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. Marty

    Paul Ryan, was that the premier for "Finding Nemo 2"?

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  2. Jackie

    Vice President Biden clearly won! He was candid, honest, and through. All criticism leveled at him should have is baseless. I can't believe he is being criticized for interrupting?! That's what Governor Romney did last week!

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  3. Bornfree09

    Ryan won. Biden disrespectful and unpresidential.

    October 12, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  4. Carol

    I thought Biden was adorable, in spite of what anyone says. He is really for the American middle class with all his heart and soul and i was so proud of him.

    October 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  5. dsjj251

    CNN , your instant poll was 33% republicans 31% democrats and 36% undecided/uncommitted. The national makeup of political break downs of this nation looks nothing like that.

    last week you did the exact same thing. it is getting to the point where I no longer trust CNN which is sad.

    October 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  6. Fred

    I think CNN is doing what all media markets are starting to do – they are trying to make this race appear closer than it really is so that they can pull in viewers. Look, I can't understand how anyone making less than $1 million a year thinks Romney & Co. have their best interests at heart. In reality, I think they will only achieve their votes by convincing a portion of the electorate that the real blame for their problems, whatever they may be, lies in the laps of those that make less than minimum wage. Anyone that has paid any attention at all to the process to date (which has lasted entirely too long – how many years ago did Romney start this campaign?) should be able to see that the President's agenda has remained fairly consistent, while Romney's has floundered from one end of the spectrum to the other depending on his audience. I can't seem to understand Romney's leadership strategy he's professing with his tax plan either – he's going to walk into a room with an idea, provide no input or direction, and let others figure out the details. I have an idea too – world peace – you guys figure it out... now THAT'S bipartisan leadership right there....

    October 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  7. Marc

    Biden rude???? He was awesome.....what about the GOP being rude even with the homeless and their own kind!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  8. iambicpentamaster

    Best line of the night: Ryan, looking at Biden, says "I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way."

    Brought down the house!

    October 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  9. ddf

    CBS News INSTANT POLL of Undecided Voters: Who won VP debate? BIDEN: 50% RYAN: 31% TIE: 19%

    October 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  10. Jen

    Of course Biden!!
    He is a bit criticized being annoing, but I fully understand his passion for our country and he had to stop Ryan when he was not telling the truth.

    October 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  11. SteveYo

    Biden destroyed Ryan with challenges and facts. Ryan was all hot air. CNN is totally biased.

    October 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  12. Sally

    As far as Biden smiling or as you so call snickering,Biden just could'nt believe what Ryan was saying, So he had to smile .Biden was just being nice because he could'nt tell him your full of Do Do.

    October 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  13. Undecided

    Democrat going republican this year... obama broke WAY too many promises.

    October 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  14. Name ALENORA

    CNN noa I know that you play around lies like Romney. Bidden won.. I have been trying to vote for him all night. But CNN takes me round in circles.. Shame on CNN..

    October 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  15. Texas

    I must comment on what some are calling rude behavior from Joe Biden. All of his reactions to Ryan were justified. When someone does not no the facts or flip flops. Joe biden must alert the American people anyway he can thru facial expressions/interrupting. Joe has to stand up too ryan and call him out. We the American people need and deserve to know that this Ryan guy is talking talk and way out of his league. You still till this date can't get straight answers from Romney /Ryan. These fellows scare me. PS CNN you right winger you, obvious with ur polling.

    October 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  16. laodegan

    The moderator was terrible. She never once stopped the constant interruption from Biden. Whether or not Biden made good points, he appeared childish and rude.

    October 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  17. dt

    WOW, a critical comment of CNN and it isn't being published. This news outlet has really gone down hill in a hurry.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  18. smahlz

    The question is simple – Did Joe Biden impress on-the-fence voters or turn them off. Guess what – tonight's and the next two debates aren't aimed at the 99% of us who have already decided. Ain't nothing gonna change our minds. But I seriously doubt Biden gained any new converts from the undecideds tonight.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  19. Mark

    I don't know how CNN does polling but it clearly looked like Biden schooled Mr. Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  20. suzie-q

    Being able to talk loudly over your opponent throughout a debate does not make you right...just rude.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  21. athena917

    CNN is losing credibility. I've noticed a change in the tone of your pundits lately, with Republicans being very prominent on your so called objective panels. I'm wondering whether your polling sample of so called undecided voters includes people who were once Republicans but have left the party due to the extremists yet still lean right. Sadly, I believe I will no longer watch CNN which seems to be evolving into Fox light. While I agree that Obama's performance last week was lackluster, the pundits praise of Romney's performance was unmerited. Likewise, little credit was given to Biden's very strong and sincere appeal to the American people's sense of fairness and justice vs the frat boy upstart who was clearly flustered when confronted with facts.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  22. anonymus

    Smh what does the poll of polls say, It was a good debate overall. Ryan was a boring, Biden was quite interesting

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  23. Anonymous

    I am so embarrassed by Biden. He is the second to last person I want to EVER represent the U.S.A, after Obama of course.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  24. Kilroywas here again

    Hmmm...What kind of poll was this? Biden killed Ryan...sorry.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  25. Jean Sartre

    Joe clearly knocked Lyin' Ryan out in the debate!

    Williard and the entire GOP are now busy attempting to change Ryan's diaper...

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
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