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. Mrsvass

    Couldn't really tell since Ryan never seemed to be able to finish a sentence–Biden interrupted him 82 times in 90 minutes in addition to the moderator. Biden was downright obnoxious as he laughed and smirked all through Ryan's remarks. I've never witnessed such a display of disrespect toward an opponent, but I guess that's what the Obama campaign is about. Biden demonstrated that he has no respect. Ryan demonstrated he has class. They tied on substance. Biden LOST on style.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  2. Steve

    Biden won hands down. Lyin Ryan needs to be called out on his malarky

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

    At least I found my halloween costume. A smirking ass hole, better known as Joe Biden. What a joke.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  4. EK

    Joe Biden clearly won. Ryan did not have much of a handle on any topics. He offered no specifics on his so-called area of expertise. His take on foriegn policy was weak. A little surprised by CNN analysts discussing results. Biden was rude? How abut the mediator who repeatedly asked Ryan for specifics regarding taxes? Not rude, Ryan refused too offer specifics. I did not perceive Biden as rude. He was simpy blown away by the BS Ryan was serving. What a joke! Ryan is a clown much like Cantor. BTW, Romney made 20m and paid 14%. My household made 1/80 of Romney's pay and paid well over 20% in taxes.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  5. Shannon

    Biden won hands down. CNN is not turning out to be as " neutral" as they are supposed to be. They have reported in a bias capacity for some time now. Looking a lot like Fox2 if you ask me. Let's all use our common sense, we don't need CNN to help us decide.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  6. Wayne Standley

    The CBS poll sounds about right. with Biden winning at 51 to 30 or the 1st CNN poll with Biden winning by more.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  7. meg

    I thought Ryan was much more composed. Biden acted immature, constantly commenting on how much time there was and the laughing... When he accused Ryan of thinking he was Jack Kennedy, it reminded me of a flustered person in an argument that can't think of anything else to say... just hearing what they want to

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  8. Mack

    CNN is playing games. Who did you poll? Gergen and King?

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  9. Teresa Carpenter

    Such a pleasure to watch man stomp boy. Ryan'is nothing more than collection of memorized talking points.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  10. Deb Ed

    Watched the complete debate & took notes on each candidate for almost all of the questions/statements. For a change, Biden came out looking more intelligent than his prior years in public speaking. He did a good job. However, the constant "giggling, laughing, rolling of eyes" was a distraction. Both did the "attack campaign", but Ryan pointed out Obama's mistakes & promises, and, when Biden wasn't interrupting, Ryan explained the Romney-Ryan platform. If you watch the debate again, you will notice that Biden said very little, if any, of what Obama would try to do different in the next 4 years.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  11. Nick

    It was a draw. Both were terrible and total liars, and further proof why I should vote for neither party. Both sides who have already bought their party's lies hook, line and sinker are convinced their guy won. Beyond that Ryan had the slight edge because Biden came off as a jerk and blowhard. I wish Jim Gray, the LP's VP candidate had been onstage to speak on issues with some actual substance.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  12. patriotwoman

    Ryan is the future. Biden is the past! Biden represents all we disdain in a politician. His condescending demeanor didn't help either!

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  13. JGMinVT

    From the CNN poll, it seems CNN has captured a slew of Fox News-loving persons. They're welcome to them.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  14. John

    Ryan won this debate, it would have been closer if biden hadn't appeared so condescending and rude.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  15. DHB

    wow, lots of angry libs on CNN, must be Obama campaign members, hey what are you gonna do in your spare tiem with no job, Hope and Change going to No Hope and very little change

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  16. rymnd87

    Biden won it hands down, Obama could learn something from his VP. Martha was a great moderator, at least for the first hour.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  17. Mary

    I always watch CNN and respect your political commentators but this time I have to disagree with them!
    Biden WON!

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  18. Grumpy

    A long time in-betweener... So I think Biden won the debate, But Ryan won my vote. First debate that has made me reach that decision.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  19. maybrick

    Then why on earth does the poll on the CNN main page give the edge to Biden 65% to 35%. WHY??????

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  20. KJN

    Biden by a large margin! He did great!

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  21. Mike in PA

    Vice-President Biden's behavior was rude and unprofessional. Congressman Ryan had a fantastic night. He stood his ground and conducted himself in a very professional way. In my opinion, Mr. Ryan won this debate, and it is very clear he and Governor Romney can clean up the economic mess created by President Obama and VP Biden.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  22. jwp

    Too bad Biden can't debate Romney, I guess we'll have to settle for zero getting trounced again.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  23. Motortramp

    Your poll from the debate i saw on your live stream listed 64% Biden 34% Ryan when you cut the feed. Where did the rest of your metrics come from?

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  24. YWalk

    Biden won hands down, watching Ryan is like watching the ads, no straight answer the whole time

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  25. Linda

    Paul Ryan will be a GREAT Vice President – Informed, articulate and smart... !!!

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