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. Donovan

    Ryan all the way!

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  2. Jack

    I don't know about you, but where I learned math, 48 is greater than 44.

    October 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  3. fala mangaa

    CNN is the new Fox News

    October 12, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  4. vandeloof_P

    Ryan won? CNN must have pre-selected a band of idiots for that poll. Ryan was skewered by Byden. Lying Ryan and Mitt Robme are trying to walk away from their ultra-right America-for-the-rich agenda in the last weeks of the campaign. God have pity on America if people are too dumb to see this. I guess the CNN pollees were dumb enough or else CNN is not to be trusted. Funny that 65% of the people responding to CNN's website poll say Byden won. Lying Ryan lived up to his name tonight!

    October 12, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  5. Robin

    Going to start watching MSNBC

    October 12, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  6. ouisee

    Instead of debating an issues Ryan was all over the place. He is a Republican, and you should be proud of that. In addition, when Romney puts the US back in another war, the economy will get better, and he will say, "I told you so". That war will be just collateral damage.

    October 12, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  7. Deb

    Biden was so busy ACTING AND DISTRACTING that I had a hard time getting over that to listen to anything else he
    had to say.

    October 12, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  8. peter

    I think they must have gotten confused on which one was Biden. Lol...! Ryan got a schooling.

    October 12, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  9. Biden won?

    So you think Biden won how? With his sneering, snickering and disrespect? Haha ryan made him look like angry buffoon and Ryan came across as more respectful and knowledgable. Biden was a complete Neanderthal in this debate. The economy is slowing down big time with this joke of a president. All you people who support this president only show how ignorant and stupid you are. This was the worst president in our country's history.

    October 12, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  10. Marv

    Whatever your political affiliation, this debate showed the dems were desperate to regain lost ground.Biden came out swinging praying that some of the punches would connect. While they traded jabs, neither one was knocked down. While it showed Ryan was new to the national debate scene and lacked some experience it also showed he could hold his own. Biden on the other hand could only interrupte, laugh and make faces. His demeanor spoke louder than his words. Come on Joe! this was a time to be serious, to show leadership. Something you didn't do. Your demeanor will end up hurting Obama.

    October 12, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  11. Leftcoastrocky

    Biden clearly won - more knowledgeable on every issue. And Ryan's comments on Afghanistan and abortion were terrible. Also, CBS snap poll of UNDECIDED voters: Biden 50, Ryan 31, Tie 19.

    October 12, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  12. Rolco

    How the hell does Obama and Biden help the middle class by adding 10
    trillion more debt for no good reason ever given??????????????? Who the hell cares
    about taxes when the real tax is the devaluation of our currency as we
    sleep, write, speak and **** ????? And more taxes on top of it all ?????????? Biden just has more experience in full of it and delivering it. Ryan had more substance.

    October 12, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  13. user

    Biden did great! I wish Paul Ryan would have answered his questions. it kind of reminded me of Sarah Palin from last year that avoided answering specifics about the questions she was asked, but instead, felt the need to talk about Obama's flaws.

    October 12, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  14. California Voter

    I'm not sure who is doing this polling but in my view, Biden just showed the little congressman the door. On issue after issue, he invited Ryan to show us the math, which he never did. On issue after issue, he highlighted the voting record of this "extremely conservative" junior congressman. W

    October 12, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  15. MiddleClassCitizen

    Biden was disrespectful and a bully. Romney 2012!

    October 12, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  16. James Tacker

    CNN seems to have been drinking the Romney Kool Aid lately. The debate was so obviously won by Joe Biden that you had to be dumb and blind not to be able to judge that. I realized that Pres. Obama lost the first debate, but this one wasn't even close. Wake up CNN!

    October 12, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  17. Greg Kells

    It's hard to be objective, but I firmly believe that even if I wasn't predisposed to disliking Biden I would have found his demeanor arrogant and his substance lacking. I just don't feel like he really said anything. Ryan (whom I not incredibly fond of either) came across far more respectful and knowledgeable. Whether you call that a win is the question I suppose. I certainly don't think Biden acting like a smug, cantankerous old buffoon qualifies as a win though. It doesn't really matter, I have no intentions of voting for either of their bosses. But if I had to call a winner, it'd probably be Ryan by default.

    October 12, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  18. Deborah

    Biden was just disrespectful, rude, and very un-presidential. Biden looked like a joker. Ryan wins

    October 12, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  19. Rob

    I don't trust RR Team. They seem to have a hidden agenda and try to show composure on camera but on closed door, they have negative bold comments. They don't have a honest plan. As the Vp puts it, use your common sense. Don't be fooled by the polls. CNN, stop making up polls. I wonder how you came about with figures.Ryan foreign policy is zero!

    October 12, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  20. mark

    CNN, Please get rid of you Undecided Voters scale. Its stupid and very annoying. If not I need to go to another station. This is not only me its others I have talked too about your stations choice.

    October 12, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  21. mondorbn

    It was fairly obvious that Ryan fumbled as Ryan was "Romneyed" in this particular debate. It all hinges on debate #3 now...

    October 12, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  22. Phil

    Biden won. He pointed out the major problems with Romney's/Ryan's plans, and why they would be so detrimental. Ryan gave terrible answers to the foreign policy questions and abortion. Ryan tried to call Romney's 47% comment a gaffe, but a gaffe is when you say something incorrectly (usually you trip over a few words), I agree with Biden that anyone who listens to Romney's 47% comments knows that he said basically exactly what he meant, that was no gaffe.

    October 12, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  23. douglas

    2 – 0 (very clear win for the Republicans). Sorry Joe Biden but Paul Ryan is way smarter than you. His ideas are fresher and he is not afraid to challenge. He is a man of alternatives. He was convincing and delivered when he had to during the debate waaaayy better than Biden. By the way, Joe Biden next job will be as a clown but only without all the make up; he doesn't need it!

    October 12, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  24. Scott

    This debate proved that Biden does not have the temperament to be President.

    Biden acted like my 6 year old when arguing with his 8 year old brother. Childish, and he interrupted Ryan 82 times.

    October 12, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  25. William Robison

    CNN are you funded and corrupt by the Kotch Brothers too? Who won? Some call it a draw? We all know that Vice President Biden Won. Even your poll ticker was showing favor to Joe Biden "We are coming after you middle class"-Paul Ryan Vice Presidential debates 2012.

    October 12, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
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