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. Name N. Shepard

    Paul Ryan debated the issues clearly, intelligently and professionally. I cannot say the same for the V.P., Joe Biden. It would be difficult to let a man that laughs during the most serious issues America is facing to remain in office.
    The Obama camp had four years, it's time for them to step down. America needs leaders now like Romney and Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  2. Boe Jiden

    Joe's Alzheimer medicine must have made him cranky. He didn't know when to shut up and quite frankly, what he was talking about. Thanks to BHO, 100% Democrat Scranton is at 10 % unemployment and BROKE.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  3. mark

    Ryan won, Biden looked old and was rude.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  4. thedecieder

    The Rush ditto heads bombed the spammed the polls again. Some peoples children just don't put down the OC's and grow up.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  5. Rick

    Biden should have been wearing a Big Bird costume, although Big Bird would have been more convincing than Biden. I am Biden's age. I'm an engineer. I got an honest job, he became a governent zombie. I worked as ian engineer all my life. I produced, he destroyed, and, yet, he's a millionare, and I'm not. I'm barely in the middle class that he and that communist Obama keep droning about.. Biden should be in prison along with the rest of the Democrats in Congress for corruption. These people have to go, NOW!

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  6. Dawn50

    Just because you are rude and loud doesn't mean you won. Ryan won this with his knowledge and respectfulness.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  7. marctheduck

    Biden didn't win but he sure had a side-splittin' time during the debate. I wondered if he was quaffing laughing gas. I kept expecting him to fall on his back, feet kicking in the air and laughing his fool head off.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  8. Carole Fordham

    Biden for President!!!
    Ryan for Viceresident

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  9. Ph.D.VotingDelta

    Decisively, this debate was won by Vice President Biden. His responses were substantive, detailed, forthright, and well-thought out. Ryan, by contrast, was shifty, scripted, uncomfortable, and evasive. If your poll is indicating that Ryan was in any way comparable to our esteemed sitting Vice President, the instrument is seriously flawed.

    October 12, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  10. Name camille

    Biden won fair n square,ryan didn't no wat hit him on most of the topics,guess he didn't study enough.

    October 12, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  11. Saffrondog

    I don't know if you "won" or not, but Joe, god bless you. You spoke for me. Keep doing it. Win or lose, we must speak what we believe and hope. YOU GO JOE.

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

    Draw? Really? Biden crushed him.

    October 12, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  13. Unemployed_Independent

    Biden's behavior was not only disrespectful, it was disgusting for someone that is supposed to be an open-minded politician. He reminds me of "Pappy O'Dannel" in O brother, where art thou. He spewed the same baseless drivel that I've come to expect from him during the campain tour, and was not disappointed that he nearly started to chant his "47%" cheer. It's all the man really has. Fact checking will be really interesting on this one; perception was that Biden should be sedated.

    October 12, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  14. Marty

    Paul Ryan assasinated by Joe Biden on television

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

    Biden won hands down... ryan needs to go back to school or better yet join the young and the restless cause he is pretty good at memeorizing scripts... ryan was pathetic

    October 12, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  16. TomWI

    381 people is all there is to this poll. Makes this poll, and thus article, a complete non-factor... Shooting to fast CNN!

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

    Joe for Pres!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  18. Peter Bond

    Your informal poll was for Joe Biden. And CBS goes 50% to Joe Biden 38% Ryan. Obviously. NBC also called it for Joe Biden, which tells me your sample was mostly republicans. Talk about cooking the books.

    October 12, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  19. Travelgrl

    Biden clearly won so you must have just polled Republicans

    October 12, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  20. Poohbie613

    Funny... I can find the Poll on CNN... hmmm. Go VP Biden!

    October 12, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  21. Tom

    Biden took Ryan to the woodshed.

    October 12, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  22. Kevin

    Biden shot himself in the foot with his smirks and laughs. Came across as condescending and rude. That does NOT play well with independents like myself. I'd give Ryan the victory, just based on the fact that he has some common decency, and didn't descend into the gutter with Biden.

    October 12, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  23. Dumbpolitics

    You can call it disrespect but I would rather in a debate have someone cut in with the truth than let a person keep Lying all the time. VP Biden did that, speak the truth.

    October 12, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  24. excuse-me

    Biden and the moderator both pushed Ryan for details on a variety of issues – and he simply could not deliver!
    While one can debate Biden's style, there's no debating the fact that he made his case and stupefied Ryan

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  25. usmc1999

    cnn is desperate, you are right about one thing....Biden is barely qualified to mop a floor.

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