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. Anonymous

    I found it difficult to stay focused on the debate thanks to biden. The purpose of the debate is for the voters to hear opinions by both sides. Biden intentionally interupted the debate over and over again with his joker smirks and snickering. Ryan remained professional and despite the interuptions continued to make the best of an obviouus intent by biden to disrupt what he was saying. Biden must have felt threatened by the intelligent YOUNG opponent. Biden is a mistake. If something happens to obama this man would be our President. No thank you!!!

    October 12, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  2. Pam from Texas

    Biden won. I don't know who you polled but it's not correct. Just over 300 people? That's insane. CNN, you're better than this. I've begun to watch MSNBC but I have always watched you for "Breaking News". Now I really have my doubts about your integrity.

    October 12, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  3. Imazumac

    for sam, damn if you do and damn if you don't !!!! people like you been crying about how tuff should Biden and Obama should be and here he (Biden) is showing how tuff he can be and you are saying he is being disrespectful???? Give me a freaking break !!!!

    October 12, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  4. AR

    I think the results are fair. Both candidates did a decent job of defending their points (when are there ever enough details?). That being said, I think many people are judging the debate on style rather than substance. Of course Ryan is new to this; however, Biden should know better. His arrogant behavior will cost his camp a lot of votes...then again, most liberals I've ever known act just like him, so that's why he has the fan base that he does. I think Americans are starting to wake up and see that the Dems do not have America's best interests at heart. I hope Romney won't let us down. My vote will be going to him.

    October 12, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  5. demopin

    Cnn your poll is skewed, your sample is tainted. Ryan sounded like a school girl.

    October 12, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  6. Johnnie

    It's funny how Republicans are complaining about Biden interrupting Ryan. They weren't complaining last week when Romney was interrupting and talking over Obama.

    October 12, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  7. ET

    Joe Biden yelled, insulted, laughed and pointed his finger in the face of Americans all night. My 18 year old son walked in and could not stand to watch him degrade and disrespect another person like he did....he walked out after 2 minutes and called him a jerk. He looked very angry and out of control. Very un-vice-presidential or presidential or any thing else. What i learned tonight was you had better not disagree with Joe....he will make you pay......I can understand how the republicans could not get a word in edgewise during the last 4 years.

    October 12, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  8. i12bphil

    Is there such a thing as a democrat who ISN'T a loud-mouthed "know it all" whiner? Want some cheese to go with that whine? ...Good Lord...

    October 12, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  9. Roadrunner

    Its clear that Biden won...all the lib trolls say so. Maybe Nov 7 they can convince themselves they actually won the election

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

    Biden acted like a spoiled child, and Ryan the responsible adult.

    October 12, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  11. Jay Dee

    I think Biden won, hands down.

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

    JOE BIDEN!! -a dedicated student for Obama

    October 12, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  13. ny88

    I know the Vice President cut off Ryan several times, however had he not, he would have never had a chance to speak. I noticed that when it was the Vice President's turn to speak, he usually kept to the agreed upon time frame. Ryan, however just kept talking and talking and talking. He wasn't going to shut up until someone did cut him off.

    October 12, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  14. Jimpincali

    Poll...who did you poll... CNN, don't become Fox... Biden was awesome tonight.

    October 12, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  15. MAA

    This debate was the worse ever. I am a DEM, over 60, white female. The moderator was a joke. Her only expertise is in foreign policy, and she was totally not qualified to ask any questions outside of that venue and it showed. I think both candidates were terrible because of the lack of leadership of the inept woman. And, yes Joe, my insurance that I have had for 40 years, which is excellent – has denied physician requests for tests for a heart attack 2x in one month, denied my lab tests for cardiac issues costing me an additional $124.00 for necessary tests........ I have NEVER been denied any medical issues until now – OBAMACARE must go... I work in medical. Joe your behavior tonight was borderline psychotic, and there is a term for it on the psych examination, "flight of ideas" "inapproprate laughter" Get a clue "my friend.". I am sick of the lies, the lies. I am ASHAMED of the Democratic party. Talk truth and substance. Your screeching tonight hurt my ears and your sarcasm was childish..... Giggle, giggle, HAHAHA. Pa-leeeee-se

    October 12, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  16. science101

    CNN should remove this obviously skewed and blatently dishonest poll.

    October 12, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  17. Scottt01

    Did Biden even debate, all I saw him do was laugh. I did hear him say his son did one combat tour overseas while other soldiers did multiple combat tours...privileged lad.

    October 12, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  18. jmonts

    Watched replay of debate and it is not even close !iden wiped the floor with Ryan. Not even close

    October 12, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  19. Snedley Butler

    The GOP has spent four years painting Biden as a buffoon. That a buffoon handed the GOP's boy wonder his posterior on a platter doesn't say much about that boy wonder.

    October 12, 2012 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  20. demopin

    CNN your sample is skewed. Biden kicked massive butt and Ryan looked like a school girl.

    October 12, 2012 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  21. Isaiah

    Biden won the debate by a long shot!!!!

    October 12, 2012 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  22. Anonymous

    For all those that thought Biden was being rude. It's ironic, when Romney bulldozed over Obama/Lehrer w/ his flip-flopping... he was confident. Biden holds Ryan's feet to the fire for the nonsense the Romney/Ryan ticket spouts off (which is different w/ each passing day) he gets criticized. Good for Biden to call these two on their bull****.

    October 12, 2012 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  23. TonyD

    I had to step out. Did they give Ryan a bathroom break? He must have gone through what I can only assume was 5 gallons of water. It was like he was taking an enema through the mouth! And it was hard enough to watch once I noticed that Paul Ryan's Hair dresser decided to make him look like Eddie Munster. It was clearly a Biden win. And once again Ryan like his counterpart could not or would not answer ANY specific questions.

    October 12, 2012 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  24. Reeve

    What is with the inability of the moderator to allow the candidates the time to speak without interruption? Biden was rude, disrespectful and not anyone that I want to continue to see in Washington. We need to head in a new direction; the direction Obama and Biden have been leading us in will continue to pull us down. Ryan won the debate.

    October 12, 2012 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  25. Planet Kolob

    Biden won by an enormous margin- check any of the online polls that aren't on sites owned and staffed and trafficked by diehard Republicans (the NRA official homepage probably gives Ryan a 99 to 1 advantage.)

    October 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
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