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. Stopthemadness

    Biden won. Ryan danced in circle repeated the same phrases of goals with no plans Offered up suggestion of more American men and women dead in war. Biden stopped him several times, people call it rude. I call it stopping the lies before they go any further.

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  2. matken

    I was hoping P Ray would wear a baseball cap backwards (like in Time). He looks so cool that way. 1990s cool, but cool.

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  3. indy voter

    Joe Biden came off as rude, disrespectful of Ryan, the moderator, and the American people by constantly interrupting and talking over Ryan so much that "We the People" could not hear Ryan's answers. Big Mouth Biden did exactly what he was programmed to do, and that was, sabotage the debate so Ryan had less time to speak.

    Ryan on the other hand stuck to the issues, was very respectful to Biden, not only because it is common courtesy, but he seems to be a young man who respects their elders...

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  4. Dennis Caelian

    Style won over substance 4years ago. I pray Americans aren't that blind this time around. I believe Obama has a good heart, but if he wins this election and continues this direction, America WILL NOT stand in the next 4 years. The promises of hope and change were false. I can't recall America looking this weak, frail and on the verge of collapse on the world stage. We here in Canada wish you all luck.

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  5. Maryam

    I think joe win the debate. Joe made Ryan cried

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  6. Ramsack

    Are you guys kidding me...biden could hardly get out anything in a response, pausing, misspeaking. Ryan was more on point and answered any questions about him being able handle himself while biden interrupted him and tried to un-nerve him with his rude tactics.

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  7. mr.m

    Yeah not sure who they polled for this but Biden was the clear winner. Ryan looked stiff and sounded like a commercial. Biden spoke with passion. I don't think he was any ruder than Romney was in the 1st debate. Ryan to me did not sound believable. Strictly policy, Obama/Biden sounded realistic. Romney/Ryan sounded plausible but not convincing. I think the next pres debate is going to be huge for both sides!

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  8. Dan

    Joe Biden Clearly won, I'm not sure who this poll represents...

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  9. JustMe

    What? LIberals having trouble accepting that a poll shows Ryan won?

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  10. David Morrow

    CNN just lost all credibility for me. Although he was pompous and ignorant at times, this was clearly Biden's night. Stop carrying out these polls in your coffee room.

    October 12, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  11. Adam

    CNN trying to stay relevant?

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  12. missmeyet0420

    If I knew about this poll I would've voted, but I guess the 30 other million young people like myself are discussing how great BIDEN did tonight on facebook not CNN. Interestingly Mitt Romney has 9 million facebook followers to Obama's 30 million. And honestly I cannot keep up with the comments!

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Joe Biden was very rude and disrespectful.

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  14. phil 867

    Biden won. He didn't do like Obama and let Ryan get away with making up lies. And then Ryan when he knew he was in trouble tried to make Mitt look like a saint because he helped somebody. Funny he didn't care about all the people he put out of work.

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  15. Anonymous

    I'm an independent (swing) voter and found Biden to be the winner of this debate. He gave FACTS and answered the questions much more directly than Ryan. Ryan truly doesn't understand foreign policy - he needs to do his homework!

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  16. Tom huynh

    Ryan is polite, Biden is rude

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

    CNN, You blew it tonight! You're no longer impartial or unbias.....YOU'RE FOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  18. phili

    lol. all these apoplectic Dems pawing over Biden. Get real. America wants fresh vitality, not has-been smiley faces.

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  19. Joe

    Great poll CNN: you sampled 33 percent republicans, 31 percent Dems. Shocker result. Check out how independents viewed this one: Biden won big

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  20. JG11

    This was worst VP debate I have ever seen.... Biden's demeanor was awful; he is a loose cannon and the moderator couldn't control this debate. Biden did not do Obama any favors tonight.

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  21. RocMan

    Right wing sites are posting to come to this poll just to sway the results because they saw Biden ahead 66%-34%. Dont take what you see on here too seriously. Think they know Ryan lost. My conservative friends are saying Ryan acted like Obama did in the last debate and didn't step it up.

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  22. Planner922

    I don't know where you found your "undecided" audience, but until Biden caught out Ryan on his mistake about wanting to send more Americans into East Afghanistan, there were all FOR Ryan.
    The only other time the audience didn't like Ryan was when he refused to say we didn't have to worry about Roe v. Wade if Romney/Ryan were elected.

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  23. Jim in Kentucky

    I thought Biden controlled the debate, but that smirk made him extremely unlikeable. It began to become extremely annoying. I don't know if others felt as I, but he seemed rude, and condescending. The laughter came at odd times. It was as if he were high on medication. It was one of those manic kind of things when all of a sudden you think this person is nuts. My wife was even more harsh. She said she wanted to wipe the smirk off of his face. She is an independent voter. I guess Mr. Biden did not impress her. She left the room, and went to bed. Neither scored a win. I can see SNL making Biden look like a fool though. He gave the comedians plenty of ammunition.

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  24. Maryam

    Your poll is wrong. Joe win

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  25. fhwilson429

    CNN as a member of the DNC wants to call 48 Ryan 44 Biden a draw.

    Only on CNN. They are dishonest, unfair and biased.

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
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