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. Golfendude

    A Interrupting OLD MAN a heartbeat away from the Presidency will not sell in America TODAY!

    NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD MEN AND WOMEN TO COME TO THE AID OF THEIR COUNTRY! HONORABLE AMERICANS VOTE THEM OUT!

    "The future does not belong to the faint hearted it belongs to the BRAVE"
    Ronald Wilson Reagan

    October 12, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  2. robnelsong

    Biden cleaned Ryan's clock. Your poll is suspect and bogus. The CBS gave it to Biden by a country mile.

    October 12, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  3. Myztury2wsolve

    Unbelievable – CNN got to the level of club Mormoney-Lying Ryan by spreading lies. Shame on you, CNN!

    October 12, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  4. Pat

    What a pile of garbage. Biden clearly won the debate...from all the pundits and even Republicans I know. Turn on some other stations CNN. What's going on over there???

    October 12, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  5. Denise

    No one asked my opinion. Biden won this, hands down. I used to watch CNN all day, until my cable went out in May. I don't miss it in the least. Watching CNN used to get me in the worst moods. Hearing Wolf Blizthead tonight declare Ryan the winner was all I needed to hear to realize I haven't been missing anything. CNN really has become Fox Newslite.

    October 12, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  6. Kathy

    Biden clearly won this!

    October 12, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  7. fala mangaa

    Joe Biden schooled Ryan. Biden won by far.

    October 12, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  8. allenprohaska

    All the comments about Ryans "good manners"......I'll take Bidens "rudeness" over "good manners" any day of the week! We need leaders man, not political correctness, or some hick thats never been out of Wisconsin. Remember the last hick? Ya know, the one that thought canada was overseas?

    October 12, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  9. denise

    I don't think Biden was rude at all....who has respect for a liar (Ryan)....Never said what their "plan" was...and that's simply because they don't have one.....

    October 12, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  10. ryan won

    I loved that line of Ryan's.... "you don't always know what comes out of your mouth".. to Biden.. the whole audience roared with laughter because they knew what he was talking about. Biden was a rude condescending.. snearing.. smirking.. laughing even when deaths were mentioned.. what a loser..
    Know way should such an obvious big boor be anywhere near becoming president.
    And yeah, right off the bat Biden lied about Libyia.

    October 12, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  11. Name Carrie

    Biden won, hands down. Though he spent too much time smirking, he provided real data and he exposed Ryan's inconsistencies. Ryan was polished and composed, but canned in his responses, especially his closing. I wonder if the feedback on the presidential debate would have been different had they had this moderator!

    October 12, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  12. Tom fire fighter

    Biden wins hands down

    October 12, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  13. manny

    Biden took Ryan to school.............

    October 12, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  14. Melinda

    Oh, they called people to get these poll results. Lots of young, urban people don't have home telephones. No wonder this is what they end up with.

    October 12, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  15. Boxergirl

    Biden won. Ryan did not even know how UN votes and vetoes work- something most learned in high school. Ryan sounded like an adolescent boy... and an ignorant one at that. I am shocked that a man who would be running for VP would know so little about the UN.

    October 12, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  16. Lisa

    Wow! You're a fool if you think Biden won. What was he on anyway?

    October 12, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  17. tFRAN

    Biden tried to pin Ryan on the tax issue.....Ryan couldn't come up with number or where the tax will. Joe inferred that the reublicans will take away the mortgage deduction from the middle class. Ryan would not agree to get out of Afganistan in 2014. Biden reported basically it was already decided by the coalition. Ryan could not answer yes or no if women who get abortions will be punished. The thing about Ryan's rhetoric about the Medicare cuts, has already been settled, that the it was not a cut but a savings. Biden came out strong on the issue. Biden has his typical facial expressions and smirks but zeroed in and corrected Ryan on what Roney really said. As a independent, I see that we would be in good hands if Binden had to take over the government reins. I worry that Ryan was wanting us to do something against Syria, not understanding that Russia has interest in Syria. I am happy that Biden reported that we can not afford to get into another war. He reported that we have to be careful and not act alone without backup. I worry that Ryan may encourage Romney to rattle the saber of war......being to conservative. Ryan instead of saying the famous 47%, said 30%. I fee that will go bad for the ones in the 30%. I see Biden as the true winner and it has helped Obama.

    October 12, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  18. MrApplesauce

    I love how Conservatives thought Romney bowling over and being rude to a 78 year old moderator and being pushy on Obama was 'showing leadership', yet Biden was 'disrespectful'.

    October 12, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  19. ricardo1968

    The Romney/Ryan platform is pure BS. They say that Obama is some disaster of a president but they really don't say what they would do differently. They talk a great deal of what results they would like to get, but not a single coherent plan about how to get there.

    October 12, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  20. Br45

    Biden was rude and the most disrespectful human being... If he is even considered a human being... Ryan was way much better and won big time! Biden needs to go home and stay there . You are a disgrace to this wonderful country we live in..

    October 12, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  21. oakhill3

    Let's try this again. . . .Biden's behavior was embarrassing for a person in his position. He seemed incapable of letting Ryan express any view without his exaggerated head shaking, s m i r k i n g, fake laughing, and interruptions. While many seem to think the way he acted was just fine by them, I can't imagine such a poor mannered individual as a possible president, no matter WHAT his views are. Frankly, O b a m a would be better off without him.

    October 12, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  22. ed

    I am a registered Republican since I became a citizen 1978, but without being inpartial I think Biden won the debate. I am more interested on what their answer would be about Medicare and SSS and Ryan did not impress me with his answers.

    October 12, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  23. Richard B Long

    Personally, I say Biden won 70 points to 30. Ryan earned 25 points and a five point penalty calledbyr a debate mediator who impartially (leaning left) mediated and questioned Ryan harder than Biden.

    October 12, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  24. Cole

    Paul Ryan's demeanor was more professional.

    October 12, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  25. Erica

    Stop sending troops to die overseas to fit your political agendas! Ryan and Romney have never served, therefore they have no concept of what it means or takes to leave your family behind and go fight a war. Stop making wars! Remember the weapons of mass desruction? Give peace a chance the U.S. is not the world police, if you let ryan and romney win this election expect more troops to die for money and not for the protection of the U.S. How many people and troops have to die before its is enough? lets get the troops out of there and bring them home.

    PROUD US NAVY VETERAN GOOOOO OBAMA/BIDEN!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
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