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. Minimouse123

    VP Biden was rude, disrespectful, kept interrupting, was condescending! Called congressman Ryan my friend and this man! He showed no respect at all. I am completely dissapointed at him. Ryan good make a great VP! He is a smart and honest man. I am proud of him

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  2. darrenhankins

    Biden won

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  3. john

    Wow! All 100 democrats watched CNN tonight. That means all 125 viewers were watching CNN at the same time..

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  4. Jason, NYC Law

    Can you imagine Biden in the Oval Office??? He is the crazy uncle in the attic...

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

    Are you kidding me! Biden won. He was clear and new what he was talking about. He just could not take Ryan's lies and began to laugh. He should not have interrupted, but the contents of his answers is what is important. Check out other medias, and see BIDEN WON.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  6. Andre

    No complaints last week when Gov. Romney interrupted.

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

    Nonsense CNN

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  8. susan

    Biden made a spectacle of himself. He was rude, arrogant, his facial expressions were something else, ranging from smiling, smirking sighing. Frankly, I was glad when it was over.

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

    What I saw was Biden, who understands the issues, sick of listening to memorized sound bites by Ryan. It's time to call "malarkey" and Biden did that.

    October 12, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  10. mamooney82

    Ryan won, huh...? I think you've got bad data. Biden was laughing so much because he thought yelling "LIAR, EVASIVE LIAR" would be over the line.

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

    So Biden kicks a** and he is disrespectful
    Romney interupts and he wins.
    Biden had command of the facts and he answered the questions
    Ryan dodged, did one complete pancake flip, and campaigned
    Biden won hands down

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

    The Vice President made Congressman Ryan look like an inexperienced junior member of leadership. He was aggressive but he needed to be since the Congressman attempted on several occasions to misrepresent the facts (the economy is worse than it was when the President came into office for example). Ridiculous! Foreign policy was a mixed bag, with the Administration still trying to find its sea legs on Libya but sounding sure and masterful on Afghanistan, Syria and Iran. Ryan made news with his views on abortion policy and no troops on the ground for humanitarian intervention–completely contradicting McCain and other Republicans in their positions on Syria. It was a very good night for the Administration. No draw, No tie but complete win for VP Biden.

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

    you fools. ryan has been to the extreme right of president bush and romney (on record) on social security and medicare. he is scarey.

    October 12, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  14. GMFT

    If Paul Ryan's mastery of the facts, sincerity and obvious high character weren't enough to convince me to vote Romney, Joseph Biden's buffoonery would be enough to convince me to vote against Obama.

    October 12, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  15. Mrs Green

    Vice President won tonites debate...

    October 12, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  16. darrenhankins

    joe clearly won

    October 12, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  17. David

    Awesome job Paul Ryan!!!!! You could tell Joe Biden was frustrated by smiling constantly and trying to dominate the debate but failed miserably!!! Mitt Romney is for sure now our next president. Thus country can not afford another four years of Obama and Biden, People know thie current administration has failed this country.

    October 12, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  18. Lorelei Blackmon

    Ryan definitely did not win.

    October 12, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  19. darrenhankins

    CNN most of polled all conservative

    October 12, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  20. Kita

    Ryan did better than I thought, but Biden seemed to deliver two responses to every question; one was his own answer, and the other was correcting Ryan. Repeatedly. Biden won this hands down.

    October 12, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  21. thefutureleader

    Joe Biden won!

    October 12, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  22. Jack Parkman

    CNBC had Ryan by a landslide, 56 to 36%

    October 12, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  23. Forward

    Biden clearly won the debate......Obama/Biden 2012

    October 12, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  24. Steven

    Ryan won...Biden came off as a crotchety old man. Ryan was concise and did not get put off by the smirks and interruptions of a bitter wanna be....

    October 12, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  25. Monique

    Who did this polling? Maybe they're having the same drink that Ryan was drinking during the debate. Ryan was so nervous during the debate that makes him feel like he had a golf ball in his throat...that's why he kept drinking.

    October 12, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
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