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. cmnsenz

    Ryan 48%. Biden 44%. Margin of error 48%.

    October 12, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  2. ouisee

    You are right. CNN is going too "FOXY" for me. We need a truer and less bias station. I have lost respect for them. Everyone I talk to says Biden won the debate. I guess this is to punish the President for his poor performance. I think I will just stop watching that right ring station. Anyway, the rich keep winning and the poor keep wining. Somebody get out there and vote for a platform that wants to help the masses.

    October 12, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  3. Bob Mayes

    The audience was tilted toward Ryan. It states that in the margin of error. I don't believe the home audience is even close to the being off by 4%. I think Biden took the whole thing. I guess its how much CNN gets in MILLIONS of dollars from Karl Rove and others to make you think otherwise. We definitely need to get rid of all the SUPER PACS!

    October 12, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  4. BeverlyNC

    Hello CNN – CBS polls show Biden winning 55% to 39% for Ryan. Maybe you should use more than landlines which most voters no longer have in their homes.
    Biden's facial expressions were generous to Ryan who was LYING and Biden was conveying to the audience Ryan was once again lying when he could not answer a question. Ryan showed he knew nothing about foreign policy except numbers he memorized the day before. He also told women he and Romney will take away the rights of women...will take away the choice of women and overturn Roe v Wade. Better go vote women unless you want to lose 40 years of your rights. Go Biden – hold these two non-people candidates accountable for their destructive to America plans!

    October 12, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  5. Tierney

    Not relgious at all but I hope Romney wins!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  6. HopingforAChange

    Biden came across as an arrogant clown. Those of you that love to call Republicans liars need to pull out your fact-checkers on Mr. Biden. After all, He says he "means what he says".

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  7. Anonymous

    CNN its sad to see your demise...

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  8. Loop

    Joe Biden was so rude tonight.

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  9. sxs

    Finally some leadership and holding Ryans feet to the fire on the facts

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  10. Michelle

    Biden was a laughing stock...literally. Is he on drugs??...Ryan gave the most concise, fact based answers without a doubt. Ryan won, hands down.

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  11. admin

    I really want to know more about this "poll." I don't believe the numbers represent a random sampling of registered voters, and I think it therefore has little or no value.

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  12. Minnie

    Which debate were you watching? Even your TWITTER poll said Biden won by 60-40% margin. Liars!

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  13. klang

    Biden cleaned his clock, just because he was more forceful does not make him rude Ryan was lying all over the place and it was Joe's right to call him every last time!

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  14. irenaschulz

    Joe won the debate without question.

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  15. momforromney

    Biden's smirking and interrupting really made him look like an idiot. Ryan was respectful, direct, and much more presidential....Biden was RUDE!

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  16. richard

    GO BIDEN GO OBAMA amercica has no clue how evil mitt and paul are htey are totally lieing there guna create ww3 u just watch and see and the when america gets bombed theyre goin gto blame it on iran and then start a war and make money off it

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  17. John Gault

    Biden behaved like a bully idiot. Ryan won. Would you want Biden to be your president after this awful behavior. I hope BO thinks it is a good idea to act like this. It will seal the Romney will. Independents don't like interrupting and bulling. Joe interrupted Ryan 82 times.

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  18. p_anaya75

    Biden did nothing but snicker and laugh and when he got upset he called it malarky. He did nothing but talk during his time and Ryan's time. And Ryan being a gentleman would allow it.. I just wish Ryan would've spoke up and not allowed it. But it is true about medicare soon enough providers are no longer going to accept medicare. And I just wish some people would do some open minded research into how well government run medical is going in Canada & Europe. Europe is about bankrupt and Canadians are waiting months if not years to visit their doctors, that's unless u can pay cash for services at the time of visit or have an independent insurance that I am sure only the wealthy can afford. Because private medical insurance has become like gold and so prices went way up.

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  19. Twang

    Despite your little poll, Joe Biden indisputably came out on top in this debate, with a superior command of the facts.

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  20. slimedawg

    biden one this one hands down!

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  21. Intouchwithreality

    After glancing at all 5 pages of posts, I have come to the conclusion that mindless little obamabots, probably unemployed, heads full of mush young'ens, possibly still in school, wasting their time obviously. Little do they know that four more years of more of the same will put their future lives in the proverbial toilet. Rock on dummies!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  22. Nada1472

    Why were a third of the people included in the poll independents–they don't make up that large a percentage of the electorate and generally vote Republican but are too reasonable to admit it in public.

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  23. Tanner

    This is what we're reduced to. Democrats, instead of debating the issues, choose to act like juveniles and rudely interrupt their opponent. Ryan wasn't overly impressive either. Neither party is going to solve our problems.

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  24. SararhTN

    Clearly these results are not accurate at all cnn is starting to look a lot like fox a bunch of liars. Biden Clearly outshined ryan................ Obama Biden

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Ryan held his own & with grace. Definitely earned much respect. Biden was rude & disrespectful to Ryan & the viewers who were straining to hear the answers to the questions asked by the moderator.

    October 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
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