed...wonder if Wilbur and Carol were out in the Studebaker waiting to drive him home!

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  16. Keepingtherightwingmediaaccountable

    Ryan got EMBARRASSED TONIGHT!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  17. pasquinel cobra

    Biden BIDEN BIDEN! Ryan like Romney never answers the questions. always says what they are going to do but never once gave solid answers on how.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  18. Carl

    The democrat lapdog moderator did all she could to help bumbling Biden, but Ryan still won without breaking a sweat.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  19. Noel

    Biden came off as pompous and arrogant, and seems to find humor with the critical state the US is in. I'm surprised he didn't wear a clown suit.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  20. M.A.

    Biden looked like a fool.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  21. Colorado View

    Ryan displayed much more of what I would want to see in a vice president or president. Can you imagine the Biden affect if negotiating peace in the middle east? My vote clearly goes to Romney/Ryan. Both are clearly more intelligent, thoughtful and substance based. They actually may want to get some things done and stop this insanity that our government continues to propagate over several administrations. When was the last time you heard a politician say "we really have to stop spending more than the tax payer can afford". It's about time!

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  22. Marina L

    I a clueless as to where this poll came from. Who were polled. I too felt that Joe Biden won.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  23. Chumlee

    It's clearer than ever before that Biden and Obama have absolutely nothing that they can run other than to demonize Ryan & Romney. There were several times during the debate where I thought Joe's head was going to explode. What was most telling was Biden's closing comments in which he stated that his primary goal, all his life matter of fact, was to "Level the playing field". Sorry, no thanks, I don't want an old socialist and a young communist manipulating our great country with their beliefs that somehow our great country requires their brand of social engineering. I'll stick to what our founding fathers intended, not what their version of what they think it should be.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  24. OnTheFence

    Overall I think it was a close tie, with Ryan edging Biden out. Why? Because Ryan was more sincere, wasn't rude and didn't interrupt like Biden did. Biden lost in style hands down. I really don't care for someone that will smile laugh and smirk when talking about sensitive subjects. And, on top of all this, it seemed like Ryan was debating Biden AND the moderator!!

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  25. ME

    That's interesting, CNN is have become more like a B.S. than correct news casting. In the main page the poll shows more people think Joe Biden won in HUGE margin. Where the heck they got their wacky numbers from???

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
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