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. lynn

    Rude? Interrupting? That is all Romney did in the last debate! Where was the outrage last week? Turnabout isn't fair play? All you conservatives do is talk out two sides of the mouth!

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  2. Doug Harrod

    Is CNN affiliating in the future with Fox News? It seems like they must have some talks going on to merge!

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  3. fox

    where iss CNN getting thir info!

    Biden clearly won this debate!!

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  4. Alisha

    Anyone with hair plugs like Biden's shouldn't be smiling !

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  5. Thomas

    Talk about flawed sampling by CNN – were we watching the same debate? Ryan totally lost to Joe Biden in the debate.

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  6. PoP

    What on earth? Who would say Ryan won the debate? The kid was dominated on every section. And no, I'm not some left wingnut – I think Romney won his debate, but this one was even more decisive.

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  7. Stonepony

    The other day, Obamaha got "Mitt Slapped." Tonight Biden got "Paul Paddled" till his tail turned red!

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  8. m

    Bides all the way , Ryan got schooled , to busy drinking

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  9. James

    Biden was predictable, how many times did he say 47%? Interrupted Ryan 82 times. He got creamed.

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  10. Shannon J

    Joe Biden won, now where is this so called poll so I can vote for Joe!!!
    OBAMA/BIDEN2012

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

    There is no way this poll is actually representative, and not an attempt to shoe-horn some milquetoast attempt at covering up the fact Biden dominated this debate. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

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

    Biden looked out at the American people and lied about voting for the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars-doesn't he realize that the keep records of those things.Tonight Biden looked like the grinning old man wandering the halls of a nursing home with dementia!

    October 12, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  13. Glenn

    Biden won hands down!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  14. Christine W

    There is no doubt Ryan won this. I have seen alot of people with that uncontrollable nervous laugh, but none are as bad as Biden. He really made a fool of himself. Everyone I spoke with agreed, even a couple that are voting for Obama!

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

    Can't believe Biden was laughing during half of the debate. It is clear that he does not take the issues seriously and that he has the same condescending demeanor as Obummer. These people should have never been able to get within 500 miles of the White House.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  16. Scott Stams

    Ryan absolutely won, because although they were split on the issues, style matters on television. Being rude, speaking forcefully, interrupting your opponent, and grinning sarcastically like a 6th grader is not good debating. Optics matter. Just ask Al Gore. They both scored points on the questions but Biden's antics were unbecoming a man of his stature and experience. I truly believe Biden is a kind man in person, but was pressured to make up for the President's weak performance into attacking and got carried away. Interrupting your opponent 82 times. Really?

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  17. Ryan clearly won!

    I love how people are referencing the "other" CNN online poll that is CLEARLY slanted left. Ryan won this debate hands down. The people posting on here are just angry liberals that know they are losing.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  18. cbc200

    Seriously? Biden rude? You are mistaking incredulousness for rudeness. Frankly, I laughed when the CNN team who was covering the debate said that they thought it was a tie as to who won. Good lord. It was man against boy – and man did Biden win – Big Time!

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  19. Tom

    Biden won hands down!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  20. whemed2000

    It's clear Ryan won hands down!

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  21. Big K

    Its very obvious, Ryan was on his game, and Biden came off as a arrogant ass.. He knew h had to loud and rude because he brought a knife to a gun fight

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

    I'm a republican and i want to point out the obvious..Ryan looked like a deer in the headlights. Biden clearly was the more expirenced one in this debate and he clearly won.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  23. WSHesselgrave

    Whenever any Republican politician points a finger at a Democrat and starts to whine about Obama failing to be bipartisan, I want to throw a shoe at the screen. EVERYONE knows that McConnell and Company have sworn since DAY ONE to do anything to make Obama look bad, even to the point of trash-talking Republican ideas that Obama is in favor of. I kept waiting for Biden to mention the record number of Republican filibusters. Although he did get that 7% dig in about Republican congressional favorability!

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  24. dpd

    Biden's just an angry old man.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  25. realyute

    wait so let me get this right..a debate as we know it is supposed to be an argumentative thing...so since when cutting one off in a debate becomes arrogant? i've never seen a real debate where its talk when its your turn...but when mitt did it to obama, it was all good

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