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. rc8888

    Biden lost me when he said that they didn't know that it was a terrorist attack on the consulate and then blamed the intelligence community for not telling the White House about the real reason for the killings. Also, he clearly stated that no one told them that the consulate needed more security. This is not good by any measure.

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

    The key are the Independents. Not the Dems or Reps. I am an Independent. I voted Obama/Biden in 2008. I will be voting Romney/Ryan in 2012. I've helped vote in every president for the past three decades. Biden blew it tonight. I can not stand him anymore.

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

    I am beginning to doubt CNN for real. Which debate are you talking about? JOE BIDEN IS UNDOUBTEDLY THE WINNER.

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

    Is this CNN or Fox Joe Biden won

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

    If the person sitting next to you on national television was lying, distorting the truth and misleading the american people could you sit there and not roll your eyes, laugh. or interrupt to fact check his lies? Lyin Ryan did not get away with it the way "too nice and professional" Obama allowed Romney to do. Thanks Joe Biden for showing the passion you really have for the middle class.

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

    Biden's strategy is hard to beat. Say 12 lies in one sentence then interrupt your opponent when he tries to respond.

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

    Biden attacked and appeased the Dem base. Ryan appeased the Republican base, and clearly showed better class. Don't underestimate how Biden's behavior will impact voters. Also, this "social media" stuff is complete and total nonsense. I am 39 and know more people who don't use social media than do. Regular users of social media (heavily young) think that everybody is there, and what is said in social media circles represents the majority.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  8. True

    Biden knew the facts and Ryan avoided several questions.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  9. Adi617

    Bidens arrogance is a turn off not to mention his excessive interruption of Ryan time to speak. I can see saying let me respond to that but he repeatedly laughed and stared around the room that's so disrespectful. I can only compare him to a used car sales manager who tells you are you really going to ask permission from your wife while laughing and looking around the room, yes I am buddy. His lack of respect and arrogance almost made it seem like he was unprepared to he had to deflect to discredit,.

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

    Biden is nothing but a laugh!

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

    Romney interrupted and was rude and he won the debate, they say, Biden shows passion and he did interupt and heis called a buffoon, Biden clearly won that debate and Ryan gave us nothing as far as what they was gonna do to get jobs back. Roe V Wade will be reversed and we will be in a war with Iran also no soc. sec. or welfare, That iswhat I heard from Ryan. and that is scary.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  12. Oh boy

    I also wonder what is going on with CNN, almost as if they are moving from center to the right. Wonder who they getting their orders from?

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  13. emily

    What is nonsense? This was a clear win for Biden-no contest. He smacked Ryan's butt and sent him to bed without dinner. Calling "malarky" on these poll results.

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  14. badboy

    Joe Biden was overbearing and rude. What was with the smirking smile and continuous interruptions to Ryan attempt to speak. The moderator would cut off Ryan and allow Biden to speak. I can't stand rudeness in a man!

    October 12, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  15. Leaning Left

    Ryan sounded inexperience, like a college kid. Joe was commanding and knowledgeable, big difference I thought. Easy pick here Joe B.

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

    This poll is nonsense! Biden CLEARLY won this debate! He knew he had to deliver the goods tonight & he did. Otherwise the media would have had a field day & continued to swing this election in Romney's favor. Republican's were unhappy about Biden repeatedly interrupting Ryan. The interruptions were necessary. Biden had to call Ryan out on his lies & contradictions IMMEDIATELY ON THE SPOT before any of it was mistaken as facts by the public. Repubs were also unhappy about Biden "inappropriately laughing" at Ryan's talking points. How telling is that they never complained about Romney's interruptions & smug laughter during the Presidential Debate last week. All in all Biden kicked ass. If Ryan thought he was going to outwit & "push the old man around" he was very mistaken. This should about make up for any lost momentum from Obama's poor performance & Republican c0cksucking (in the name of bi-partisanship) during last week's debate.

    October 12, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  17. Mark

    They said Sarah Palin won against Biden too. I don't know how you could objectively look at the debate tonight and say Ryan won. At the most generous it was barely a tie but I think Biden did to Ryan what Romney did to Obama.

    October 12, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  18. Fheal

    Makes me tend to not believe any future CNN poll.

    October 12, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  19. justthinkinbout

    Joe Biden won

    October 12, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  20. Name w.bullock

    Biden was laughing over those that died in libay and throw his intelligence under the bus

    October 12, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  21. Truthiness

    Ryan won? Wow! Ryan was schooled.

    October 12, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  22. Jeanne

    I am so disappointed in the Vice President's behavior, I certainly hope he is not this way with foreign leaders when they disagree with him, I would definately never want him as president of my country.

    October 12, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  23. Crystal

    I am a democrat but I thought they both did well if actual facts aren't a factor. Pleeeease people, neither candidate is perfect but what matters is integrity, urge, and ability to do the right thing. Please visit politifact.com, factcheck.org, or any other fact checking site to do your homework. I know it's hard to separate spin from truth but it is necessary due to how much is at stake in this election.

    October 12, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  24. jonathan

    Biden made Ryan look like a mediocre 10th grade student. Wasn't even close.

    October 12, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  25. Kristin

    After this debate – women against Ryan, seniors against Ryan – if you are the upper 1% then vote Ryan

    October 12, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
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