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. JZ2012

    It's amazing after CNN shows a clear democratic biased for the entire election cycle presents a real poll or statistic that disagrees with the liberal opinion and you all cry and call it fox news. As if that wasn't halarious enough half of you go on to support CNBC as unbiased haha. It almost makes you want to elect newt gingrich so we can ship all of you off to his moon colony.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  2. Jim

    Biden won this debate without question!!

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

    As an Obama/Biden supporter I've got to say I'm shiocked at how well Romney and Ryan performed in these debates. They better get it together and come up with a plan.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  4. Joe Mick

    Wow, what are these people watching ??

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  5. Bubbs

    Obama put his campaign halfway into the toilet last week, Crazy Joe finished the job. Start packing kids!

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  6. Jeff

    Ah, second Jeff a troll. Face it, the 69 year-old showed himself to be very immature. But that's Joe! Can't wait for the next laugh – I mean gaffe.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  7. brian

    BIDEN WON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PERIOD . THERE IS NO IFS OR BUTS HE WON HANDS DOWN . TO HELL WITH CNN .

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  8. Marina L

    I too am puzzled by what debate is being polled. Unsure if this is to give confidence to the Republican ticket. Social media says it all, and I do believe the shock will come on election day.

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

    How many polls is CNN running? The poll on their website has Biden with 60+%.

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

    Biden clearly slammed Ryan. Where the heck are these numbers coming from? Get it together CNN!

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

    Ryan was the clear winner, hands down. He at Biden's lunch!

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

    dont matter who won or lost only thing that matters is did this debate change peoples minds on who to vote for!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  13. char69

    Biden clearly won, I am surprised this poll shows differently... corporate shams!

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

    Its Obvious that Biden is the clear Winner!! , its crazyyy to me how some are trying to discredit Biden's, Manorisom, Really! when you had Romney, who you never know where he stands because he changes everyday was totally walking over top of the moderator in his debate and wouldn't really let people get a word in Really! now thats what i call rude. I'm voing for Obama/Biden 2013

    October 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  15. Robert Wendell

    All this talk about Biden's demeanor by the pundits seems a little over the top but than again I see who's saying it, all the Romney supporters. That's a sure sign your guy didn't do that well. The people I watched it with liked Biden's combination of toughness and compassion. I just saw CBS poll of undecided voters showing Biden winning 50 to 31. How does that square with your polls? Your polls always seem to be a outlier to the right. Just a coincidence?

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  16. CtrlLogic

    Wow, that poll must have been taken very very early. Biden clearly won. CNN,take a new poll you are looking bad.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  17. BCInNV

    Law stopped Romney from using private funds toward campaign until he we elected GOP candidate. The moment they were released, CNN and it's reps have begun to loosen up, and lean the other way. Coincidence?

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  18. phillipstanchin

    medicare medicaid is up 4 steak ya know. retired people,sick disabled people, and much more will be kicked off people vote smart

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  19. Wayne Standley

    Biden won easily; he was honest and knew what he was talking about, Ryan tried to put one over on us.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  20. RUFUS

    Well, it seems we have some sore losers or those blind to the facts. Poll sees fair to me.
    Joe has a loose interpretation of facts, and that hurt him a lot. The public is brighter and better informed than he thinks!

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  21. bb

    CBS has Biden winning at 50% to Ryan's 31%. CBS has a much larger sample of voters.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  22. Our America

    Sorry guys, Ryan won Big Time – showed up little laughin Joe. LOL!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  23. Mike Cirba

    I know you folks want to be seen as impartial, but your efforts at bending over and taking it from the right have led to something akin to prison rape. Get a spine, please.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  24. Deb

    Joe Biden won. He had the facts where Ryan had none. You guys at CNN must have watched a different debate. Joe Biden did a great job with the facts.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  25. johnpagliuci

    I had hoped that Joe Biden was going to show the american people that our Vice President was worthy of the position and hold Congressman Ryan to a very high standard. Unfortunately Joe Biden acted rude, immature, arrogant and condescending to the moderator, Mr. Ryan and most of all the American people. The Vice President was an embarrassment and while Mr. Ryan is a bit of an unknown he certainly is far better than Joe Biden. I've made up my mind tonight. I'm voting for Romney and Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
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