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. norahs18

    for real? Biden as awesome

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

    Biden was disrepectful and brought the least amount of substance to the debate. Ryan was respectful and called out the Obama presidency for its failures. I really enjoyed the moderators bi-partisan approach unlike Mr Lehrer in the first presidential debate

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  3. Jazz

    Honestly CNN…. I really don't have any clue where these numbers would have come from

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  4. kathy

    Paul Ryan did a great job–Biden was rude, & disrespectful!!! Paul Ryan was confident, cool, very imformative–got a lot of good blows in about a failed term. W!e can't take another 4 years of the same–we do not want a president that bows to our enemies,& appoligizes for us. The president has spent more than any president since ww2! $ 5 trillion ! He also got in how the president has not done his job, but was on The View instead of meeting with the leaqder of Israel!

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  5. Marena Groll

    I knew Vice President Biden had won by Ryan's third cup of water.

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  6. Bill

    It is not rude to interrupt someone who is misinforming or telling an outright lie. Biden would have been remiss to let Ryan continue.

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  7. Grid

    CNN is trying so hard to prove they are impartial, that it's costing their reporting. Ryan is full of it, and Biden smoked him out.

    October 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  8. Major Tom

    Biden clearly won.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  9. davidintel

    Joe Biden won easily, Ryan hurt Romney. Ryan wants to keep Americans fighting overseas instead of the troops we trained in Afghanistan defending their own country.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  10. Danio cal

    Biden destroyed Ryan!!

    October 12, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  11. John

    I really don't care both are far too liberal government money thiefs. I have already voted party line Libertarian.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  12. matken

    Darn it, I was hoping P Ry would wear a baseball cap backward. He looks so cool that way. 1990s cool.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Biden clearly won this debat even though he could have left the joker smile at home. I am wondering where CNN is getting these number from because it is not coming from Americans.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  14. Me

    Biden's behavior can be alternatively considered rude or folksy and conversational. Depends on how you view the format of the debate.

    The takeaway from this debate is the single sound byte that's going to survive: "malarkey."

    October 12, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  15. Mark In NY

    Does a poll of 381 people really reflect a decent sample? Seemed to me and anyone I know that Biden clearly won. Is CNN becoming the new Fox news? Skewed stories, chanding poll numbers. Makes me wonder.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  16. Mike

    EPIC FAIL CNN. Biden won!!!!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  17. ninevegetable

    Biden absolutely completely pulverized Ryan. Anyone who didn't see that, didn't see the debate.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  18. MDs20

    Wait, Karm99, did you just suggest that checking social media would present a fair representation of the views of the American public? This is an election, not the jersey shore or real housewives. Get a clue.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  19. CanterburyRT

    No contest - the victory was Biden's tonight!!!

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

    Funny how with some folks on here, Biden was somehow rude because he was aggressive and called Ryan on his BS.. but yet Romney was wonderful being just as agressive, as well as a liar.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  21. Joe V

    BIDEN ...ALL THE WAY !!! Not even close!

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

    You believe the CBS poll if you like Biden. I don't so I will choose to believe CNN. Can anyone imagine that man as president. Oh my gosh what a nightmare.

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  23. Charlie

    CNN has lost my respect......I am a Republican and even I could see that Biden won on the facts and no Republican can argue Biden's respect in Congress, with the Military and with our allies abroad. Yes, Bidens a Dem, but he WON the debate in our view 3 to 1. Ryan did ok brand new to politics, but he is NO statesman like Biden. We used to consider CNN neutral on the positions, but for some reason they do seem to be leaning Republican....I just wish it was not so obvious. CNN report the news and leave the opinions to the viewers!

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  24. kcnmule

    The first debate obama must have been with his chum gang before doing some really good herb, and biden from the way he acted must have hit a couple irish pubs on the way. But I dont blame them, after 4 yrs in the white house and the record they have as far as helping the american people and making sure their foreign policy was intact so our soldiers are getting slaughtered, I'd escape reality 2. start packing boys your party is over!!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  25. Martin

    The Mad Dog Vice President was definately more polished than President Obama was with his substance, whether or not you believe it or not. As far as a winner is concerned, I would have to give the nod to the less debate experienced Ryan. He was much more polite, professional, and less disruptive when his counterpart was speaking, and that condescending smile on the split screen made Biden look like a fool in my opinion. The bottom line here is that Mr Ryan definately held his own with the more experienced Biden and the Romney team is probably very pleased with his performance. The moderator Raddatz did seem to be somewhat biased towards Biden in allowing his continued interruption of Congressman Ryan. Who would you rather have sitting a heart beat away as your President? Ryan or Biden?

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