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. Larry Croft

    With 2 of 4 debates behind us, how can any self-respecting American be undecided?

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  2. Joe

    CNN is partial towards RYAN? What a weirdo....Biden was better than Obama no doubt but those laughs those smirks those eyes rolling? It was Deja Vu Al Gore and that's going to cost him big time ...I believe the poll because most respectful people, you know the moderates and conservative types chose Ryan....Liberals loved the nasty unprofessional disrespectful old kook.....

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  3. bini

    I'm sorry, but CNN has it very wrong. Vice President Biden schooled Mr. Ryan tonight.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  4. Mary

    Joe Biden is a rockstar! He did exactly what he needed to do, he called Ryan on his lies. He delivered facts and asked Ryan for his, which Ryan answered by changing the subject. Biden just made sense, Ryan just dodged the questions.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  5. ravengurlkwd

    I don't know who you guys are polling. Biden opened up a can of whoop ass !!!

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  6. Evan

    I'm sorry, but I don't see how anyone, let alone the majority, could have thought Ryan won. He did horrible. He never directly answered any of the questions. He repeatedly lied, and Biden was very aggressive on pointing out such lies. Biden, on the other hand, gave to-the-point answers, and repeatedly pointed out how the Romney/Ryan "plan" would never work. Now, conservatives are just whining that Biden was rude. Even if he was, that doesn't negate the fact that Ryan did very poorly.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Joe Biden's credible points were overshadowed by his true hostile nature and total lack of respect for his opponent.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  8. LaMontagne

    CNN know your audience. You should report the news, voice opinions but not contrived a poll that creates a story that offends your viewers. Hello.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  9. BCInNV

    381 people ... lol... stop posting polls! They are a joke! you're a joke for posting them

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  10. ML Beach

    The fact that the moderator had our President attend her wedding says enough. Conflict of interest . . . It's an Obamanation. Conservatives had the Gipper and now the have the Gaffer. . .

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

    Embarrased that Biden is that close to the Presidency. Nothing but sighs, laughs, smiles, arm raising. At least until he came down from his high, and finished up like a tired Wilford Brimley. And the Libya fiasco is only going to explode from here.

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

    I think Biden needs to learn manners. No wonder nothing gets done in this government

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

    Dang – who answered this poll??? All CNN gotta do is read the blogs on the last 4 or 5 Tickers – BIDEN by a long shot!!!

    Obama/Biden 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

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

    This poll is crazy. Biden won the debate. Biden is a fact checker. Ryan did not know anything about foreign policy he looked stupid. Joe Biden hammered him and u know it!!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  15. NE1

    What kind of hypocritical journalism is going here these days. When Gov. Romney was all smiles and in attack mode while President Obama was quiet and cautious, the media spins it and calls Gov. Romney aggressive and the winner, and President Obama ill prepared. Fine we'll accept that. Yet when it comes to tonight's debate, Vice President Joe Biden being aggressive and all smiles, and FACT correcting Congressman Ryan, who was quiet and cautious, the media flips???? Now Vice President is being condescending???? What are you thinking? you call this unbiased journalism? Check your opinions at the door and report what was seen on television LIVE. Bold-Faced lies NEED to be addressed upfront with zest. God forbid someone was actually being realistic and not prepared and coached for once.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  16. James1114

    Your own poll at the bottom of your front page states Biden 65% vs. Ryan 35%.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  17. corinth1213

    You don't win a debate by interrupting your opponent 82 times by the count of some information sources. I think Biden even said, "Blah, Blah, Blah." That is unbelievable. He was angry when he wasn't chuckling. Now we know why they can't work with republicans, they just laugh at them instead of working with them.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  18. Alex H

    Not sure what's going on here CNN, but I think by tomorrow your poll is going to be proven just a "tad" bit off. CBS already came out 50-31 in Biden's favor. Think it's pretty obvious that Biden won.

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

    CBS polls says Biden won 50-31.I believe this was for undecided voters. CNN poll doesn't seem credible.

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  20. Larry B

    where is this poll how can you say Ryan won Clearly Biden took this I am independent and i think Biden won this debate

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

    Did you poll Ryan's kids ? Because other than them, nobody thought he won that debate. Great going, Joe !!

    October 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  22. Kerry David

    This is a joke, right? JOE BIDEN CLEARLY WON!

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

    Who ever thought Ryan won this debate or it ended in a tie, something is very wrong with you. Biden killed it tonight and he made Ryan looked like a fool. Ryan was about specific's and he gave none. He didn't say what loopholes he and Mitt will close. Nothing. Biden won plain and simple.

    October 11, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  24. steve-nyc

    Biden probably would have "won" except for the rudeness. He probably fired up his base but alienated everyone else.

    October 11, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  25. Joshua

    to those saying biden won clearly, EVEN CNBC poll showed ryan winning... Biden was too childish with his smirks and eye rolling and complaing about time.. when at the end it shows he spoke more, and constantly interrupting... when it came to the actual debate ryan slightly was better when it came to UNDECIDED voters, those are the votes that count. The childish actions of biden is what hurt him most.... not to mention his constant errors when it comes to number... "200 million... i mean thousands...." thats a big difference mr. Biden, admit it your lying through your teeth and cant keep your numbers correct.

    October 11, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
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