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. yvrgator

    Ummmm .... this result looks very fishy! Here in Canada, the CBC showed a final polled that made Biden the winner with 85% against 10% for Ryan and the rest undecided!

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  2. MaMa J

    It was like being in a courtroom and we are the jury. Later on facts showed that Ryan gave some very false info that us the jury heard. The judge then says strike that from the record but it had already been heard. Ryan also said close loopholes but the loopholes affect the poor and middle class and the loopholes left intact benefit the wealthy.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  3. no foolishness

    What happen to the poll that had biden at 62%, an Ryan at 38%

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  4. Dylan

    Who did CNN survey? Southern white men over the age of 50, like last time?

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  5. bud88

    biden lost that debate no one care what canada thinks

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  6. Jim

    i am an Independent, and agree/disagree with both candidates on some issues. I thought Biden was rude and not a person I would vote for.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  7. Raul

    I didn't hear anything new or real from Ryan, no details. When asked what his team would do to change the way things are being done, he would just talk about what he would have done, kind of a captain hindsight type of response . Just answer some questions. Thought Biden won myself.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  8. theINDEPENDENTone

    I think BIDEN played into the very disdain and distrust Americans hold for Politicians.

    BIDEN portrayed the stereotypical politician, a laugh, a smile, and utter contempt for the People.

    Ryan on the other hand came across as a concerned public servant. BIDEN kept saying "but we didn't know".. Ryan was saying respectfully... "but its OUR JOB to know !"... "Its our Job to WORK"... to bring about solutions.

    and BIDEN just laughed it off as... nah our job is to fund raise, coast to retirement and keep the People in the dark.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Ryan won – Biden looked like an old guy, no new ideas defending his fire hydrant . Throw Biden out he has not contributed anything in the last four years except snarky remarks and smirks.

    October 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  10. really??

    This isn't a football game. Let's not score it as such. Did they deliver their own plans and refute the others plan? Did they answer the questions that were asked or did they evade and use logical fallacies? (ex. red herrings). Did they convey their knowledge of the crucial issues and did they convey the stability and strength to step in the presidents shoes on a moments notice?? Ryan looked like a freshman college kid. Biden came across like strong well seasoned leader.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  11. Ophelia

    I keep hearing about Mr. Biden being disrespectful because he was grinning during the interview, but I thought he same with Mr. Romney's smirk – that was "on" during the Presidential debate and NO ONE talked about that....just wondering why?

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  12. April

    "COMMON SENSE" I LIKE THAT!

    Provide your SOLID plan GOP. Stop mimicking the DEM plan.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  13. Michael

    CNN you're a disgrace.

    Biden won by a landslide.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  14. Mia

    The gold standard is to interview a minimum of 500 voters to be reliable. 381 registered voters with 5% MOE...in other words, a TIE ... who really gives a crap if Biden was laughing and smirking? That's what I do when the other side tells a bunch of lies. Why do Republicans care about being respectful all of a sudden? Have they EVER been respectful of Obama?

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  15. marsha

    You have to be kidding CNN!!! NO WAY Did Ryan win this! He is a Quack, Idiot! This man can never be a VP to our country!

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  16. bev

    Biden clearly won. I am so proud of our vice president

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  17. Lew

    Raddatz had Obama as her guest at her wedding is it no consequence that she never asked Biden for specifics when he has been in office for 4
    years, DUH!

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  18. Jersey Prophet

    On substance, Biden topped Ryan, notwithstanding lying about the intel on Bengazi. On style, Biden tried to humiliate Ryan but in his condescending, rude, interruptive manner, ended up humiliated himself and destroying his own victory

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  19. David

    Biden did a great job looking like a pompous jerk. So if you wanted to see your man act like a pompous jerk then you must think he won.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  20. kdppatriots

    Biden is a fool. Did he smoke a fatty before the debate? Why was he smiling and laughing so much? Biden interrupted Ryan 82 times.

    This verse sums up this debate:

    "When a wise person debates with a fool, the fool rages and laughs, and there is no peace and quiet. Proverbs 29:9-"

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  21. Jason

    CNN is clearly confused. Agreed wtih MateoinUtah – I saw a very different winner in a poll on CNN. I'm guessing the fox news folks impacted this poll.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  22. Wade

    Just like the last Obama and Romney debate the WEB is showing far better for Ryan than what CNN is reporting but all and all I think it was more or less a tie. The web polls are showing 60 % for Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  23. brenlea

    Ryan was the clear winner. Biden smirked and made faces and was rude. Everyone I talked to said Ryan was the clear winner.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  24. Mariela Rosas

    Ryan a clear winner!! Biden was ride and disrespectful.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  25. Paddy O'Reilly

    Ryan won clearly both in style and content, I can not believe Biden lied his A off over the Benghazi security issue, trying to say they did not know extra security had been requested........and then throw the Intel community under the bus, what a schmuck ...

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
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