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. Karina

    I answered all the questions that CNN was asking during the debate, so, CNN, are you kidding me? BIDEN WON !
    CNN, don't trust no more !

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  2. ChitownDoc

    Ryan appeared much more presidential and in control. Biden was more emotional and sometimes seemed immature and rude. Although I voted for Obama-Biden 4 years ago, I won't this time. I like Obama but frankly, the economic challenge overmatched him and his inexperience shows.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  3. t-lee

    CNN got it wrong! They are getting hard to watch, and they act like Fox News. How could they have a poll so fast after the debate with RYAN winning??? He clearly lost.
    And you have that Erin girl talking to people who still claim they don't know who they are voting for??? First, she needs to go. Second those people already know who they are voting for and you give them the run of the show???

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  4. Evelyn Connaway

    Joe Biden, because the truth always wins over talking points and half truths.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  5. jerry

    it was pretty even, however, biden's constant smirking and laughing was a turn off to anyone who is not a lefty.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  6. Will Dixon

    Well we talk about Biden being rude and disrepectful, but Romney was also disrepectful becaus he continued to talk over Lehrer when he told him his time was up.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  7. noah

    biden was very unpresidential, he is just not a serious person. he thinks everything is funny, is that a person you want to lead the country

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  8. LaurieBee61

    Wow, I have lost all respect for you as an impartial news source. Biden clearly won this debate and you refuse to acknowledge this. Shame on CNN. No longer my source for news..

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  9. Ned

    Perhaps you should have polled undecided voters instead of a sample with an excess of Republicans

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  10. maybrick

    So let me get this straight: They're calling people by telephone at 10:30 at night??? Who are these idiots that are picking up?

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  11. Undecided voter

    CNN's poll is the only poll- other than FOX- that shows a Ryan victory. Something is wrong- what is going on at CNN?! 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. I'm returning to the networks, as CNN is no longer impartial in my opinion.

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

    Biden was Awesome!!

    The other CNN poll showed Biden 63% and Ryan 38%...what changed now ? looks like something went wrong. Check on BBC, and other sites...clearly Biden won the debate!!

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  13. Frmer Marine

    BIDEN ACED IT! Ryan looked like a kid trying to explain why he wanted to take his parents car on a road trip with his high school buddies. Facts v. "malarkey". Facts will always win.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  14. Joe

    Wow. A whole 381 people polled! What an accurate and outstanding survey. Lol. Idiots.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  15. The Bruce

    I find myself split, personally. If I had to be pushed one way or the other, I might lean slightly toward Biden. The reason I say this is because - generally speaking - Biden had a bit more energy in his delivery (and performance counts).

    However, I think Biden's biggest deficit was the way he behaved while Ryan was speaking (caught on the split-screen). Between the overly excessive smiling, smirks, and audible bursts of laughter, I think he did more harm to himself than good.

    On the other hand, Ryan - while being very respectful of the VP - wasn't very animated, nor did he rise to the level of passion the VP demonstrated, not that Biden was very passionate.

    Having said all of that, if this Vice Presidential Debate somehow alters the course of the election, it'll be the first that I'm aware of.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  16. MC123

    How does this work? Romney cut off President Obama constantly during their debate and he was seen as in charge, competent, self assured. This evening, Biden exhibits the same behavior, and he's depicted as rude. With the exception of a body language expert who gave her opinion on each candidate during the 1st Presidential debate- I don't remember anyone even mentioning the rude behavior. Clearly, Biden won the debate.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  17. Anthony

    Ryan won hands down, Biden was disrespectful and laughing and smiling when presented by clear facts. This country can not afford four more years of the Obama leadership clearly. Thank The Lord for Mitt and Paul our next president and vice president

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  18. phili

    Ryan won big tonight. A bit of David and Goliath. Interesting to watch.

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  19. Sue

    Funny the Republicans won't admit Biden won. Romney interrupted too, but that was okay. I smile when someone is lying to me too. Why did Ryan sound like the commercials?????

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  20. Blossom

    Joe Biden by a mile! He punched Paul Ryan's ticket for him!!

    October 12, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  21. Erik

    Canaday says,

    Who cares what canada says, haha...canda loved obama's dreadfull performance as well...

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  22. JuanP

    2000 Presidential Debate: VP Al Gore discusses how Governor Bush's economic & tax proposals are unworkable and not good for the American economy.
    Governor Bush calls VP Gore's assertion "fuzzy math".
    Result: President George W. Bush creates the largest federal budget deficits in our nation's history coupled with the weakest level of job growth since the Great Depression.

    2012 Vice Presidential Debate: VP Joe Biden rebuts Republican candidate Paul Ryan's assertion that the same economic & tax proposals being proposed by Romney/Ryan have never been proven to work and are essentially the same as Bush's economic & tax plans.

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  23. MichaelO

    CNN must have seen a different debate! Biden clearly won.

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  24. Rock30815

    Joe Biden won...but his blatant disrespect towards Ryan kind of makes his victory shameful and pointless.

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  25. David

    Joe Biden clearly won! CNN has completely lost it this time.

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