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. Michelle

    Content ABSOLUTELY goes to Biden. Ryan didn't touch on far too many points that the vice president made. Clearly Biden wins on that account. Style goes to Ryan. Biden was a bit of a bully tonight, perhaps to make up for the scandalous performance of his boss one week ago. All in all, a better night for Democrats.

    October 12, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  2. Anonymous

    he owned him....paul shoulda quit

    October 12, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  3. orvel

    Whatever points Biden scored, he lost them by being plain arrogant, disrespectful, rude, sarchastic, and condesending. Ryan was by far more professional, and respectful and the points he scored (which were many) will count a lot more!. At worst this performance by the VP will hurt the Obama ticket, at best it will not move the needle one bit and Romney will maintain his lead and momentum at least until the next presidential debate on Tuesday!

    October 12, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  4. RAB

    Ryan was cool, calm and articulate. Biden was over animated which distracted from the points he was trying to make. Ryan proved he can handle himself in the under intense pressure. The one question that he cleraly answered is that he is qualified to serve as vice-president.

    October 12, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  5. Rush

    Memo to fellow Republicans

    Remember to stick to our talking points:
    Biden was 'rude'
    Biden was 'disrespectful'

    October 12, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  6. CaliMod

    I like how since the CNN poll was basically a draw, they then had to quote SOMEBODY ELSE'S poll to make sure that we knew that Biden "won". Thanks for showing your continued impartiality CNN.

    October 12, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  7. Pamela

    CNN, You've lost all credibility. I'm off to CSPAN

    October 12, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  8. diana

    Joe Biden was convincing and passionate he won

    October 12, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  9. Dr. D

    Ryan schooled him. I am a dem but Mitt Ryan got my vote. Sorry Joe he isn't Sarah.

    October 12, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  10. Get_Real

    Joe Biden is such a joke! It's all his voice all the time!

    October 12, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  11. MiFaDa

    Last time around Obama was judge a loser because he didn’t call Romney on his points, this week Biden is being called undignified for doing exactly that? Obama/Biden concern me because they seem to believe government is the solution, Romney/Ryan concern me because I have no idea what they really believe and I fear they’ll take us to war with Iran.

    October 12, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  12. jwd6961

    Biden is a nothing more than a dick head and should talk about what he did, not what Romney/Ryan will do. He thinks we don't remember what he did and will not remember what he said he would do, then he is full of himsself. We respect Paul Ryan and his policies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kiss my ass Joe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  13. Name

    Ryan won this debate, hands down!

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  14. ATX

    Biden fact checked the H&ll out of Ryan!!!! Clearly the winner of this debate. Ryan made a couple good points for the repubs though. Ryan is like Romney they can never answer a question when they are asked for specifics.....they use smoke and mirrors. Notice how he didn't answer the tax loop hole question???

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  15. TIRM

    Biden made some good points, unfortunately he came across like a jerk when he made them. Ryan by a nose.

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  16. Sarah

    Biden was awesome!

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  17. tatertaut

    What I see on CNN's front page here, is Biden with 65% and Ryan 35%, so what is the deal?

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  18. Wendy

    Joe Biden clearly answered the questions. Joe Biden clearly won this.

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  19. Messan A

    Can somebody refill Ryan's cup. He will need to visit the men" room ASAP.

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  20. mirrorlogic

    CNN come'on – take the banner down - the web is on fire saying how nuts you are with whatever biased sample poll you used. Look at larger polling ASAP and pull the misleading snap-shot before you lose all credibility. Dems were honest and said Romney did well, but obviously Republicans are blind no mater what the outcome. Please hurry up and re-look polling...beyond this quick snapshot!

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  21. Howard

    Mr Biden showing us just how much of a LIAR ryan/romneybot really are. Good Job Joe!

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  22. The Liberal Curmudgeon

    Really? Some of you think that Biden was RUDE???? But what, Romney was "strong?" Romney was rude the President of the United States; he was rude to the moderator (who, granted, was pretty awful) and he just lied, lied, lied. Biden simply called Ryan out on all his lies. He wasn't rude...he was INCREDULOUS at the crap that Ryan was spewing.

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  23. alberto jones

    This poll is ridiculous. By the pollsters' own admission, Republicans were overrepresented in the sample, so why do it in the first place? If you are going to do a fair survey, make sure that there is no overrepresentation of either party. This is embarrassing.

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  24. L Berry

    I felt sorry for VP Biden. He was either having a breakdown or was high/drunk. He interupted Congressman Ryan at least 85 times and continued to talk to himself and smile/smirk during Ryan's time to talk. He was rude, disresptful and stumbled several times with Obama's favorite word ah, ah, agh ah agh etc. He lied about the Libya attacks as to what they knew and when. In total disagreement with the official State Dept clarifications of earlier today.
    Biden reminded me of Al Gore's lost debate when he sighed every 3 minutes in si,milar disrespect actions. Gore lost that debate for his off screen sounds, Joe lost it with his interuptions and stupid smiles/laughts.

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  25. syl P

    Biden was arrogant and condescending. He looked like a clown with his obnoxious smile. Clearly, he couldn't defend the administration's record. He failed to give an intelligent explanation of what policies they would implement in the next four years that would be any different than what they have already tried and failed at. They had a chance to show the country what they could do and they failed miserably. I WILL NOT VOTE OBAMA>BIDEN again! fool me once, but not twice

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
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