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. Anonymous

    Biden was ridiculous. He made huge slip-ups about Libya that could cause lots of trouble for Obama. That story is rolling into something bigger.

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

    CNN...you are embarrassing yourself!!!! I highly suggest taking your headline down. There is not one poll out there except yours that thinks Ryan won.

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

    Everyone understand that the Vice President won tonight.

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

    I don't know why people look more at 'who won the debate' rather than who has the better policies. Even this discussion seems meaningless. Just because Ryan was courteous or Biden was aggressive or Obama wasn't aggressive enough shouldn't be capable of affecting the outcome of the election.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  5. prescillawalker

    FOX News – ummm – CNN, huh? Can't tell which network I'm on. Biden won, and you and I, and everyone else knows it.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  6. Tim Allen

    You gotta be high to think crazy uncle biden won. Dude is a joke.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  7. Sysy

    The winner was clearly Biden. He was Ready from the inception of the debate. Both candidates shared bits and pieces from their experience but I personally found that Ryan overused his anecdotes when answering a question. It was almost as if he used them as a tool to skirt around questions.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  8. Glenn Rice

    I watched and wanted Ryan to win......he didn't but it's not over.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  9. blahblah

    Biden looked like a fool with his cackling. That is my take away!

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  10. Name

    Definitely an odd poll result from faux news lite, CNN

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  11. Kelli

    Not even close! I believe the CBS poll. CNN needs to broaden their poll numbers. I just might start watching MSNBC after tonight! Joe Biden was clearly superior and it's sad that people will look at the narrow poll results that CNN provided.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  12. Dawn Engle

    Joe Biden won!

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  13. CSB7

    It was close, but Biden's rude behavior was ridiculous, he looked as if he was trying to prove something because he had done something wrong. Oh wait, that's this Administration in a nut shell.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  14. Ginna

    Biden is experienced, yet rude. Ryan is young, but has the passion. They both won, but I fear that the USA is losing. Where are the statesmen/women? Politicians – not good. And that's all that we have on either side.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  15. cj

    I kept switching between CNN and Fox to see how both parties interpreted the debate, and found Charles Krauthammer's analysis to be the one I agreed with most: if you read the transcripts, it was a draw; if you listened on the radio, Biden won in a landslide; if you watched TV, the effect that Biden's words had was greatly diminished by his abhorrently disrespectful conduct, making Paul Ryan look like a more dignified and respectful individual.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  16. truth squad

    I think Biden blew it right out of the gate when he lied about Libya again. Here comes the haunting!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  17. WendyinNV

    Biden should not have shown up as the creepy loudmouth Joker. Talking louder and interrupting more is not Presidential and as the voter they were trying to appeal to ...an undecided woman voter like myself. He did NOT do the job. Is that now the way we run things? Bullies win...I think not. Senator Ryan was well versed, didn't laugh in a creepy uncontrollable way, didn't talk over his opponent, and held his ground against the bully on the playground. Biden proved Ryan's point...Obama/Biden will not EVER negotiate or try to bring the country together to solve our current situation. I think this debate helped me make up my mind...thank you Senator Biden.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  18. ChanceinFL

    I agree with mike in nv, everyone i have talked to including myself believe biden completely won this debate in a landslide. even with him being a little rude he was acting how the president should have in calling out ryan and romney in their lies and not letting them get to hollywood in their responses. IM DEFINITELY questioning the biasness of CNN after this poll. there is just no way ryan won this debate..

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  19. Benny

    Biden by far! Once again Ryan could not answer many of the questions specifically. I needed more specifics from Ryan. Tending more to Obama/Biden at this time. I watched the debate in a room with many females and they were so pumped with Biden and his performance on many of women concerns and issues. Interesting!

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  20. corey

    The Cnn poll is a joke! They know Biden Destoyed Ryan. It wasn't even close. I don't even watch cnn anymore. Does substance count anymore in this country?

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  21. Gunga Din

    Romney lied and lied and lied during the last debate, therefore Obama won by default. It's easy to win a debate when there's no fact checking. Biden easily took Ryan to school tonight. You can't win when your campaign is based on fear and lies. CNN, get your facts straight.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  22. sarge325

    The CBS poll that shows Biden "winning" was a sample of specially selected undecided voters. It was not a poll of debate watchers in general. The CNN poll is a much better measure of who "won." It is hilarious to see the responses of Obama supporters on this blog who think Biden trounced Ryan and think the CNN poll is bogus. What debate did you watch? Biden scored some points by being forceful, but Ryan scored by clearly stating his positions and by being poised and presidential. Biden lost a lot of points for his smirking and interrupting. He acted like a child, not like a vice president. People rely on bluster when logic isn't on their side.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  23. r1100rsl2

    Biden was a totally insufferable arrogant politician. Ryan had the appropriate demeanor. Al Gore must be happy. Someone in a debate was more obnoxious than he was. Ryan won because he held his own without being a jerk.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  24. manny

    bien in a landslide

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  25. jimbo

    The problem here is that most visitors to CNNs website are sympathetic to the Dems. Looks at the lopsided unscientific poll on the front page.

    Their scientific pole (the 48 vs 44) is pretty accurate.. that is to say that this debate was a wash. No clear winner or loser.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
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