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. ChrisJ

    So how long does this moderation take? A republican game to skew what CNN reports as the results?

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  2. Jmaguire

    I thought Biden did what needed to be done. Yes, he was forceful at times with his approach.....but wasn't Romney that way last week? So, in my eyes two thumbs up for VP Biden. Now come on President Obama and play hardball with Romney next week. Take on those lies!

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  3. ann

    What planet or debate is CNN quoting here? CLEARLY Biden won – and most other polls state this as well.

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  4. Transporter_Bill

    I thought Paul Ryan seemed like a college student from the Young Republicans chapter in over his head, Biden a veteran and in command.

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  5. newborn rep

    I will vote republican this november, I have given up on democatic high tax, no jobs, gov controlling party

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  6. scooby

    if obama wins i have to close my business obama care we can't not afotrted

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  7. Kirk

    Biden acted like a belligerent drunk in a bar. No rational person would say he won this debate. Those 44% aren't voting on this debate, but had their minds made up before the debate ever started.

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  8. Sam Smith

    Dear Obama, if you happen to win reelection, please get rid of Biden! What a snarking, disrespectful dude! Even my young daughter asked me what was wrong with Biden's manners!

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  9. John Balbi

    Biden lied throughout the debate. Laughing, lying, smirking and acting like he doesnt give a flying fig. Clearly, Ryan won this debate. Even liberal CNN has Ryan the winner. Time for Obama and Ryan to pack their bags!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  10. Tusk0402

    Say what you want about Biden's smerks and remarks. Ryan also interrupted Biden and said some pretty disrespectful things directly to Biden. So what, Biden was more emotional! It was in response to flat out lies that he knew was not true. He was giving facts and telling policy. Ryan and Romney just tell you what they want to to do, not how they will do it. I was independent tonight and gave ryan a chance to explain their ideas, but once again he also avoided the questions and did not give any ideas to how he would accomplish their mission to fix the economy! Mr. Obama won my vote tonight!

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  11. E.C.Hock

    No wonder Ryan comes out ahead, Biden acted like an ass. Too bad he takes more pride in being a pit bull than an American statesman. Some say he took the offense, but what they really mean to say is that he acted like a bully, and that with little substance. He did not do Obama any good, except show that the Dems know how to be belligerent and tacky and disrespectful.

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  12. bob

    biden won

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  13. Eric Danes

    I'm sorry, Joe Biden was not what I want to see in a politician. His laughs and smirks were nothing but an insecurity to get people to think he knew what he was talking about. Ryan was respectful and never spoke over him. These last 4 years have been the worst years of my life, being laid off twice and working my butt off while Obama has gone and spent my money. I'm no longer a Democrat and feel very responsible for the decision I made 4 years ago. I will not be making the same mistake this time around. I'm sorry Mr. President.

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  14. DianaSanDiego

    Joe Biden's demeanor was a complete and utter turn-off. It seemed like he was drunk and he seemed to not be able to control his laughing and smirking. Both he and President Obama are rude. I truly appreciate the civil and well-mannered tone demonstrated by both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Quiet, strong, decisive, and well-mannered men. They've got my vote!

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  15. What the heck?

    This is really fishy. I'm done with CNN.

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  16. John Tate

    Every site and poll, including the CNN online poll, show Biden won big.

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  17. Kathy

    Keep polling, 381 is not a big enough sample

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  18. Washiwara

    Biden won by far. It is obvious

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  19. serfin'usa

    Democrats = Biden mopped the floor with Ryan!

    Republicans = Ryan won that one!

    Independents = What the heck is up with Biden's giggling and creeper smile?

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  20. rmurray614

    Where do you vote? This is lame!! CNN, get it together!

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  21. Anonymous

    I have no CLUE WHO YOU POLLED BUT THIS SEEMS WRONG AS HELL!

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  22. J

    mike in NV. you are part of the problem. everyone believes the results are manipulated. this is a result of the conspiracy theory channels like fox news and msnbc. go shop around, i am positive you can find a poll that agrees with you somewhere (regardless of your view).

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  23. policital watch

    I couldn't stand the debate and fell asleep. Felt like a bar brawl with Biden always interrupting..

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  24. David

    CBS poll shows Biden won by a significant margin over Ryan. Why not Biden laugh when Ryan speaks fairy tales. At the end Ryan said a 5 point plan – but that was no plan – it was a set of goals (e.g. reduce the deficit).

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  25. Gregg Cannon

    I was ashamed of the man we have as Vice President in the way he debated... No cooth, no ideas, no truths, no skills.... just rude... that is beneath the office.

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
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