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. rmurray614

    CNN, you people need to get it together.

    October 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  2. Okieflyover

    Biden, you had 4 years to get something done and you didn't even get a budget done. How do you fix a problem when you can't see the problem.

    I

    October 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  3. John M

    48 to 44 is not a tie unless they are using more of the Obama funny math. Now blame the pollsters. Now who is laughing joe?

    October 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  4. G

    If you think Biden won your as crazy as his stupid laughing throughout discussions of Americas future

    October 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  5. Elle Ben-Sefer

    Joe Biden's rude behavior including constantly interrupting Ryan, making condescending faces and laughing at his points was very convincing. It convinced me he is not worthy of any office. He was neither dignified nor gracious as a debater.

    October 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  6. zach

    cnbc also has a flash poll showing a pretty decisive win for paul ryan

    CNBC ‏@CNBC

    [POLL RESULTS] Who do you think won the VP Debate? Paul Ryan: 56%, Joe Biden: 36%, Neither: 8%. #CNBC2012
    info is at cnbc website.

    October 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  7. BIG JOJO

    CNN is so low in credibility and so low on rating that they are trying whole lot of stupid stuff to lure people, but it's not working. Examples, timing the debate talk time; making issue of Joe Biden posture; indicating Biden alone was disrupting, when Ryan was doing the same on some occasion during the debate. They buying into the Right Wing accusation about media bias so that they are becoming bias in their reporting. CNN lost the independent, centrist, & moderate vote. There are serious issues facing this nation that I am happy Biden & Ryan eloquently made their case in solving them. I think Biden better made the case for the middle class.

    October 12, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  8. iambicpentamaster

    Ryan to Biden: ‘I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground’

    October 12, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  9. Eric

    I will be interested to see how the more scientific polls describe this debate in the coming days, CNN says Ryan won though within the margin of error. BBC seems to think it was a tie, CBS gives it to Biden. Fox Ryan. I guess that means it will likely be a tie, but it will be interesting to see what those few remaining undecided voters think. In the end their is only one poll that really matters and it will be on the first tuesday in November.

    October 12, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  10. Kerthunk

    I'm not sure what debate they were watching, but Biden dominated this one. Joe showed Paul just what a inexperienced, blind child he was. Ryan could give no policy details, and his foreign policy is basically 'make war on everything'.

    All around dominance by the vice president. Heck of a win for Obama/Biden.

    October 12, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  11. Captain Obvious

    CBS has it at 50% Biden. 31% Ryan. 19% tie. Biden dominated.

    October 12, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  12. David

    CNN doesn't cite their front page poll because it is not scientifically constructed. You can't just put up a poll on a webpage – particularly a webpage that doesn't attract and therefore sample proportionate numbers of republicans – and say this poll is accurate. CNN knows this, which is why they are spotlighting the scientifically conducted polls with randomized sampling from professional polling organizations and companies. It would be like if Fox put a poll up on Foxnews.com and thought it was reliable when it shows Romney winning 80 to 20 over the President. Dumb as bricks. Also, people can vote more than one time on online polls, so all it takes is a few crazy supporters to skew the data and on CNN those supporters would more likely be democrats (and vice versa on Fox).

    Lord, clearly none of you have the slightest clue about statistical data collection. I am seriously let down by the utter lack of intelligence that I have been reading. I would have expected that on yahoo news comments.

    October 12, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  13. Andrew

    You win a debate with ideas, and the president and vice president have IDD (Idea Deficit Disorder). There's no more hope folks.

    October 12, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  14. Okieflyover

    I think we should start a campaign to send the White House Dave Ramsey's finance workbooks and books on money management and budgeting.

    October 12, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  15. PH

    Biden clearly won...well, except that he smiled too much, and smiling is rude! And his interrupting????...I mean seriously this is a debate!!! For the love of God, there's no interrupting in a debate...ever!!!! Just nod and smile...no wait...Don't Smile! That's rude! And my goodness how disrespectful for him to refer to Ryan as "My Friend" all night.

    October 12, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  16. NickC

    Was watching this with 50 others, so I don't think all their ideas are wrong. It's a collective response, BIDEN WINS. Guess CNN is becoming just like another Fox News!!.

    October 12, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  17. bud88

    the truth hurts

    October 12, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  18. aggie77

    Biden was a rude old fart! The fact he said he voted against the two wars in the Middle East was a lie. HE VOTED FOR BOTH OF THEM!! How many times did he interrupt Ryan? Typical DUMOCRAT. Kind of like when a certain group years ago hollered louder than the followers of Jesus and got their way. You may want a village to raise your children, but I don't.

    October 12, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  19. gpclaw

    I think Joe's main job was to get the base fired back up after last weeks debacle. People always like to see their guy run rough shot over the other guy. In this sense Joe succeeded. Not sure how well that goes over with undecideds, but then again, how many people decide who they will vote for based on a VP debate?

    October 12, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  20. Kevin Quail

    The media, with all their stupid focus groups, charts, polls ,graphs, and pundits have officially become part of the problem. They operate no more on the side of the people or the First Amendment than any Democrat or Republican. Politics and the media circus- it's all about money, and nothing more. Really, every news outlet is run by a corporation. After the Citizeins United ruling by the Supreme Court, anyone who believes in ANY unbiased news outlet connected with a corporation is crazy, stupid or both.

    October 12, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  21. philtration

    Ryan won the debate?
    Please!
    He wet his pants and he (and Romney) were called out on their never ending lies and B.S. tonight.
    This was not even close and Ryan looked like a child.

    October 12, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  22. Julius Brown

    Biden easily won. He tells the truth. Is there anybody watching the time each candidate takes? It seems that republicans are always given more time.

    October 12, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  23. Jenny

    I would say that Ryan won the debate. Who laughs while discussing important issues that our country faces?!

    October 12, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  24. epubcar

    Actually I think Biden showed great restraint and patience by not punching the living you know what out of the little weasel-boy Ryan. If liars Romney & Ryan win the election the true losers will be the American people.

    October 12, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  25. G

    Why did it take the President 2 weeks to say it was a terrorist attack. Biden only laughed and looked crazy

    October 12, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
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