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. Kitty

    seriously? 381 respondents for this poll? gimme a break. Ryan was an answerless embarrassment

    October 12, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  2. cosmo

    No one won But Biden won the whitest most bleached teeth in America

    October 12, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  3. phillipstanchin

    And come on cnn i used to have so much respect 4 ya. you know biden won

    October 12, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  4. Daniel

    381 registered voters...out of how many tens of millions? What a joke.

    October 12, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  5. Joseph

    Ryan was the adult in that room. He won.

    October 12, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  6. Drew

    Biden was just channeling his inner Romney.You mad GOP?

    October 12, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  7. Erik

    It was a draw on substance, but Ryan won on style. Biden looked pretty bad smirking and laughing while Ryan was trying to talk, and excessive interrupting.

    October 12, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  8. John Lankford

    Come on CNN? I don't see what you got to moderate. Essentially most people agree with with. Your focus group appears bias also. Paul Ryan essentially came off as very inexperience than Joe Biden. I would hate to see this guy President of the United States. For your information, I'm a military veteran. There was a reason Joe Bioden couldn't contain himself from almost laughing. Ryan came off as a wonk and didn't know what he was talking about. The kid is far out. The office of President and Vice President is very serious. Americans should watch it over and over again.

    October 12, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  9. Samantha

    Joe Biden cleaned the floor!

    October 12, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  10. HG

    Biden lost me with his grin and laughter.

    Here are some things that are not comical: War, economy, jobs, abortion, etc,

    October 12, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  11. Delaware

    I think the media tries to have sympathy for Paul Ryan by saying tht he is the winner. How can you win when you do not tell the truth.

    October 12, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  12. S. Temper

    Boy, you Obama supporters have a hard time accepting defeat!

    "Uhhh, there must be something wrong with CNN???"

    Ryan made Biden look out of date and petty, like an angry old woman.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  13. Nancy McKeever

    I agree with most bloggers, most every poll I checked out has Biden winning. I thought Cnn's had Biden 56%. Jon Stewart was right these polls are the most inaccurate bunch of garbage, give or takr 4%.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  14. MOM

    On the issues it was Biden all the way.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  15. kassy

    This is so wrong! Who did you pool? Makes CNN look stupid. Biden clearly won hands down. Look at twitter, facebook, etc. You need to re-evaluate how you do your polls. Need to retract this headline for sure. CNN...I count on you for credible news. Not so sure now. SMH!

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  16. Stacie

    First, I want to say Martha appeared biased. She and Biden even ganged up on Ryan during parts of the debate, completely unfair! Ryan responded impressively. Biden would have come out looking much worse had the debate been mediated by an unbiased party. Second, Biden was defensive, rude and attempted to bully Ryan, but just ended up making himself look more ridiculous. Not someone I care to have in office. Absolutely vile! I was an undecided voter, but this debate has made the choice easy for me. Romney-Ryan all the way!

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  17. Leona Ann

    These guys are not always right.. We know who won. and so we will see. Depending on the person writing or speaking their bias is who won for them. They never get it right. They always looking for talking points to keep it going. That is what they do. and they are not looking at the same debate...........lol

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  18. Anonymous

    This poll is a joke

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  19. Recovered Baptist

    Lame, CNN. Just lame.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  20. Betty Boop

    CNN is losing their credibility. Other polls are showing Biden as the clear winner. I am so disgusted with CNN!....CLEARLY BIDEN WON!.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  21. Gregg Cannon

    Ryan TOTALLY won tonight... all the blogs and comments back that up!

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  22. John

    I an an Independent who voted for Obama back in 2008. I was disgusted by Biden's condescending behavior. Not only was he disrespectful to Ryan, he was disrespectful to us. Worse yet, he embarrassed the Democratic Party's image with his buffoonish behavior. I will not be voting for Obama this time, but I might change my mind if Obama fires Biden and replaces him with someone who is more competent.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  23. Jan

    CNN is way off base on this. Look at the poll on your own website. Sometimes I wonder about CNN!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  24. Jose S.

    GO JOE. Biden made Ryan look like the LIAR that he is. He called him on every single lie and lack of details. Cannot wait for Obama vs. RobMe 2.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  25. Kimberly c

    Romney is going to win anyhow ....looking forward to next Tuesday's debate

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
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