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. Liesssssss

    Liesssssss

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  2. Sean W

    I find it interesting that people says this or that guy won the debate according to social media...Chances are your friends are a majority of, or support, one party over the other.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  3. Victor R. Chatham

    Your focus group from a milit ary town? :) You got you expected result by using people from the military... Go Uncle Joe...

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  4. Concerned

    Biden won for sure and by a mile!
    the pools will reflect it next week.

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  5. pasquinel cobra

    tired of answer, when Romney was Gov. of Massachusetts he did so and so. Do you realize how large Mass. is in comparison to the whole of United States. Ryan just give us the HOW'S!

    October 11, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  6. Sasha Mean

    Paul Ryan interrupted V.P. Biden and everyone just suddenly got amnesia. How 'bout that!!! Ryan avoided answering questions and put more false statements out than any V.P. debate in History. He had no facts . The only thing Ryan did show is what he has learned is to LOOK PRESIDENTIAL. I would not vote for someone who wants to win by passing as a phony.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  7. Steven

    It was clear Ryan was the winner of this debate. Biden acted like a school boy who couldn't get his cookie and resorts to distortion of facts and rhetoric in order to make the Obamabots feel like they are supporting worthwhile candidates.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  8. Entrepreneurs4Obama

    This is absolutely amazing. Just on This CNN page, 12 people post a comment, 10 for Biden, 2 for Ryan.
    CNN Poll 48-44 to Ryan. All other polls 60-40 to Biden. CNN rehearsing to be acquired by Fox News. I watched the event with 20+ people, not a single one claimed that Biden lost. I am reading these posts, published here on your own CNN platform, many claim Biden won. What kind of news agency you guys are becoming???

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  9. Ashley Ferness

    Biden all the way. He didn't let the lies go unanswered. That's how you do it people!

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  10. Corbin

    Biden clearly won this debate hands down! Everybody I talked to DEM and Reps friends have all agreeded. Where are you getting your info for the polls? Are they rigged?

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  11. Mary

    All the smirking and inappropriate smiling that came from Biden reminded me of someone else...Jerry Sandusky. The topics discussed in the debate are serious to the American people and Biden should have kept that in mind.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  12. Marina L

    I too am confused by the room that has the undecided voters. Many there seem to have an idea of who they will vote for, thus not naming them undecide.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  13. packerfans

    Vote for MItt Romeny and Paul who can save America!!

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  14. Reids

    What,,Biden plainly outclassed Ryan on facts, substaance and personal credibility.Where are CNN drawing poll rusults from?

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Biden came across as aggressive, rude, condescending and of course lied about Libya.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  16. aida

    If you think Ryan won u are an id$#@t

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  17. Cece

    Ryan won my vote. Think about this. What could this country do on finance if business knew what to expect and if they knew it was reasonable tax rate. They say that companies have a LOT of cash and they won't hire because of the Obama/Biden policies. In fact, companies say if Obamacare (which has already raised my insurance premiums for two years now and its not even in effect yet) and higher taxes goes into effect, they are going to make changes that will HURT workers and they say they WON'T hire anymore employees. I have also heard that some companies will ride it out and wait until Obama/Biden are out of office. BUT, what if...what if... Romey/Ryan were in office for 8 years and Ryan became President and another 8 years of STABILITY and companies know what taxes they are paying and its a reasonable rate. That cash that companies are holding on to would go for expanding their business. You and I would have a job. I like this idea.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  18. Christine

    The fact is neither one of these men NEED this job to survive.......both men can afford healthcare for themselves and their family....both men can pay for the families needs no problems in their homes financially.....after we hire them and their job contract ends ...we pay them for the rest of their lives...both men have job security....tell me we pay men to do this job and do it right and beg for them to give to us what we give to them....do we get from them any of it .....I believe every human has the rightto be free and the right to LIVE..........the quality of living free and just plain living is decided in Washington......we better start thinking about the quality of benefits these politicians get....maybe start there...do a good job and we'll pay you and the benefits too...lousy job...hit the highway pal

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  19. Maria Alexander

    Something is seriously wrong with CNN's poll sample.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  20. Mshepard

    Wow....I'm a liberal.....and even I know that tonight goes to the Democrats. Biden was grounded in facts, substance and stats to prove or disprove. Ryan looked nice and polished but proved to junior against Biden.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  21. Janet H.

    This is the first time I've seen Joe Biden in a debut and my first impression was, what a bully! I found his behavior very disturbing and rude and don't believe him to be the sensitive person everyone says he is.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  22. BeenMittSlapped

    Biden's disrepectful behavior revealed him to be the jerk he really is.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  23. n

    Can you say double standards. The secret mission is to hate This President at any and all cost. Biden clearly took young Ryan to school. Romney flipped flopped all over the place, changed his political position at the last minute, His most anticipated etch-a-sketch moment, he was rude, aggressively loud, animated with no substance and yet by popular vote, he wins. Biden handles lyon Ryan, call him out, totally wipe the floor with this young man and popular votes give the win to the boy blunder.jRacism is alive and well . . No need to take its pulse

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  24. master debater

    Biden should seriously consider a career in acting -no melarky...

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  25. glenn turner

    Biden made some decent points but he was obnoxious to the point that even when I thought he was right – I didn't want him to be right, In short, he was jerk and that is what cost him the undecideds.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
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