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. April

    Biden –can you say dementia–boys and girls--he either forgot about voting yes for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan–or he lied!

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  2. BeverlyNC

    Biden won decisively. Ryan was in over his head on foreign policy. He also told women he will work to overturn Roe v Wade. Biden showed Ryan what character and integrity in a true VP looks like and that facts matter. Ryan is already being called out by fact checkers for the lies he told. Biden was found to have told the total truth. Trust is everything in leadership. That is only found with President Obama and VP Biden. Romney and Ryan can't tell the truth on anything. We saw lyin' Ryan again tonight. We also saw Ryan spitting out robotic numbers someone just taught him this week. He obviously knows nothing about Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iran and would not rule out war. Ryan showed the nation how destructive the Ryan budget and the Romney lies are to America.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  3. Klw

    Yeah well CBS's flash poll said Biden won by 19 points. It's just as scientific as your poll.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  4. tb

    End of the day Biden speaks his mind and tells his own opinion. Ryan seems to tell and sell talking points. I thought Biden won on substance and his obvious ability to debate the issues and answer the questions asked. It was a debate right? Not a likability performance race/game. I don't support Ryan being in the #2 position of the United States because he talks around the issues and feeds us talking points based in his religion and conservative opinions. As the current and past administrations should point out, you can never promise anything you "will do" while in office, things change all to quickly and I want someone who speaks their mind and that same mind is an open mind.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  5. AT

    It wasn't close!!!!! Biden exposed Romney/Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Ryan’s performance tonight was exemplary. Can’t wait to see Romney manhandle Obama next week.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  7. Mireya

    When Biden laughed while Paul Ryan was talking about the ambassador and servicemen who were viciously murdered in Libya, I felt a creepy sensation running up my spine.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  8. PMB

    Biden's rudeness and disrespect has affected both my opinion and probable vote. I for one wanted to hear what Ryan had to say. Biden's theatrics were a distraction. Although I don't agree with everything Ryan had to say, he came off as the more sincere and serious individual!

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  9. @EmperorAndoe

    How far you've fallen in a few short years, CNN. Pitiful and meaningless.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  10. waltz

    Biden lied on Libya and administration plans fopr the econopmy and debt. That gives the edge to Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  11. Kim

    CNN loses all credibility. You are no better than Fox News. Your own poll shows Biden 62 Ryan 38. Twist the facts and spin it all you want but Biden clobbered Ryan tonight regardless of your fake poll numbers.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  12. Up North

    CNN, when did you lose your way? Biden won hands down over the overgrown schoolboy

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  13. RissyTheppard

    Bidden won. Ryan laughable.

    October 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  14. Larry

    Biden would have polled much better if they would have only called people with free government phones! This is in response to someone earlier posting that these polls tend to poll landlines and that leans republican. Liberal = excuses

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

    Biden – big mouth, rude, disrespectful, and most of all embarrassing.

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  16. mala23

    I agree with Mike in NV. CNN does no longer look like a network of impartial journalists. They appear to be Center-Right at best if not farther Right. Biden did not say a single incorrect thing in the debate whereas Ryan's answers were as hollow as throughout their campaign. Their strategy is, talk like a PowerPoint presentation and all their lies will appear like truths, which unfortunately works on some people who don't read anything other than the tabloids. You would think that CNN journalists are better than that since they know the facts and even publish them. Shame on CNN reporting.

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

    so sick of cnn S0 bias against Obama and Biden!

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

    No Biden won he wasn't polite but he took Ryan on Point by point.

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  19. Name. Hanna

    Biden won CNN .. I don't know where you get this % and stop taking a side:(

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  20. I think

    In my humble opinion Biden looked grumpy and misguided. Ryan was respectful, level-headed, informed, and intelligent.

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  21. Nobull4U

    Too bad Biden is not the president. He is not at all vacillatory like Obama.

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  22. PHinMiami

    Ryan's last question about what to tell the serviceman about negative ads was answered with a compilation diatribe of all that is wrong. Why he wasn't he called out on it? Instead, he was allowed to spew his own agenda.

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  23. tphubby

    How about you all quit crying and complaining about how Biden treated Ryan (I bet you same people weren't complaining about how Romney did the President), and focus on the FACTS.

    CNN just refuted like 3 things Ryan stated as FALSE. Just like Romney, he makes statements to try to appeal to the American people, but they are just LIES. He lied about his plan for tax cuts (it was just refuted you couldn't take 20% tax cuts across the board AND keep deductions for the middle class)...he lied about Medicare...I mean, seriously, how much more lying will the American people take and then say "I think he did a good job composing himself and debating". WHO CARES!!!??? This country can be so gullible.

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  24. starr

    Joe put a bruising on that young whupper snapper. Make no mistake about it joe did his thing tonight. Very proud of our vp.

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Paul Ryan did win.. he was clear (up until interruption every 3 minutes by Biden) Moderator had a hard time being open and non judgmental. Biden got through by snickering, laughing and scaring senior citizens.

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