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. Broom B

    If we want America in wars again everyone can vote for meat n Derry . If you want a better country for tomorrow someone that he is in the interest of a better future of teachers, better education, better society, better technology, better life you for Obama. if you someone that cannot look back n remembered how we were 4 years before him then u vote to make it happen again. Meat looks like a good sells man that can deceives consumers to buy his vote and I saw the same thing on Ryan face. Biden was very calm while ryan was fighting with himself to answer most of the questions.

    October 12, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  2. 6969USCFAN6969

    Joe Biden was throwing haymakers for sure and landing them but the only thing I can remember is how rude he was. I thought Paul Ryan's closing statement was really good. I keep thinking how I would never want to work for Joe Biden and Paul Ryan seemed like a really nice guy. I'm also really baffled that Biden says he's a devote Catholic but he would treat somebody like that.

    October 12, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  3. kartman42

    I thought that it was great when Ryan finished slamming the stimulus, and Biden forced Ryan to admit that Ryan had sent two letters requesting stimulus money.

    October 12, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  4. chaparral

    i've always wandered who, were, and how do they, us and everyone take those damm polls....

    October 12, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  5. Gladys Crump

    My family and I missed the Pres. debate, but we caught this one tonight. We are a large family and all vote independent as we do not agree 100% with either Republicans or Democrats. The debate tonight convinced my entire family who we must vote for. Mr. Biden was crude, rude, and acted like the problems of the country was all a big joke, it was like watching a drunken frat boy trying to impress a teenage girl in a barroom. Mr. Ryann on the other hand was polite, knew his facts, kept on subject, discussed the problems in America with a sense of seriousness, honesty,sincerity and urgency, he was very professional and mature, the caliber of man who could lead a country if he was thrust into that situation. Mr. Biden with his loud, obnoxious, clownish, buffoon demeanor won more independent votes for Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan tonight than they themselves could have. Mr. Romney should thank Mr. Biden for his help.

    October 12, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  6. Al

    Gergen, What ever happened to you. You were brillant in the past but you are way off.
    Folks don't like wooden, plastic performances.
    Some of us like people who speak from the heart.

    Biden did a superb job. Ryan was reading. give me a break!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  7. apetra

    cbs poll just reflects: republicans tell truth, democrats lie and say they're uncommitted voters.

    October 12, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  8. White

    Joe Biden couldn't win a debate with a 5th grader. I think he was taking too much lithium, he laughed at serious responses and babbled about the Lybia attack, like hey "we didn't know"? Really, not paying attention, just like with the economy, and Iran. Excuses don't cut it anymore.

    October 12, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  9. ConcernedAmerican

    Dear Joe, what's so funny about our soldiers dying in the middle east? What's so funny about people being out of work? What's so funny about our ambassador being killed? What's so funny about more people on food stamps than ever before? What's so funny about American agents being murdered on our southern border? What's so funny about high gasoline prices? What's so funny about Obama apologizing for the USA to foreign countries? I could go on, but I'll tell you this Joe. I'm not laughing, because there's nothing funny right now but you.

    October 12, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  10. Karen

    CNN needs to recheck there polls. I voted in the quick poll which is 62-38 for Biden. I couldn't find any other poll to vote on. So they need to STOP with the spin on these polls when there saying Ryan won 48-44. That's NOT TRUE.... I don't understand why they are doing this. Please be HONEST with the American people....

    October 12, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  11. Bidens hair plug

    Biden won? Really? Won what? The polident commercial audition? He looked, sounded and acted like a grimacing ass-clown who just ran out of his lithium prescription.

    This kid is 27 years younger than this antique wind bag and handled himself as if their ages and experience were the opposite.

    Joe "the gaffe factory" Biden clearly was schooled.

    October 12, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  12. nedibkcuf

    if your version of debating/conversing is covering your ears, interrupting, and yelling nonsense...biden won! but lets be real...biden sucked balls and was about 2 mins away from calling out all the kids to get off his lawn.

    October 12, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  13. krejaton

    Biden was utterly obnoxious and shamed his office. I was appalled.

    October 12, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  14. Barb45

    Ryan won. Biden spent more time attacking than addressing issues.

    October 12, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  15. SpHawks

    CNN, I haven't watched your station in a while because of bias. I also don't believe your poll. I believe the VP won this debate. It's funny, when Romney interrupted President Obama it was ok with the Repubs, but when the VP does it to correct Ryan it's rude and disrespectful???? Double standard yet again.
    VP Biden gave facts and corrected the youngster. A clear winner!!

    October 12, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  16. MRSC

    Obviously Biden won... CNN, you SUCK!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  17. cindy mulrow

    i agree with the previous comment. cnn seems to be bending over backwards to lean toward republicans in an effor to be "unbiased". seems ridiculous and not good reporting

    October 12, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  18. Consequence

    Paul Ryan proved himself more than capable of meeting Biden's "i was there" comments. Biden's saloon brawl style may appeal to union card holders, but for those looking for a quick reasoned candidate of presidential bearing, Paul Ryan made a great impression. Biden is yesterday's news and the fact that Ryan more than held his own with a more than seasoned east coast politician made Ryan the man to watch.

    October 12, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  19. Rick

    Would have loved smashing Biden's teeth out with a sledgehammer. He had such a smirk on his face throughout.

    October 12, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  20. Jen

    Biden won!! What polls are you getting this info from. Most of the polls show biden the winner..

    October 12, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Go Ryan!!!!!!!!! Biden was rude and hateful!

    October 12, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  22. Karen

    Good for CNN for being fair in the VP debate coverage.

    October 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  23. Tony

    Go look at CNN's Biden debate photos, and then tell me he's your man!

    This looked like an agitated, old windbag vs. an intelligent, introspective Gen X'er.

    October 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  24. Bipu

    Biden did great and won the debate for sure. However, I did not like the way he laughed so often. But he may have done so in order to cover up last week's debate.

    October 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  25. Karen

    Biden was "disrespectful" when he interrupted Ryan but Romney was "strong" when he interrupted Obama? Go get 'em, Joe!

    October 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
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