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. Scott

    Not for the middle class

    October 12, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  2. OhYeahISaidIt

    Are the Koch brothers hiring to "vote" in these polls?

    October 12, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  3. em

    Biden did not disappoint. Buffoon all the way and very very disrepectful and condenseding. He looked like the cat in Alice in Wonderland with the huge grin and teeth. Biden lied, Biden was disresectful and Biden did not know the facts or chose to ignore them. In spite of his disturbing cheschire cat grin Ryan still won the debate so going forward, and I do hate that word, romney will get yet another boost

    October 12, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  4. atari2600

    Biden won and came off as sincere...Ryan's closing statement smacked of a used car salesman asking me, "what do i have to do to close this sale today?"

    October 12, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  5. Shannon

    Biden won! He was confident, stable, and genuine.

    October 12, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  6. Jen

    Biden looked like an angry drunk.

    October 12, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  7. Kris Day

    I thought Ryan showed he and Romney want to work in a bipartisan manner to get the economy back on track. VP Biden in contrast seemed arrogant in his demeanor towards Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  8. tn

    Got sick & tired of watching that laugh & the interruptions. Nothing professional about that.

    October 12, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  9. Donna

    Biden slammed Ryan, and he was clearly better at discussing foreign policy.

    October 12, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  10. childonias

    Joe Biden was the clear winner. CBS did a scientific poll of 431 undecided voters for their instant poll and found that 50% picked Biden as the winner, and only 31% thought Ryan won.

    October 12, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  11. Rachel

    Funny....this doesn't jive with the other polls I have seen. Biden clearly dominated. As for his smirking.....thats what happens when you lie to Joe.

    October 12, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  12. Byan

    Ryan had a the facts. Biden was just rude. All the polls say the same.

    October 12, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  13. lyn

    CNN, I find that you are bias,Looking at CNN through out the debate Joe Biden was the clear WINNER, Ryan never answer the questions, I listen to David Gergen with hate for Biden & Obama said that Ryan win, he is a Republicans so I don't except him to say anything good about Biden but hate. I don't know where you people get these numbers from, All I know that Biden was the true WINNER. It will be a good thing for you CNN to stop campaigning for the Republicans. and be fair to both sides, you are wrong tonight saying that Ryan this lier won the debate.

    October 12, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  14. lenka

    to anybody who has any sanity left it is clear who won this debate, the person of substance and character here is Joe Biden. The only role that Paul Ryan can audition for is the main character in "Fifty Shades of Grey" – he would be good to chain down the whole middle class
    I don't trust the CNN news anymore , why should I, media is owned by the top 1% isn't it ?

    October 12, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  15. carmine

    No surprise. Everyone I've talked to has said that Biden was condescending and his smirk was just plain creepy. DemoRats love him obviously, but then, they love Chavez too.

    October 12, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  16. Michael James Newport

    Biden won, but not by the margin that Romney won the presidential debate. So far the Dems are in the minus column. Watch em both bring out the knives for the next debate. Ooh lala, I'm getting excited!

    October 12, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  17. Robert

    I think Joe Biden deliberately set out to trash this debate with his rude, obnotious behavior.I give the victory too Paul Ryan for his inteligent, thoughtfull answers, in spite of the rude disruptive jerk Joe Biden.

    October 12, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  18. cc

    of course Biden. Everyone is dumbfoudned with these results.I had actually come here to vote Biden . This is robery i hope we dont have same stuff that happened to Gore happen again

    October 12, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  19. A. Howell

    What were you watching??? Biden was the winner! I din't know anyone who has a landline, I was not represented in your poll!

    October 12, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  20. Blah Blah

    Really??!!! What debate were they watching.....Ummmmm BIDEN totally wiped the floor with RYAN Who did you poll??

    October 12, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  21. Anonymous

    what ? Joe Biden won !!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  22. L. Huntley

    Overall I give it to Joe Biden... please who wants higher taxes and another war in the Middle east with American troops on the groiund not me do the Republicans!!

    October 12, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  23. Ekim Senoj

    How is a 48% to 44% poll a "split"? 50-50 is a SPLIT...damn, you people just can't help yourselves, can you?

    October 12, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  24. Rene

    msnbc said Biden won. So it must be true. LOL

    October 12, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  25. Louise Wilson

    You must have called all Republicans. Every poll I just counted on all the pages I looked at said Biden won. Except for two which were Republican non issue sites. Biden knocked Ryan out of the park. No one comes close to Biden on foreign affairs. Ryan does not have access to the Joint Chiefs. Ryan skirted around the economy with figures that cannot possibly add up according to economists. Biden raising the fact the the Supremes would overturn Roe vs. Wade should have shook up every woman in America. You have the worst poll in your history of polling.

    October 12, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
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