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. be real

    all this commenting. just look at the facts. Ryan acted professionally. After Obama suffered a huge lost it was planned for Biden to interrupt to keep attacking not letting Ryan say a word. keep pushing to compensate for obamas loss. Ryan stayed calm and professional. Biden just kept on interrupting trying not let Ryan say a word. Biden failed....he looked like an idiot. Ryan was calm and professional

    October 12, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  2. BBB

    If it's on being obnoxious, Biden won!!!
    I couldn't find substance from him. I want details but all Biden does is break the thought by his empty rattling!
    Ryan has more content on this debate.
    I hate the moderator. She might as well should have given Biden a boxing glove for all the leeway she gave Biden.
    This debate is useless for all that Biden did!!! There is no content!!!

    October 12, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  3. Rosemary de

    Joe Biden clearly did much better than Paul Ryan. Ryan is a numbers guy and Biden is a people guy. He cares about the average person and it came across very well. Great night, Mr. Vice President.

    October 12, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  4. TFHJ

    Joe Biden was rude and arrogant. Romney/Ryan 2012. Ryan won the debate!

    October 12, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  5. Jay W

    sorry, no way did biden win this debate...being rude and interrupting doesnt win, coming down with the facts and providing answers does...not joe bidens 800 million-billion answers.

    October 12, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  6. Jim

    No clear cut winner. A draw on substance. If anything, Biden just came off as a complete d-bag...I don't think i can recall a debate where someone interrupted as much as Biden did tonight. Completely disrespectful. But no clear cut winner here on substance, which is most important.

    October 12, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  7. David

    It's bogus how anyone can think Ryan either won or the debate ended as a draw. Biden was the clear winner! He rightfully ripped apart Ryan for his, Romney's, and the Republican party's destrictive and discriminatory policies, lies, and scare tactics. Almost nothing Ryan said was truthful anyway. How Biden was in tonight's debate is how Obama must be in the next two debates against Mit Romney

    October 12, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  8. Joy

    As a well informed Senior on Medicare, Biden's facts were totally Bogus. Seniors are going to suffer greatly because of Obamacare, and my daughter's employer is dropping the company health insurance and will pay the fine instead.
    Cuts to pay for Doctors and hospitals will be drastically cut. Medicare Actuary also states there will be a nine panel
    of people to determine which decisions to be made regarding care. THIS IS A FACT that Joe lied about.
    In addition, Joe mislead the viewers about the recent terrorist attack. Ryan was respectful and Joe was very
    agressive but he came across as a jerk!

    October 12, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  9. JJ

    Wow, someone in CNN is wearing their stupid hat on.

    October 12, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  10. susan

    Joe was very inappropriate, smiling when serious topics were discussed. He looked like a mad man. Geesh!!!!

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

    Joe Biden was the Winner!! Hands down!! Seems like CNN had a select Focus Group they were Polling... mostly Repubs.... If anyone watched PBS, even David Brooks inicated that Joe Biden had the edge.

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

    actually even the press secretary of the DNC tweeted that Biden was losing.

    October 12, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  13. Aaaa

    Its not surprising that CNN came out with this FALSE POLLS.... It's disguising and biased.... Everybody knows very clearly that JOE BIDEN WON THE DEBATE.....

    October 12, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  14. BobRoss

    A draw?! I think not. Biden clearly won that debate. He was direct and specific. These "rude" charges are hilarious considering how disrespectful Romney was to Jim Lehrer. At least Biden never told the moderator that he'd be going after her job! The double standards are amazing.

    October 12, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  15. Great Poll

    Wow, 381 whole people took the poll? Great detective work.

    October 12, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  16. Paul

    This poll must be a fluke . EVERYONE is saying Joe won. I call malarkey ;)

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

    "Forty-eight percent of voters who watched the vice presidential debate think that Rep. Paul Ryan won the showdown"
    Take a look at the sampling... 381 people! Sounds like someone is fudging the numbers – lol

    Biden clearly dominated.

    October 12, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  18. Imazumac

    I don't know about anyone else, that smile that ryan had on his face looked exactly like the one romney had on his debate. It seems that they both had the same trainer !!!! I thought that was very, very funny

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

    Biden clearly won this debate. Ryan is out of his league.

    October 12, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  20. rich barnett

    lol they filled Joe Biden up with nonsense and he vomited it all out the first 45 minutes. I'm sure liberals thought his emotionally disturbed ranting and raving sounded great but that was a serious turn-off to Independents like myself. All I heard was "teeth!!".

    And, you know it.

    October 12, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  21. sam young

    Beyond me... how people or CNN says it was a tie. Romney campaign has bee spinning the voters trying to show of that they are on everyone's side. Ryan had a moment where he could not give any specific of proposed cuts asked by moderator and Joe said it was mathematics. Even CNN provided fact check on his answer as false. That itself was enough for me to say 'Joe Won'.

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

    The purpose of the debate is for the voters to hear the suggestions and ideas by both parties. Obviously, biden felt threatened by the YOUNG intelligent Ryan. Otherwise, he would not have acted so immature, snickering and interupting Ryan when he spoke. biden was rude, arrogant, and selfish to think his behavior was acceptable and that he can do whatever he wants. I am beginning to think that is what obama and biden both think. Believing they are IT and nothing can stop them. I believe biden intentionally interupted Ryan and the debate. Doesn't matter. Ryan WON with his professionalism, respect, and manners! For that I believe in what he says too. Biden is one BIG Joker not to be believed or trusted!

    October 12, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  23. Eric

    Biden Won hands down!!!

    October 12, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  24. Stacy Grant

    Joe Biden won. There was nothing rude about Joe Biden tonight. He came to give facts and dispute the lies or mistruths of Romney and Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  25. Joy

    NBC just announced that Ryan was given 56% to Biden's 30%.

    October 12, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
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