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. Mike in NV

    I don't know where you got your responses. Everybody I've talked to that saw the debate (Republicans and Dems) have all said that Biden won. I'm really beginning to question CNN's impartiality. To me, they are beginning to resemble Fox news more and more...such a shame.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Joe Biden!!!!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  3. Ashley

    Woot Woot!!!! Biden was AWESOME! <3

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  4. Sam

    Biden was just plain disrespectful...He thought he can come out and be aggressive but it backfired...He ended up looking stupid.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  5. th33

    I thought it was a good debate. However, Biden's rude behavior was a bit baffling and un-presidential. I did not agree with everything he said, but if he wipe the facial expressions off his face he would have been better off. I thought Ryan was much stronger than I anticipated. Behaving in a courteous manner served him well.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  6. Canada says Biden schooled Ryan

    CBS with a much bigger test pool has Biden winning 50-31 with the rest undecided or tied. I think Biden made Ryan look like the picture he posed in Time – like a young adult trying to look like a teen.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  7. cnn is desperate

    People its call ratings. Keep it interesting even if the floor got mopped by Biden

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  8. Madie

    What debate were you watching??

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  9. Travis

    Well, even Gergen admits that flash polls based on phone calls- as this one is tilt Republican since they are predominantly landline calls. It is a draw or edge Biden. The web polls are also skewed Democrat. Each side is probably happy with their guy.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  10. Cass

    Liar Liar Pants on Fire! Who are the people voting in this poll! I want to vote – Vice President Joe Biden won!

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  11. MateoinUtah

    Odd, the other poll CNN had showed Biden won 62 – 38

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  12. Karm99

    CNN go check the social media, you guys must have watched a different debate.......

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  13. Jenny Smith

    Biden won. Period. Romney won the last one. Let's be truthful.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Makarky. Without a doubt Biden won this debate.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  15. Expert

    Anybody who thinks Biden won the debate doesn't understand debating. It isn't what you say, it's how you present yourself. Ryan looked gracious, calm, and tactful. Biden looked cranky, old, and crazy. Ryan won by a landslide.

    Obama and Biden are trying to lose this election, that's the only explanation.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  16. Mario

    In these troubling times and serious issues at hand, all Biden could bring to the table was a smile. could won't Be making the same mistake I did 4 years ago.

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  17. Smallberries

    Who the heck are these 381 voters surveyed for the CNN poll? Rush Limbaugh listeners? Joe Biden won hands down!

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  18. wallst

    Wolf Blitzer – Debate was a Tie. FALSE. Wolf you want to show that you are not partisan. Come on.
    Anderson – Ryan won on substance. When did we start judging it by substance. Either you are disguised Republican or a hypocrite

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  19. Jimmy

    Yep, Ryan won, nobody likes a drunk or a bully

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  20. PB

    Biden won on content, but his behavior undercut his performance completely. Didn't they learn from Gore's sighing mess?

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  21. phillipstanchin

    Ryan didnt win! ohios not stupid! and its gonna be the vote that counts! also, republicans have done everything to mess up the american vote eg. john husted! he needs fired! so do the rest of the republicans in ohio! GO OBOMA BIDEN! 7.8%

    October 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  22. aki009

    Embarrassing performance by Biden. I wonder what drug gave him that Joker grin.

    October 11, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  23. jaynutt

    i have really fallen down the rabbit hole. Paul Ryan won ? ! God help us all.

    October 11, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  24. rms

    Ryan won.

    October 11, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  25. AmandaKay

    Where can I vote in that poll? Cause Ryan so lost that debate! It was like watching a little kid learn he was in trouble for eating too much glue when Biden schooled him on how we should not be fighting the was for the Afghan people. US soldiers should not be dying because the Afghani's are Takers not Makers. The USA MADE Osama BinLaden die via US Military Might but we aren't going to hold there hands forever we need our men and women to come home!

    October 11, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
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