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. farmgirl

    Joe was so rude, laughing, at everything, it made him look very disrespectful to everyone. Also interrupting didn't show very good manners

    October 12, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  2. greg

    CNN's poll above says that ryan won by four percent. Only CNN would call a 4% gop win a "toss up". Liberal media bias right here, folks. CNN probably would have even gone furher and givenBiden a clear win if anderson cooper didn't have such a schoolboy crush on Paul Ryan. LOL.

    October 12, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  3. Jean Behrens

    Biden won by a landslide. He knew is stuff, was gracious and instead of saying Ryan lied, he just smiled. Also, Biden was passionate about helping the Middle Class and letting women make their own decision on abortion issues. Was CNN watching a different debate or what?????

    October 12, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  4. Dobe

    Slam dunk, Biden!

    October 12, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  5. susa

    CNN is out of touch. To me it seems CNN lives in an altered reality, and does not care to peek into social media Joe Biden smoked little Ryan. I lost all respect for your network, you work to manipulate this election, and donot care to listen to the voice of the people, bye.

    October 12, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  6. Anonymous

    100% Joe Biden

    October 12, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  7. Mike Moriarty

    I'm done with CNN.

    October 12, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  8. Karen

    This poll makes no sense. Biden clearly won, no matter which party you're for. Ryan spouted generalizations like "We're going to crate more jobs" and "we've got a great economic plan but can't tell you what it is because we want bi-partisan support." Biden was loaded with facts and valuable experience. Republican groups must have people racing to websites to vote for Ryan. Watching live blogging and tweets, opinions overwhelmingly favored Biden. Fact checkers also called far more lies on Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  9. DB

    It was embarassing to see te VP act like a 5th grader constantly interrupting, smirking and laughing which showed nothing but disrepect and immaturity. We teach our kids to be respectful and not interrupt others when they are talking and for them to see this did nothing but continue to put the Dems farther back. If you wouldn't let your kid do it why would you vote for it?

    October 12, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  10. Chris

    There is a NBC poll that has Ryan (56%) up over Biden (36%) with 8% neither. Like the CBS I bet this poll was online. Personally I think most online polls are crap. While not completely accurate, phone polls are more random and more accurate than online.

    October 12, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  11. Jane

    Biden had several "senior" moments. He stumbled through his thoughts and at one point this comment made no sense,"And on top of that, they got another tax cut coming that’s $5 trillion that all of the studies point out will, in fact, give another $250 million dollar - yeah, $250,000 a year to those 120,000 families and raise taxes for people who are middle-income with a child by $2,000 a year. This is unconscionable. There is no need for this.". Huh? What were you trying to say Joe? And if you wanted to come off as a snobbish, rude, old dude. You hit the nail on the head tonight. Did it make you feel "powerfull"?

    October 12, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  12. Buster

    Biden won. Ryan looked stupid.

    October 12, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  13. rich

    Obama and Obiden can not win on their record. ...end of debate!

    October 12, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  14. Al

    There are lies, damn lies and statistics.
    Biden clearly showed that young whipper snapper a thing or two.
    GO FIGHT'IN JOE BIDEN!!

    BYE LY'IN PAUL RYAN!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  15. paperpushermj

    Lets be real people, by next week all that will be remembered of tonights debate is the guy with the White Teeth was a real Jerk.

    October 12, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  16. TIm

    Biden was an embarrassment. All he did was ask questions, and he answered none! He didn't even seem to take this seriously.

    October 12, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  17. marcparella

    Ryan did surprisingly well and got his points across effectively. As a registered Republican I am leaning towards Obama because Mitt flips too much. But Biden's petulant mannerisms were a turn off, and calling Ryan his friend was disingenuous. However I have to say the parties really don't offer much of a difference and the bickering is frustrating.

    October 12, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  18. Ken

    Why does that 381 matter? What about the rest of us?

    October 12, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  19. LRHinKC

    Ryan was well composed, courteous, and in control of factual information. The primary problem I saw in the debate was that the moderator failed to keep Biden in check. Biden interupted Ryan no less than 80 times and that laughing expression of his made him look childish. Biden was just spouting the same old negative crap that he is now famous for. Biden made more noise because he kept interupting, but he was just trying to draw attention away from his bosses lousy record. This country needs a change in the White House. Obama needs more time for golf and making beer.

    October 12, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  20. Cat

    The Dems wanted an attack dog and that is what they got. He was not Presidential and laughing during discussions of war was not even close to being appropriate. He may have thrown blue meat to the base, but he didn't score many likeability points with the undecideds and he definitely didn't change many ( if any) from Romney back to Obama.

    October 12, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  21. Trish Zeinert

    This is a sad commentary on our electorate: Biden acted like a horse's behind, laughing during serious issues, disrespectful of Ryan, smirking like an idiot, and the mocking was disturbing. Yet so many of you find that perfectly acceptable and I can't help but wonder if this type of behavior is what you consider traits of a winner.
    The left is constantly calling for civility but only from those that oppose them while they are intolerant, bigoted, dim witted, name calling, threatening, disgusting, and ignorant. I am embarrassed that our VP is lower than whale excrement on full display internationally. Little wonder the US has continually lost respect in the world. With leaders like Biden what else can be expected. BTW – Biden boasts of foreign policy experience, he failed to mention he has been wrong on every world event.
    Romney and Ryan will at least demand and receive the respect our country deserves. They are intelligent, educated, and good men. A team of leaders we can finally be proud of.
    Possibly, because of this historical divisiveness, the country would be best to split in two.

    October 12, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  22. Sandra Porter

    CNN, you must be trying to take Fox viewers away, but you just lost this one.

    October 12, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  23. MEB

    I think you must have been watching a different debate than I was. Biden was the clear winner.

    October 12, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  24. Lee

    I acknowledged that Gov Romney won the debate last week.......now in this debate.....the clear winner was Vice Pres Biden........cmon...Biden ate Paul Ryan's lunch..........fess up people.....we admitted the truth last week, now it's your turn to fess up...........Biden won by a landslide........end of story!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  25. Namepeter

    Ryan got schooled. That's it. You can say what you want, but he learned one more thing tonight. Am sure he feels it.

    October 12, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
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