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. 47% in the Midwest

    Smokin' Joe... despite the fact that Ryan's flag pin was bigger.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  2. McKenGrace

    Ryan won? is CNN serious about this? i watched the whole debate and Biden clearly won this one. What dimension did these people watching from?

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  3. Redman

    Is anyone aware that Obama was at the moderator's wedding? And you are going to tell me that she did not provide Biden and company questions in advance? This Dummycrap party is the most immoral party who will do anything for power and go to any extent in lying and deceiving to obtain it and cling onto it. What a sham this was.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  4. ibabs

    CNN-where did you take your Poll? No contest..Biden all the way!! Everyone I have talked to, D and R's agree.
    .

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  5. Armand

    What debate were these people watching?

    This was a bloodbath.

    Biden by a mile!

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  6. wallst

    Probably CNN didn't bother to include the 47% of the people who voted for Biden as winner of the debate. So looks like CNN cares only about the wealthy republican voters

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

    I don't know who you guys are interviewing – maybe just the FOX news building... how could anyone be swayed by Ryan? Ryan didn't answer a single question directly. Even the host was annoyed with him. The guy is worthless.

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

    Total lie!!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  9. RobinFL

    When Biden calld out Ryan about begging Stimulus money, he won the debate right there

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

    This must have been the quickest poll in history. I just finished watching the debate and I'm searching for polls and this one is nowhere to be found. Biden won easily.

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

    Rude and interrupting shows the type of individual and leader Biden is. Ryan was respectful, confident and knowledgeable, fantastic job Paul!!

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  12. KO

    As Biden would say, "Malarky". Nobody else has Ryan winning this–CNN, are you turning into Fox News?

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  13. Robert Rogers

    the problem is a lot of the calls were during debate and a lot of people like my dad are tired of poll phone calls and now just hang up so its hard to give any credence to these IMHO Biden won my pops says so too lol

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  14. Stephen Collins

    Ryan 48%??? There must be a lot of repub lurkers on here, because that's ridicules..

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  15. Camee54

    Funny last week, when Nit Wit Mitt stood there smirking and looking like a plastic Ken Doll, interrupted the Moderator and the President several times, II didn't hear anyone commenting about that....by the way, Biden won!!!

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

    Not even close. Biden beat Ryan badly. Better command of issues – Ryan didn't have a clue on Afghanistan. Got hammered on the stimulus funding he asked for in his home district. Got nailed on the claim that unemployment is going up...it's going down.

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

    Who does CNN poll? On their website Joe Biden won by a landslide. I've never been polled, EVER. I know no one that has been polled. I heard if you have a cell phone you never will. What demographic of Americans even have home phones anymore?. I think their poll they they are referencing live on tv is totally off.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  18. fisha1

    Biden destroyed Ryan. He was like Thor bringing the hammer down. Ryan keep your pullups on your not ready yet.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  19. Nam Teri

    Joe your taunting and laughing was unprofessional and makes people want to take up for the taunted. It came across as overacting and calculated. I would hold my VP to a higher standard. Your performance over shadowed the issues. I won't remember what you said, but I will remember how you acted.

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

    Very good debate. Joe has issues and was schooled by a man. maybe Biden should find a 7-11 where he can insult a legal immigrant.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  21. My

    I dont think CNN's poll is partial..It is that the online community is now misrepresented..If you follow yahoo threads, there are so many new userids that are participating in the discussion. If you take a middle of the line stance and quote something slightly against Romney, there seem to be a coordinated effort to thumbs down so that comments will go down the popular list..I have been a yahoo user for quite sometime but this is getting ridiculous now..

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

    Horrible thats why CNN rating are going downnnnn, Wolf is horrible you can basically tell he is holding on to try be neutral, but at the same time he is a conservative.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  23. Carlos

    Not sure what debate CNN polled on but no one I have talked to agrees with your results or what I personally observed.
    Go figure.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Are you kidding as Bill Maher said on FB
    Hello 9-1-1? There s an old man beating a child on my tv.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  25. Aaron

    LOL what? CNN's journalistic integrity is taking a serious hit on their election coverage. Between the "fact check" last debate siding with Romney's opinions, to this "result" despite an extremely obvious win for Biden. CNN has either gone the way of Fox News, or they are just extremely incompetent. Either way, CNN is taking a serious reputation hit on their election coverage and not sure how much more of this incompetence I can take before I stop watching CNN altogether.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
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