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. OpinionsToGo

    So, who were these debate watchers? Were they objectively, scientifically chosen? Is this really a meaningful, scientific poll?

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  2. Christopher J

    Biden won! Ryan would not get specifics or not answer the question asked ie the question about a military strike on Iran and would it be effective or disastrous? Obama/Biden 2012

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  3. Barack Obama Eats Krap

    Biden showed himself to be the angry nutty grandpa in the attic while Ryan stayed cool and calm. Who is the statesman? It sure as heck ain't "Stand up Joe, let them see you," wheelchair Biden.

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  4. Mona

    Not even close-Biden. Ryan was an annoying parrot. Wants to bring down debt but is willing to go to war with Iran and Syria. Can't name off the tax loopholes he would fix, he came across like a tool. I have no idea what debate other people were watching.

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  5. jean

    Biden win

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  6. derek

    Biden was rude the whole way through why
    i found biden annoying!!! it has become very clear on who to vote for !!!

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Biden won tonight, hands down!!

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  8. Ashley

    Biden was the clear winner!

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  9. izak

    Gotta be a mistake. Even a non Obama guy like me thinks Biden won outright.

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  10. What

    What are you guys talking about. This is why your ratings suck these days. BIDEN NAILED RYAN. Now I know what it looks like to see an old man beat a child.

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  11. Kathy

    Biden won without question. I think Paul Ryan has a lot to learn.

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    biden won

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  13. gocitizen

    Biden won that debate, hands down. Anyone who says otherwise is working for Romney. Give credit where it is due! The only thing Ryan won was on drinking water and looking like a deer in the headlights. Biden was armed with tact, facts, and a nice smile!

    Joe Biden knew his business! Ryan is in over his head...it's obvious.

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  14. spent

    I know who lost! The American Populous! Biden, condescending, and Jr. a little lost, and the Americans are duped.

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  15. Tracy

    I don't agree with this survey either! I've tried to vote for Biden winning for the past hour and I can't find the poll!! Who was "alllowed" to participate in this supposed "poll". Doesn't look like Biden supporters had very much say!!

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  16. Demetra Jones

    What debate were you watching and who are you polling?

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  17. David Spencer

    In the first half, I had it scored Biden 10, Ryan 4. Biden's angst is what kept this from being a total wipeout. Final tally, Biden 12, Ryan 10.

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  18. CJB

    Biden came off as an angry old fool. Does he think $16 trillion in debt, 47 million on food stamps and Benghazi is something to laugh at – really? He looked very desperate.

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  19. ColoradoJoe

    it probably was a tie on the economics, meaning both said what they wanted to say. But Biden won the foreign affairs handedly . Cannot see why the US cannot turn policing over to the Afghanistan soldiers. Think of it like tough love, stand up now while the US is there to help vs the US doing the work for them.

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  20. LochRaven

    Who was included in this poll? Only the tea party? Biden wiped the floor with Ryan, almost as much as Romney whipped Obama in the first debate!

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  21. Angie

    The poll results show that Ryan won, however the journalist is saying that Biden won. They need to correct the article. Look at the poll below your story, Ryan won, not Biden.

    October 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  22. Mona

    Not even close-Biden

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  23. Joyce

    Are you kidding? Biden needed to put that idiot in check. It was necessary for him to have that demeanor! Go Obama!

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  24. mjmej

    who on earth did you poll? Biden clearly took this one.

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  25. peridot2

    Ryan looked like the slippery weasel he is. VP Biden's the winner, hands down.

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
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