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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Read more of today's political news on the CNN Political Ticker.

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. Anonymous

    Biden attempted the Alinski tactic of ridiculing, mocking and laughing at his opponent in an attempt to throw him off his pace. Didn't work, just made Biden look goony and superficial..

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  2. Steve

    Ryan was sharp, articulate and focused. Biden acted like a school yard bully. The choice is very clear who should lead America the next four years. When you debate on your record due to the fact nothing of substance exists to talk about its time to exit. Romney/Ryan next month will win.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  3. Troy

    Biden lost big and so will his ticket with Obama. So sad to see such an old crank lose his mind on tv.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  4. Torres

    CNN lies just like Romney and Ryan

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  5. Chris

    Canada, the CBS poll over samples democrats 25% to 15%. And the poll indicated only 50% said Biden won. 31% say Ryan won while 19% claim a tie. Including the "tie" response distorts the statistics since it would have been 50% to 50% otherwise.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  6. phillipstanchin

    If my stuff doesnt make it on cnn is bought over by mitt romney!

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  7. Annette

    I didn't vote who did you get to vote in this poll????

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  8. Undecided voter

    Ryan clearly won. Biden is a disgrace to America. Biden and his silly grins.

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

    This is preposterous! When did the GOP buy CNN?

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  10. Sara

    I am beginning to think that CNN is extremely biased. Joe Biden swept the floor with Ryan!!! Everyone knows this! WOW, CNN! Be Fair at reporting!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  11. Guest

    Biden did a great job of ferreting the truth out of Ryan's propaganda.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  12. gk6gun

    Biden won. CNN has become the new FOX.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  13. GI Joe

    The group I watched with said Biden. Maybe those folks were watching it on FOX. Stranger things have happened.

    I didn't get a call, so it isn't valid. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha They called republcans. They cooked the numbers. ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Hey - that's what they always yell.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  14. Name Kay

    Uh what debate was CNN watching or who are these people you are polling?? Biden whooped his a@&.. Hands down and of course Joe Biden was laughing ..when u hear so much BS you can't help but laugh in the face of the person telling it to you.. Even Ryans hair was sweatin

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  15. Delaware

    I do not what debate you guys watched but if you watched the same one I did Biden is the clear winner hand down. He knew his staff and hetold the truth. Ryan was like a student in Biden class because he did not know what he was talking about. If Biden lose for been to agressive then Mitt Romney lost the first debate for been too agresive as well. I think people just do not know what they want and no matter what Obama/ Biden do they will still criticize. People are just blinded by the GOP lies.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  16. Kem

    Paul Ryan did better. Funny when Obama ran he had no specific steps outside of hope and change but the dems are crying fowl that Romney/Ryan's 5 point plan isn't good enough for them. Funny the dems hounded Bush when he invaded Iraq by using the intelligence report given him but the Bengazie 9/11 attack is a different story.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  17. Catherine

    CNN? what? Every single sampling I have seen except here says Biden won? Have your peeps who update polls gone to bed?

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  18. Wanderer

    If Obama were aggressive like that of Biden today, true Romney would have been revealed. Sometime rudeness is necessary when dealing with liar.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  19. gifty

    am really ashamed of CNN, the debate i watch Biden won, cnn you can do better

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  20. Dan

    Did anyone notice that Paul Ryan looks a lot like 'Eddie Munster'! Eddie got schooled tonight! :-)

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  21. LBB

    Vice-president Biden looked more in control and had the facts. Congressman Ryan looked like a kid in poli sci class 101. Biden won hands down!

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  22. KATIA SAN

    What kind of dabate were you guys watching???. Biden won this debate!.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  23. jl9830

    CBS has it 50%-31% Biden over Ryan with a 4 point margin of error. I believe NBC was 53-43 Biden (not sure of the margin). CNN had a 4 point win for Ryan with a 5 point margin of error. It's clear which the outlier is.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  24. Mom says

    When Biden throws Intel under the bus for Obama's administration Libya screw-up then says we will know when Iran has nukes .... How can anyone vote to reelect this pair? $16 trillion debt? I am terrified for our children.

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

    Joe won on the facts and didn't let Ryan walk away from his support for privatizing Medicare! Ryan tried to dodge that bullet but he didn't manage it. Ryan continued to repeat many of the false statements he made at the convention. No one should be able to win by being so dishonest. Don't care what polls say – that's just a matter of how many people take the time to vote on it. We all witnessed Biden mopping up the floor with him.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194