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. Gabrielle

    I was very disappointed with Biden's behavior and responses in the debate and am truly appalled that such a person is our Vice President. I am voting for Romney-Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  2. dave j

    Biden is unhinged, even if he had anything to say, his behavior made me cringe. To think any adult and especially the VP of America would act like he was on some trash reality tv show like Springer, etc.makes me wonder if he is not truly unhinged.

    October 12, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  3. TMorri

    VP Biden reacting to and catching Mr. Ryan in down right lies is not "rude", "unbaffling", nor "un-presidential". It's about time the President & VP start catching and calling out the opposing parties manipulations. And again, Mr. Ryan would not give direct answers to their economic agenda. Tisk tisk. VP Biden won this debate tonight.

    October 12, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  4. CAB51

    Agree with the poll, Ryan won!
    Biden came across as almost senile or mental with is constant grinning and face making, definately not as someone who would be in leadership of a great nation.

    October 12, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  5. Just Sayin'

    Biden proves time and again– including this debate with his mannerisms and reactions (being borderline immature) giving him away– that he is not smart enough to know how dumb he is. Ask yourself: Is this a guy I feel comfortable being president, being a heartbeat away?

    October 12, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  6. Anonymous

    re open the polls, faux news.

    October 12, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  7. Anonymous

    I don't know who owns CNN Politics but the best debater wasn't Ryan. He looked much more ruffled than many of his fellow admirers are willing to admit

    October 12, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  8. OhMy

    CNN has two polls going on. Go to the home page and down to the bottom right. Joe's winning 2 to 1

    October 12, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  9. LibsHateFacts

    Ryan 48 % Biden 44% And this is on a liberal news site. More bad news for the Obama sheep. Time for the sheep to give their excuses–Bush, racism, Big Bird. LOL

    October 12, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  10. BriiLeigh

    Everybody go to the home page of cnn.com right now and scroll to the bottom, the poll is on the bottom right, vote!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  11. spitsfire

    BIDEN!!!

    Holy smokes.. What a BEAT down. Sorry young boy.

    October 12, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  12. zach

    Seemed pretty obvious Paul Ryan won. I was on the fence but after watching the president and vice president debate is seems romney and ryan have a better vision on the future. Most things I have read show a draw. I feel biden was j ust a little slow and inconsistant. ryan was precise and to to the point.

    October 12, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  13. Whowon?

    Clearly Biden won! Stop fooling yourselves over some inkling of a response.
    No doubt why viewership is decreasing.
    Really CNN? Really?

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  14. richard

    sigh i totally feel sorry for the american people who trust these liars paul and mit do you guys not realize they will be the cause of WORLD WAR 3 and kill th ecomony. bush destroyed the country for 8 YEARS iteraly took it back to the great depression in 4 years of obamas reign HOW CAN YOU FIX EVERYTHING. TIME WILL TELL GIVE OBAMA THE NEXT 4 YEARS or americas i doomed i will put m money on it.

    and screw cnn there so dumb on hte poolls everyone noes biden won what was cnn doing taking republicans phon calls only ?

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  15. Zallen

    What a Joke CNN! 381 registered voters makes a poll? What a travesty on your part!

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  16. Caden

    Way a bunch if bias and propaganda by who I thought was moderate not anymore. You guys just seem to get more and more conservative everyday

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  17. viewer999

    Biden totally won this ! What are these quotes by cnn ?

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  18. Chris L

    Amazing. I thought Joe Biden was real, honest, and reacted to the differences between the two campaigns. He told it like it is. I cannot believe that Ryan actually won (according to CNN). I think CNN is "pandering" to the GOP. About all the gestures from Biden, I just don't get it. Biden was being honest. He is appalled at what the GOP is putting out there. Will the middle class and elderly actually swallow this pill???

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  19. tina

    Decision is final : anyone who picked Biden as a heartbeat from the Presidency is a buffoon himself. I've been disappointed in Obama, have finally understood he really is an empty suit, and he sent Biden out there to throw State and our intelligence officers under the bus. Sounds familiar, this "throwing people under the bus" crap. I've learned my lesson.

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  20. Brutus

    Jeeze! My biased opinion is absolutely right and your obviously unbiased poll must be totally biased! I'm disappointed in you CNN for not agreeing with me...

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  21. Psssst, yes

    That is a crock. Biden TOTALLY won that one! Excuse me for saying so, but "With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey." HAHA

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  22. Sam

    I question the accuracy of your report. GO BIDEN
    CNN Quick vote
    Biden
    65%
    7186
    Ryan
    35%
    3823
    Total votes: 11009
    This is not a scientific poll

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  23. Anonymous

    400 people were polled, and you post this for other people to tweet about and reference? That's just irresponsible.

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  24. Mmoore

    CNBC's poll also has Ryan as the winner. Biden sure didn't score any points for laughing while Ryan talked about the Libya attack. Nor when he lost his temper and berated woman moderator. Sorry democrats but this debate helped Romney.

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  25. tryfixstupid

    Smiley Joe voted for Afganistan war and use of force in Iraq, what a liar!

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
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