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. mike

    Don't worry Dems by tomorrow morning CNN will have buried this like they always do when a GOP beats a DEM. I guarantee you this poll will be now where on CNN site. NOW if Biden won it would be front page top of screen until next monday. I love watching how disaapointed Wolf Blitzer was when the poll results came in he was shocked that his liberal friends didn't win.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  2. Gen

    Ryan was out of his league. He needs to go back to middle school.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  3. Heather

    Biden was passionate I give him that....but his numbers and the words coming from his mouth were incorrect. I don't want a president that is passionate about lying at least Ryan's information checks out

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  4. Benjamin Denis

    This is most likely a Republican-run website. Biden won hand over fist. Experience beats out book smarts.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  5. TopDog

    Smokin' Joe all the way or don't facts matter ??!!

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  6. Blill

    Oh, well, Mike in NV, the American people know who won, and it wasn't Paul Ryan! CNN IS biased–didn't ya know?

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  7. jb1952

    Some of the posts I'm reading are so superficial and sophmoric. How can people select a winner by how a person looks physically? I hope people will vote on the content of a persons sincerity and character and what is best for our country.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  8. BH

    Biden was much more knowledgeable; his experience shows.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  9. Rick

    Watching from Canada, Joe Biden definitely won!

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  10. Kathleen Gallagher

    Joe Biden was the clear winner AND he answered honestly!!!!!

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

    What "malarkey"? Did we watch the same debate? CNN is becoming less mainstream and non-partisan each day, sad. Biden controlled, schooled, and beat Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  12. jnhks

    Give Biden credit....not for the debate itself.... but for staying sober for it.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  13. Troy

    LMFAO...Biden is such a tool, cranky old men need not apply for VP. It sooooo nice to see Ryan a young and vital man with a better plan for America than the hot mess of a crazy drunk like Biden.

    Biden lost big time and in several weeks so will Obama. Ha ha ha ha ha.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  14. toni

    Hey...your numbers here are wrong. I just voted on the CNN pole this minute and results are Biden 65%, Ryan 35%!

    Ryan was so outsmarted by Biden's experience and knowledge it was pathetic. Ryan never did give details on his 5 point plan, just lots of double talk and Biden didn't let him get away with his lies.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  15. Joe Plumber

    Only in the liberal minds did Biden who was just plain disrespectful and ugliness won. But that fits the obama fantasy koolaide train.

    Also laugh at Cnn being called Bias as they always champion obama and democrats in good light. When have you ever seen a positive republican article on here?

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

    It was Biden's Joker to Ryan's Bruce Wayne. Uncle Joe's performance was more worthy of a Razzie than an Oscar. Let's face it, libs WANT to think Joe Smirky won the debate. The alternative is too scary to think about, especially after Obama's Empty Chair Debate. Where am I wrong?

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

    I firmly Vice-President Joe Biden Won. He, unlike Paul Ryan gave examples and details to how the Obama Administration would set out to execute their idea. Ryan waffled. If people think stating facts is rude, then we have some uninformed individuals who ought not to vote in this election. In addition is response to the Humanitarian issue was not only uneasy but gave a key insight to the views that he holds and his running mate.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  18. Lucas garcia

    Biden schooled Ryan. He was acting with irony because Ryan talked so much non sense that anyone would

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  19. raymo

    if u look at all the fact checking that has been done biden was definitely more factual

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  20. francesca harris

    CNN is the only poll that shows Ryan as the winner...LOL..what a joke....that was not the debate the rest of the world saw that is for sure...

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

    Correction CBS has 55% Biden, 48% Ryan. From registered voters... 58% independents...25%dems ... And 17% Repubs

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  22. a shah

    Ryan won. Joe was rude and interupted all the time.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  23. Wgclark13

    Biden is embarrassing, once again.

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

    It wasn't a knock out but I definetly thought Joe Biden prevailed.

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

    Yes, I'm beginning to question your impartiality as well. Biden did a MUCH better job. I guess the people at CNN are NOT among the middle class.

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