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. Everybody in America

    If you really think Ryan won, you are crazy. This was way worse than last week.

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  2. steven

    This debate was simply no match. The man (Biden) crushed the boy (Ryan). Anyone noticed how Ryan kept taking sip of water? The boy could not match candid Joe.

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  3. Brian

    Biden nailed it....atta boy Joe!

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  4. elle heiress

    can I be apart of this poll because CNN cannot be serious BIDEN won this hands down

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  5. rdeleys

    CNN, your poll is rigged! Did you listen to the debate??

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  6. Robert

    Being a blowhard buffoon and passing more hot air does not win you a debate.

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  7. themsey

    Biden killed Ryan. What's this nonsense?

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  8. Duncan

    Hmmm...the CBS poll shows Biden beating Ryan 50-32.

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  9. Jacky

    Biden absolutely came out ahead of the nervous, water sipping youngster ho could not provide any policy specific details.

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  10. closer3

    Appreciated how tactful and respectful Ryan was. His knowledge was impressive, too. He was the clear winner,

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  11. Jake

    Ryan won? What were you guys watching?!

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  12. Scott bleth

    Joe Biden showed what he is tonight–a person with a below average IQ trying to buffalo his way through the debate. Does it scare anyone else he is next in line if something happens to the President?

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  13. Charlotte

    Biden was clearly in posesasion of more truthful facts, I just wish he had called Ryan out on his lies instead of soft-pedalling it into 'stuff' and 'malarky' Ryan is a loser and he lost. Hopefully he and Mittens will be toast in a few weeks. They have an evil agenda, they are governed by the rich oligarchy and the fake magical sky people GOD nad JESUS hogwash. They need to be squashed in every sense of the word, or they will completely ruin America.

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Something's off on that poll. Biden clearly won. Not by as much as Romney won the presidential debate, but Joe clearly won.

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  15. Marie

    Biden told the truth. He was authentic, empassioned and informed. He won!

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  16. Joyce Fleshman

    I would like to have my voice heard on who won the debate. Why don't you have a button on your web site for your viewers to vote ?
    Clearly, Biden won the debate. I don't believe for a moment that Ryan won. Open up your poll to the masses. Your poll is unbelievable.

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  17. Kurt S

    Biden won and just shows a democrat will never win a debate big because republicans will never admit to a loss.

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  18. Michelle Lowe

    Joe Biden clearly won this debate so CNN as usual has turned into FOX news....sad I use to really like looking at CNN but now is offical. SAD

    October 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  19. Anthony Belef

    Are you guys kidding me? Anyone watching the debate knows Biden won. It wasn't even close.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  20. RJ1008

    What? It's pretty clear Biden won, with facts on his side. At every step, he exposed Ryan. Biden did great.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  21. jay

    definitely Biden won

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  22. Jim

    I'm a Republican – so I was rooting for Ryan... but I thought Biden had the upper hand. Not by much mind you, but I am a little surprised by the poll result. Guess Biden's incredulous scoffing tactic backfired and made him look like a jerk.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  23. Josh

    Biden made a jackhat out of himself... Laughing at everything, interrupting, acting like a two year old... While Biden won on aggressiveness and pointedness, Ryan won on actually acting presidential and content – Ryan's content could have been more pointed though.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Ryan had some good points, but Biden did better.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  25. SWorth

    All this talk about how rude Biden was but no one seemed to mind when Romney kept interrupting during presidential debate. I think Ryan would have interrupted more if he had anything of substance to say.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
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