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. robert

    Crazy old man... Biden is just an unhappy old man that needs to get some.

    October 12, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  2. patrickmckennaa

    Biden, hands down. Check your polls guys. So weird, it seemed so obvious.

    October 12, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  3. SBates

    I truly believe Mr. Biden won.

    October 12, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  4. HAZEL

    AND BIDEN WON THE DEBATE

    October 12, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  5. Jay

    The best way to come to a compromise is to laugh/smirk at people with different points of view. The more disrespectful the better. Now I understand why the current administration has not been able to come to compromise with the democrats or republicans.

    October 12, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  6. carmine

    who did this pull. obviously Joe Biden won. The other one looked like a high school student,
    they both are not on a same level.

    October 12, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  7. Scott

    Based on substance, Biden won in a landslide. Biden was a little over the top, which will cost him a bit. For every point Ryan made, Biden has a rebuttal. Seriously, Biden clearly won that debate and it was not close. Not sure why the polls show that it was close, unless people really do not care about facts or substance.

    October 12, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  8. Peggy

    vote in the quick poll home page bottom right! Biden won hands down, his facts spoke the truth!

    October 12, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  9. Exerciseman

    Vice President Joe won... no contest....

    October 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  10. geana22

    381 registered voters took this poll? Three-hundred-eighty-one? Registered what? Republican? Democrat? Independent? Undecided?

    October 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  11. farmwife1972

    Biden did an awesome job! It was the same old thing with Ryan. He did not give any specifics on their plan. He side stepped alot. Ryan was the one always interrupting. Now on to the next Presidential debate next week. President Obama will do great this next time.

    October 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  12. Name virginia

    Paul Ryan won the debate no doubt about it!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  13. Cathy

    Your poll just doesn't sound right to me. Joe Biden was fabulous; he had all he facts on his side and tried to make sure that Paul Ryan stuck to the truth. He was masterful in foreign policy and seemed like a professor talking to a freshman. He was enjoying it and that's why he smiled.

    October 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  14. Ann

    Ryan was the clear winner. He kept his composure, unlike Biden who constantly interrupted him and was very rude by laughing. Surprised he did not fall asleep.

    October 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  15. lola

    Its obvious that Cnn only wants to show support for Romney such a shame its sad looking at the comments Joe biden won its sad u CNN dint respect our votes this is why I stopped watching fox now j have to stop watching Cnn

    October 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Biden won the debate

    October 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  17. Patrick

    Biden all the way.......

    October 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  18. amd

    Also, for all of those slamming Biden's body language and interrupting, where were these people when romney was so obnoxiously interrupting Obama?

    October 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  19. Connie

    Paul Ryan, if you don't know, he was the "composed" one... Great job Ryan! Winner!

    October 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  20. Namekim

    The poll on your front page shows Biden 62-38. Way to lose your credibility,CNN.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  21. Lisa

    What is going on with CNN lately? Biden clearly won, who took part in this poll? Something is just not right with you guys of late.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  22. hitman

    Ryan should have punched out Biden's pearly whites. What an arrogant, insulting person Biden is!

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  23. hoov01

    Ask libs like the comments below and Biden won. Ask Repubs and Ryan won. Truth is it was close HOWEVER Biden really did come off as arrogant and very disrespectful. Going by social media this looks to be a draw on substance and to Ryan overall. Obama should have punted Biden to the curb.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  24. Edward Brennan

    Did you just poll the same age 50 and over white people in the South, like CNN did in the presidential debate? Of course, I don't see any links to the internals on this poll. CNN- the Confederate News Network.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  25. mambaitalia

    Biden looked like the educated, loveable leader that his record proves he is. There is NO way Ryan won this debate. Come on CNN. LOL

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
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