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. Moama

    Ryan had more votes in the polls.

    October 12, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  2. Anonymous

    CNN shut down their poll real quick while it showed Ryan ahead, unlike every other poll out there, including the CNBC one the GOP tried to use to say Ryan won, which has swung drastically in Bidens Favor.

    October 12, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  3. donna

    It's not so much that Ryan won, but that Biden lost it with his smirks guffaws. I'm at home and can't hear the guy because of Biden's interruptions. I just shut him out for that. it was Joe's debate to lose, and he lost it. Had he not acted like such a childish fool, he could have really given Obama a boost.

    October 12, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  4. L Berry

    Biden looked and acted the part where he had the biker chick on his lap as they drank some beers on recent campaign stop. Maybe he thought he was still in the loud bar and had to talk over the noise to make his points. And everyone likes to laught after a few strong Kentucky bourbons.

    October 12, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  5. Jerome

    Joe Biden was awesome. Ryan completely failed to defend Romney non standing principles

    October 12, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  6. Tom fire fighter

    Biden wins hand down

    October 12, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  7. Ryan - Awesome!

    Ryan took this one. Joe did not bomb... but he did not win. As a sitting VP, with YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS of being in Washington.. he should have been able to squash anyone in a debate if he were on the ball... He wasn't... because his boss's administration hasn't done the job... That is a loss. He would have had to score a major win to dig obama out of the hole. The most you could say is he did not do his typical big gaff bombing.

    October 12, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  8. jmathis25

    True Democrat. Biden twists facts and comments; evidenced by the fact they outright lied about request for additional security at the embassy in Benghali. An administration that outright lies, claiming it all stemmed from a protest that spun out of control due to a months old video; continues to double count money, claimed to extend the life of Medicare, yet goes to Medicaid to subsidize Obamacare; and continually complains about a political mess received from a presidency 4 years removed. It's time to elect an administration that will take responsibility for their actions. The Democrat supermajority had their shot, they failed; that simple. Amazing the sharp drop in jobless claims after Obama's first failed debate; despite the fact that one, yet un-named, large state failed to report their standings. All of the facts are in the face of Americans; too bad partisanship blinds even the most intelligent individuals. It's a sad state of affairs in the country; hopefully we can all come to a genuine concensus, take steps to clear the gridlock in Washington, and just plain get over ourselves. Anyone who assumes politicians are out for the people need to get their head checked.

    October 12, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  9. Really?

    Were we watching the same debate? Ryan looked like a kid at debate class being schooled by his teacher.
    Albeit, Biden's veneers are distracting.

    October 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  10. John Hay

    Biden grinned, guffawed and interrupted his way to being a loser of the so called 'debate'. The commentator lost too, by being biased. Ryan won by a knockout.

    October 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  11. Sandy

    Ryan was VERY clearly the winner. Biden was so rude and condescending. Only a couple of the socialist news channels (lame stream media) show Biden won. Many liberals cannot handle the truth that the present regimes ideas are NOT working.

    October 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  12. Valar Morghulis

    Given where the debate was held this is not surprising. Ryan may try to fool the voters, but those of us who have followed him on C-SPAN for years know what his real positions are and what he would do if elected. His position on abortion is clear which he made even more clear tonight.

    October 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  13. Irish Kelley

    Well, at least folks can argue about who won this one, as opposed to last week. Nonetheless, each had points and were knowledgeable (except Biden on Libya – that will come back to hurt!). But Biden's performance was overshadowed by his over-the-top behavior. He yelled at the moderator, yelled at Ryan, and just got louder and more distainful as he went along. This man should not be so close to the presidency.

    October 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  14. Jan

    All along I wondered what in the world is Romney and Ryan trying to feed us Americans. I scratched my head during the Presidential debate. Tonight Biden said and expressed just we wanted to say and express. Republicans think we as Americans are stupid and they can feed/tell us anything and we will believe them.... CNN stop flip flopping!

    October 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  15. science101

    CNN is Fox News lite.

    October 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  16. Sherly

    Joe Biden shows his experience and his care about country. Ryan's speeach was more political,no basis.

    October 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  17. NoBama Soon

    I'm glad Ryan pointed out that if we taxed everyone making over $250k at 100% it wouldn't even make a dent in this administrations insane spending. You do understand that Obama has spent more in 4 years than all other presidents combines, including the one he called "unpatriotic" for letting the debt get to 7 Trillion. For some reason, adding another 4 Trillion is no big deal now.

    October 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  18. Isto

    Ryan did not win, but Biden lost due to his behavior

    October 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  19. Diane

    Biden looked like the Joker.

    October 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  20. H. L. Mencken

    Overall, pretty much as expected. No outrageous gaffes, no clear "winner", no muss, no fuss, no kitchen drudgery. Biden DID interrupt Ryan quite a bit, and Ryan occasionally looked like he was reading off a teleprompter. Mostly, they both abided by the Hippocratic Oath: "First, do no harm". Don't think that anybody's vote is going to be affected by tonight's entertainment. See ya on Tuesday night, folks.

    October 12, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Biden, no question...

    October 12, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Oh, so Republicans think when Romney is loud and talks over people and such its Leadership, but when Biden does it its disrespectful. That makes perfect sense, really.

    October 12, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  23. Hannover

    Biden is an intellectual chew toy. Can't believe these comments. One heartbeat from the Presidency and you would prefer Biden? Besides Ryan won. RR 2 OB 0

    October 12, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  24. Top_News

    In just 90 minutes, Biden changed headline news around the world from Big Bird to Chuckles the Clown.

    October 12, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  25. Phil

    Biden wiped the floor with Lyin' Ryan.

    Nothing like some instant fact-check.

    "Malarkey!"

    BoooooooMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!

    October 12, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
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