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. mary_saff

    Disagree with this poll. I am an independent voter and female. I definitely think Biden won. Who did CNN poll?
    I actually liked the fact that Biden is smiling to indicate he does not agree with Paul Ryan. He was very passionate and had conviction about middle class.

    October 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  2. CJ

    If Biden was disrespectful, what would you called Romney then during the debate with Obama? Duhhhhh!!! Is CNN another Fox in the making? Haha!

    October 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  3. al

    Biden is a nutjob

    October 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  4. ANGELA

    Biden thought he is older so he gets more time and so he could interfere anytime, well he was wrong, being more calm is better thats why Ryan was ahead and clear.

    October 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  5. J Brown

    Show some integrity CNN! You are representing a completely different debate than the one the rest of the nation saw.

    October 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  6. rmurray614

    Shame on you CNN! This poll is a joke. I'm going to MSNBC where my polling vote counts.

    October 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  7. john

    Quick voteWho do you think fared better in the vice presidential debate?

    Biden65%7289
    Ryan35%3875
    Total votes: 11164
    this is the poll i just took on cnn.com...i think CNN IS FULL OF IT LIKE RYAN

    October 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  8. Jesse Mitchell Lindsey

    This debate was a clear win for Biden, and by a very wide margin. I'm not sure which debate CNN is talking about here, but in the one I saw, Joe had control, and he didn't let up.

    October 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  9. Nicole

    VP Biden shot down Congressman Ryan's lies with ease. He was not disrespectful whatsoever. It would've been a disgrace if he did not stand up and publicly denounce Ryan's blatant lies about the job statistics, President Obama's healthcare reform, and the Libya and Syria situations. Romney's campaign have been putting out slanderous ads against the Obama administration for months so it was time that somebody spoke up and said, "Enough." Ryan is going to have a hard time coming back from this one. So will Romney... Funny how the Romney/Ryan campaign has, yet again, changed their positions on very serious subjects a.k.a. abortion, foreign policy, mathematically impossible tax cuts, etc.
    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  10. boardman

    Joe Biden won hands down !

    October 12, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  11. kj

    CNN How did you folks come up with Ryan winning? I think you computer was hacked!

    October 12, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  12. Eatmecnn

    Maybe the next time they can pick a moderator who isn't a shill for Obama.

    October 12, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  13. thetruth

    Anyone who listens to these fools attack women, attack education, propose tax cuts for the rich, I mean the same old sick white male approach, and then worry about who is likable. Grow up what the hell is wrong with you people. This actually matters its not a tv show.

    October 12, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  14. Cederico

    Biden won easily. This poll was skewed by the extra GOP debate watchers.

    October 12, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  15. Ted

    Ryan won. Biden looked condescending and foolish, rarely wiping the smurk from his face.

    October 12, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  16. tollroad

    This was great. They came out swinging and didn't stop/ It was a tie

    October 12, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  17. FormerRepublican

    Biden took Ryan to the bank and I am cashing my chips in on Obama. Ryan was to hawkish for me. Sounds like Romney shoot first ask questions later. With a son in the Army i want a commander in chief who will think about decisions like this weigh options things like that. Ryan sounds arrogant like LBJ did back in the 60's, we all know who that worked out. Plus Obamas health care plan it better for America

    October 12, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  18. BidenWon

    When did your poll close? There is no way you were able to get fair polling if you close the polls right away. BIDEN WON!

    October 12, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  19. chris

    Biden is the least presidential debater I've ever witnessed.

    October 12, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  20. regirey

    Biden was rude, crude and had no answer for Libya debacle. What is really important people!

    October 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  21. Kay

    If you call being aggressive and rude as Biden was, then I guess he won. He showed no class at all! Ryan displayed maturity and had control of his emotions.

    October 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  22. Jellysprite

    Biden was embarrassing. I felt ashamed at the way he treated the moderator.

    October 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  23. Arch

    Something is wrong with CNN statistics. You gat to rectify this. I don't have trust in Gergen anymore, he gat a connection with Bain , and, he has been biased this political season.

    October 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  24. Atasha

    Ryan clearly WON. Biden LOST, his "facial expressions may have lost him and Obama the election". Women are shocked

    October 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  25. ne_lincoln@yahoo.com

    a man with a net worth of approx 250 millon – how does he empathize with approx 95% of America? Oh, right he doesn't

    October 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
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