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. Platonymous

    The real question is what was the point of the undefined, meaningless graph of undecided voters?

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  2. gk

    CNN is paid by energy companies (oil and coal). I asked them to cover the recent article in Science Magazine on how BP goes with lawyers after scientists, but instead they cover Bengazi. Clearly Biden won – how could he respond to a liar.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  3. admin

    The CNN poll seems to have no connection to any other responses I've heard, on TV, on Twitter, on Facebook, on other polls. What planet did you poll? This particular election is happening on Earth. Maybe you should focus on that.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  4. sls1979

    The 48% that CNN polled must have all been in Mississippi, lol. Because even the R's on my FB Page is saying that Biden won. The CBS Poll seems a lot more accurate than the CNN Poll.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  5. CwinTucson

    Its pretty clear to me that Biden won. Ryan seems less and less qualified.

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  6. bud88

    all dems. want to do have the worker man pay for the lazy people out there

    October 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  7. DCPaul

    Amazing...we we watching the same debate? Biden wiped Ryan, checked and counter checked him. Who is CNN polling...really? I should have known. Even before the so called polls came out, Wolf and his talking heads said it was a draw. Come on people, it was not a draw..I'm now switching to watching PBSand MSNBC. There is no impartiality on CNN

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  8. Me

    Not true. Biden won. Is this part of desperate opinion manipulation?

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  9. dave

    Yeah buddy! Good job tonight Ryan!

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  10. Seth

    CNN always over-sample Republicans and when they say Independents, they really mean Republican leaning Independents, they admitted that after the Presidential debate, during their panel discussion, where David Gergen challenged them and Wolf and John King admitted that they over-sample Republicans.

    So, just ignore CNN polls, they are not balanced properly.

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  11. ggirl

    NO WAY RYAN WON... he couldn't even answer the "HOW?" question,,, HOW is he going to fund his projects??? His knowledge was dwarfed by Bidens... ridiculous!!!! AND HE CAN KEEP HIS RELIGION TO HIMSELF.... IT DOESN"T DICTATE MY RIGHTS!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  12. viewer4

    Biden won this debate. Listen again. He started slow and awkwardly, but came on strong when talking about foreign policy (THE WARS), a woman's right to choose, working class distress, social security, and the wisdom of medicare. I am an independent & Biden was better.

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  13. Lilly

    Biden behaved and defended himself like a normal person not like some fake stuck up snot who had no answer for Biden. When u know u r correct u would act the same dam way! He didn't curse or yell or hit ryan he simply showed how passionate he was. There ain't nothing wrong with how he stood up for himself! CNN and journalist can suck it! I'd rather have someone who is normal then fake!

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  14. Aguster

    "middle class has been buried the last four years” Biden was a laughing jack A$$! Completely disrespectful and was simply rude and as usual factually WRONG...

    BIDEN, when asked who would pay more taxes in Obama's second term: "People making a million dollars or more."

    THE FACTS: Obama's proposed tax increase reaches farther down the income ladder than millionaires. He wants to roll back Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making over $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000.

    BIDEN: "We went out and rescued General Motors."

    THE FACTS: Actually, the auto bailout of General Motors and Chrysler began under President George W. Bush. The Obama administration continued and expanded it.

    BIDEN: "What we did is, we saved $716 billion and put it back, applied it to Medicare."

    THE FACTS: Contrary to Biden's assertion, not all the money cut from Medicare is going back into the program in some other way. The administration is cutting $716 billion over 10 years in Medicare payments to providers and using some of the money to improve benefits under the program. But most of the money is being used to expand health care coverage outside of Medicare.

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  15. AFox

    Biden won! Way to go Joe!

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  16. Mike20TK

    I was on the fence waiting to see the other two remaining debates, but having seen the rwo already contested; and in particular, the lack of respect by Joe Biden (who I've normally liked) to Representative Ryan, I will vote for Mitt Romney. Is this how Joe Biden would act in negotiations with foreign heads of state if he were to be President? Not the guy I want to potentially be our President if, God forbid, something were to happen to the current President! I don't care what polls say; I can make my own choice!

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  17. Martin Miskowski

    The moderater was good at the start, questioning the Libya situation, but after that her questions were tougher toward Ryan and not even, but when have we ever not had a liberal moderater in a debate? I believe if Biden would have behaved like he did toward the end I would have called it even. However his condescending, sarcastic, way over done creepy smiling i believe lost him points with independants. Because of Biden's borish behavior I say Ryan edged him out and won over more undecided than Biden did. I am sure the liberal base loved Biden because most libs like that type of behavior.

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  18. Gretta

    Biden definitely hit it out of the part tonight! This poll result seems very fishy to me.

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  19. DCBorn

    There ya go Joe!!! :D Paul Ryan was calm and collected and coached. Joe Biden was cool, well educated, and showed his experience in the job. Not even close. It was like a father talking to a hard headed child. GO JOE!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  20. batmanroxus

    Ryan nailed it. Anyone who thought Biden won must not understand what a debate is.

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  21. Up North

    CNN, look at all these posts and then give your head a shake. Where's the integrity of what was once considered one of the biggest networks in the world. Did Ryan pay you guys off? This was a no-contest and, secretly, I think you know it.
    The VP took it, hands down.

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  22. Latonya

    I loved it Ryan was on his heels looking like a fish out of water!!!!!!!!!!!!OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  23. Michael Gonzalez

    “The emperor has no clothes” Obama and Biden have both now laid the goose eggs in their respective debates. Ryan has class even if you don’t agree with him. What clowns the current administration has made of themselves. All you Kool-Aid drinkers can keep thinking that you are winning, but you are in for a rude awakening on Election Day even if all the illegal, dead, felons, pets, and multiple voting voters vote for these idiots. Even the current CNN poll shows Ryan winning the debate. Keep lying to yourselves if you want to; it’s over.

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  24. Mikey

    Really CNN? I like you but your polling data sucks. The debate your poll participants watched is not the same one I watched.

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  25. Karmise

    Biden totally won!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
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