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. lizzy

    cnn has problem where did you get this poll from, ryan eyes are red he is cold, drinking water all the time i want to vote your poll is not acceptable

    October 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  2. john

    Ryan could have been the clear winner if about 1/2 through the debate he would have turned after one of Biden's ore loud laughs and said, I don't know what you think is so funny, I think the problems facing America are very serious. He was afraid to go off cuff because Romney won so convincingly all he wanted was to not lose

    October 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  3. Independent American

    Ryan won in many ways! It appears it was two against one, Biden and the Lady running the debate against Ryan. Romney is the common sense choice for people who love America these debates have proven. I was an Obama supporter but he did'nt do what he said he would.

    October 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  4. raj

    It was very clear from the begining Joe was terrific. Joe crushed Ryan. It was a shame for ryan when he pointed out how ryan used the bail out money in his district to create jobs and speak in public that bail out money did not create jobs. shame on you ryan.

    October 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  5. jobnumber

    What were these people voting on? Who won the debate, or who drank more water?

    October 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  6. Shamalamadingdong

    Biden was the clear winner . Biden expressions were due to the blatant lies continuosly pouring out of Ryans a*s
    Fact check fact check fact check all night and day , just dont fact check on Fox or CNN, as they sadly made it up as they go just like romney ryan.

    Hey im not excited about either candidate, this is the point of almost all democrats but the democrats know Obama is the better of two evils. But no republicans will shoot you with a Bible in their hands claiming their candidate is God likeand is the best person for the job no matter what. Kind of makes me think they cant think for themselves

    October 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  7. caralee2010

    Neither one would have won on points in a scored debate, but Biden sure seemed rude and surely. He had this bizarre
    laugh going all night. Strange. I think that's why everyone is saying Ryan won. He was confident and assertive, but still likable. Biden just kept interrupting. The line, "OH, HE gets 40 seconds and I just get 15?" to the moderator seemed to sum it all up for me. Childish and rude.

    October 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  8. H. L. Mencken

    Guy in a blue tie and a guy in a red tie walk into a bar. Oh....you've heard this one?? Nothing much new from the co-pilots tonight, and all the king's horses and all the king's spin won't do much to move the numbers. Which brings us to this coming Tuesday night's concert featuring Candy Crowley and the Pips.

    October 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  9. David

    Let's test this theory of this being a draw:
    If you think JOE BIDEN WON THE DEBATE – HIT REPLY and write, "Biden"
    If you think PAUL RYAN WON THE DEBATE – HIT REPLY and write, "Ryan"

    This was not a draw – so let's see where it really stands. I'll post the results.

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

    Previous debate, Romney did not knock out Obama. Only Obama was stay on the canvas the whole time. This debate Ryan did not won the debate, but only Biden embarrassing behavior did all the damage to himself. To the people that not too happy with poll result that CNN has posted, cry perhaps make you feel better!

    October 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  11. Audra

    Joe Biden's interuptions were rude–he should know better since he is an elder..I think Paul Ryan is great..very profresional manner.

    October 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  12. Herby Sagues

    I as an independent (but leaning Obama in this election because Romney scares me more than anyone else since Palin) think Ryan did a better job at the debate, but he felt terribly insincere and even dishonest.

    October 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  13. cheyoung

    CNN is becoming so meaningless to watch & friendly, CNN is washing away it credibility. I think their poll result came from the first few words of woof immediately after the debate, subjecting that Ray did well.....But from what I watch tonight, Joe had control & was connecting with the middle class better than Ray. Ray could not stay on most points or clearly give the middle class a better reasons to vote for RR ticket.

    October 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  14. Ted

    Not sure who I am voting for. Viewing tonight saw VP Biden very rude. Not sure how I feel about overall issues between Romney and Obama but Ryan seemed like a very nice and smart guy.

    October 12, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  15. Lighthope

    Quote: "A CBS News poll of uncommitted voters who watched the debate gave Biden the edge over Ryan by a 50%-31% margin."

    Baloney! Bal-loney! I don't believe it. That number is so far divergent it has to be fantasy.

    October 12, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  16. billman1

    Ryan exceeded expectations-acted more presidential. Joe's face is the face of Pelosi, Reed, and Obama. The face of disrespect and division.

    October 12, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Typical Obama/Biden... Arrogant and dismissive. I was disappointed in Biden, they're both better than this, why are they acting like this?

    October 12, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  18. life5678

    CNN poll seems to be spot on for once, all other polls are close. I think the only impression that most people will remember is that Biden seemed to be on drugs, maybe K2. Seems to be all anyone is writing about. He was really spastic for sure, pretty unprofessional and certainly not Presidential. Can you imagine him smirking like that when meeting Putin or Markel etc? Can you imagine what the rest of the world must be thinking after seeing that performance? I guess that is how I measure the outcome, ugh.....

    October 12, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  19. Dennis Schuldheisz

    Biden has a problem with the truth about the four Americans killed in Libya. The State Department new within hours the attack and deaths had nothing to do with the video, yet for over a week the administration lied about the facts. For me that set the tone for his presentation of facts during the debate, very questionable at best. And all the issues were serious during the exchanges tonight, laughing and smerking was simply a demonstration of his disrespect to the audience, the voters. Havng him as the President, which should be key in selecting a ticket, is frightening.

    October 12, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  20. Greater Good

    You kidding, folks? Do we get a say? Biden hands down.

    October 12, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  21. Shugo

    gotta love how the people think having the wrong facts means their candidate won

    October 12, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  22. Spaz

    Opinion among Republicans and Democrats here is CNN is correct – Ryan won the debate.

    October 12, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  23. ryan won

    My favorite part was when Joe was laughing through the discussion of the murdered Ambassador. That was really funny – right Joe!

    October 12, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  24. Herby Sagues

    And didn't anyone notice how crazy was Ryan's response to the last question?
    Asked what would they say to someone that felt dismayed by all the negativity in the political campaign, Biden responded that it is really bad and that we need to fix the SuperPAC thing, a reasonable answer, while Ryan went on a tirade on how Obama was a mess, how this administration couldn't do anything right and other attacks on the other party. Ryan did exactly what the quoted soldier was complaining about!!! That felt so out of place it made me suspect this guy has issues.

    October 12, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  25. honeybee

    I used to watch CNN but not anymore you just as well watch Faux as if you could only hear what they say on CNN its twin Faux chanel .
    Biden all the way would bet Ryan would have liked to slide down under the table all through the debate.
    Joe you brought the bacon home tonight ,Thanks O/B 2012

    October 12, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
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