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. kbone3

    The CNN quick vote has it 65% for Biden and 35% for Ryan. CNN seems to be a little confused.

    October 11, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  2. memyselfandI

    Joe Biden clearly won. Incredible that there was any other conclusion.

    October 11, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  3. Nana M.

    I think it was a GREAT,very informative debate, and the Moderator was EXCELLENT. She was very professional, pleasant, and in control JUST ENOUGH to let it get interesting! Unlike the Presidential debate last week when Mitt assumed the roll and took control. Joe Biden's years of experience were very evident; he was very informed on ALL the issues (having lived with them for MANY years-not just 4), and he gave very CLEAR explanations on his positions. Mr. Ryan did well, but too often seemed to parrot the Republican/Romney message, offering NO clear specifics on any issue. The differences between the two are CRYSTAL clear. Joe Biden won it-hands down!

    October 11, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  4. D Jones in Washington

    We must have listened to a different debate. It could make one question one's personal reality... What I heard was a more assured tone from Biden and a lack of specific answers from Ryan. The latter was unfortunate; I really want to hear some specifics and details. Sometimes it seems like trying to nail jelly to a tree.

    October 11, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  5. L Rivera

    Most analysts, polls and twitter agree Ryan won, but that Dems are elated Biden did not do as bad as Obama.

    October 11, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  6. The Facts

    Nice job CNN – I agree!

    October 11, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  7. Bello

    So you think RR is the winer of the debate ha? The dude look so shaky that's why he keep on drinking the water,cause he can't even answer the question. O,B 12

    October 11, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  8. Kristin

    Thank you Joe Biden!,, Finally someone calling Romney and Ryan on their grossly distorted facts and flip flop on positions! I' m shocked the American public is so gullible not seeing through this smoke screen of generalities, purposeful evasion of facts to hide their real plan.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  9. WF

    Biden was a win easily! Interesting how fast CNN posted flash poll on President Election immediately, but looks like it took a while on this poll, hope they didn't cook the books on this.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  10. theman

    CNN – you discredit yourself.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  11. Heather

    Half of what Biden said was incorrect, yes he was fast to answer but the information was inaccurate...so that makes him fast to lie and that is scary. We have had 4 years of acting time for a president that is real and does require a teleprompter

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  12. Genine

    Biden won!!!! Remember Romney and Ryan think you are takers and on welfare. I want my President to believe in me not in my wallet.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  13. Franklin

    Biden won, in no small measure by employing Romney's strategy of presentation

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  14. KEVIN2121961

    I'm a Biden supporter but I think Ryan won the debate clearly. Although I do not agree with Romney/Ryan's ideas, Ryan presented to me as more coherent and intelligent and much more likable then I expected. Good job Ryan you have a bright future in high level politics.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  15. Name

    CNN lier

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  16. juan rubi

    whattttttt Bidden won this debate.... what are you taking about..........,

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  17. gk6gun

    Biden won big time. CNN has become the new Fox News. Clear example is Erin Burnett and her one sided interviews with conservative guests. Thats the Fox way of being impartial. Independents have no where to go to now.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  18. Attackguy

    Funny how the Dems are denying the very news service polls that they love so much when it doesn't swing their way.... Maybe MSNBC will post results more to their liking! LOL!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  19. dian in Louisiana

    Biden won this debate,what debate were you watching. You might want to check your own polls again CNN/FOX. I no longer tune in to CNN for fair and balance news.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  20. Batsurfer

    Lol! Biden is insane. We have a thin skinned sociopath as a starter and incoherent psychotic as his back up! Goodness where did this country go wrong. The left is out of ammo, being ranting lunatic is all Plugs had in his bag. They have an utter mess of record to defend so they have no choice to act like a drunk who just got cut off. To be honest Plugs embarrassed our nation tonight. The knows that Hussein and Plugs are inept and ridiculous. Romney will win in a blow out. The media can not even begin cover up the mounting scandals, lies and crack pot behavior.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  21. waytogojoe

    Yeah, it wasn't close. Biden was utterly persuasive. He didn't stand for any bull. And I felt a lot better afterwards about continuing with Obama.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Ask an undecided person what he/she thought of Biden's behavior. Most people don't like rudeness. I doubt it plays well with the middle.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  23. Antonio

    This poll is biased toward ryan. Their is no way you can say paul ryan won this debate. Biden laid out facts talked with confidence and displayed leadership today. This is a boost for the dems and I hope obama takes notes from biden's performance.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  24. afriend

    Biden blew it!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  25. Jennifer Boehm

    again, why I watch CNN less and less everyday, where is the reality in this poll??? Biden won, hands down!!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
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