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. mrpopular

    Ryan won ... and with class.

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  2. Ron

    I'm not sure who they're polling. Ryan did NOT look like he had a command of anything other than his water glass.

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  3. OweBummer_WPOAT

    Biden performance was disgraceful and child like, typical of the current administration. Ryan handled himself like the leader that he is. OweBummer is toast, thank god.

    WPOAT – Worst President of All Time

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  4. jose

    im a republican and a romnry supporter , buuuuttt biden won sorry

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  5. slappymagoo

    381 people on a phone poll represents the nation? With a +/- MoE of 5%? 381?
    Derp.

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  6. Shiraz

    I was disappointed in Joe Biden he came out very blunt very anxious and very aggressive and looked bad for the Demc I still hope Obama still wins

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  7. Name Neutral

    Biden was defensive!

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  8. Claudio

    Malarkey!!! Biden won.

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  9. rochrist

    So the lead is that Ryan, and then buried in the story it notes that the poll was mostly Republicans. Then the last sentence in the story points out that among uncommitted voters Biden won 50-31. Agenda pushing much here? You know, you aren't gonna get to be Fox, no matter how hard you try. You just end up a laughingstock.

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  10. Saffrondog

    BTW – Let us not turn into Republicans and suggest that every poll we don't like is biased. The poll guys just do what they do. But CNN do not post this post my last post until you post what is subject to "moderation" whatever that means. I really hate that.

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  11. really??

    people are deciding to vote romney/ryan because Biden smirked??? You mean , you're ok with them gutting medicare, soc security, taxing the middle class more sucking up to the rich with their tax cuts and starting another war in the middle east because Biden smirked in the debate??????????? Really? REALLY???? God help us all!!

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  12. Paul Ryan

    Biden Nailed me!! I was clueless and drank lots of water...besides, I was holding my Pee for long time. I thought Martha would scold me if I asked for bathroom break. I just kept quite and drank more water.....Mommy ahhh i need some cheese.

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  13. ColdDude

    Biden mopped the floors of that auditorium with Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  14. Norman G. Kirkendall

    CNN and those undecided Virginia people must have lost their brains. It was obvious that VP Joe Biden had great answers for Paul Ryan who much of the time looked befuddled or searching for answers. V.P. Biden particiapted in many conversations that Paul Ryan or Romney were not included so it doesn't Take genius to realize VP Biden was the one telling the truth. V.P. Biden mentioned Grover Norquist and he is sooo right that republicans who made pledges to Norquist rather than the American people is the reason President Obama couldn't do better in his first term and that won't change unless we get those representatives who made pledges out of office and you are hopefully smart enough to know Romney and Ryan are 2 of the 97% of republicans who signed these idiot pledges.

    October 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  15. MarkATL

    Well, well, well... Looks like Biden had Ryan for LUNCH on that debate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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

    Are you kidding me? Where did you get the responses from. How could you say that that incompetent petulant guy won the debate. I completely agree with the person above who said CNN is losing credibility. Biden took aclean sweep at Run. I can't even call his name. Disgusting!

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

    How can a two choice poll have results with percentages whose sum is greater than 100%?

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

    I watched CNN during the debate. CNN is busted – a reporter interviewed a woman who they announced thought Ryan won and she corrected the interviewer. Clearly a republican slant now with CNN – not quite as bad as Faux news but very noticeable. I googled who won the vp debate and most news outlets reported polls indicating Biden won by a huge amount. I also notice CNN crews mocking Biden for being condescending – when that defined Romney in his debate with Obama. I guess CNN is no longer factual news with respect to politics. Wolf cannot contain himself when it comes to his pro-Romney slant. Very sad, I used to think this the most moderate of the news outlets.

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  19. PC

    I had to cover Biden's half of my screen bc his childish antics were so disruptive. You'd think with all his experience he would know by now how to control himself. Ryan did a much better job of keeping his cool and being respectful throughout the debate, qualities that I would want in a president. Biden's bafoonery has cost his party dearly. As an independent I'm clearly leaning to Romney/Ryan.

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

    We'll wait and see who wins the election but CNN has lost it already!!

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  21. Leslie

    Biden wasn't disrespectful...that was ROMNEY last debate. He answered the questions and facts....BIDEN won hands down. CNN who and the heck did you poll.

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

    The image that will never leave my mind from this debate is of Smirkin' Joe. It is hard to take this guy seriously.

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  23. cmnsenz

    I agree Ryan was courteous. A courteous liar. Biden was easily. Who are these 381 people?

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  24. jon

    Ryan held back to much. Should have jumped all over the "get out of the way" statements by Biden...he wants GOP to get out of the way...says a lot about trying to work across the isle.

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  25. p_anaya75

    Ryan won. Biden was good for calling names and gave no facts.

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
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