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. Holly

    I am watching the debate again on CNN ... just to analyze on my own what I saw before the pundits take over. Biden was just plain offensive and rude, with facial expressions that brought up memories of Al Gore's annoying sighs. Ryan's responses exuded calm leadership and a sense of trust that he and his team can begin to heal this nation.

    October 12, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  2. Lydia

    Biden behaved like he was going through his second childhood. The only place I have seen that behavior is on a elementary play ground. He was disrespectful, uncouth and rude. Now why would I expect any class from a man like?

    October 12, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  3. Anonymous

    it was a shame to see our vice president (not for long hopefully) being so rude and smirking , makes the whole country look bad....

    October 12, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  4. zoro

    He's a disgusting jerk! Martha was clearly unprofessional in the way she controlled the debate.
    She showed bias in letting Uncle Joe interupt so much and then cut off Ryan many times. I will
    not vote for Obama & Biden now. Biden lied so much but the Libya debacle was truly a BOLD face lie.

    October 12, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  5. Centrist

    Clearly Ryan won. The VP acted like a complete idiot. A bit embarrassing to me infact
    almost all of his comments were already previously disproven. I was hoping he was going to come up with some new material. I didn't expect Ryan to know more about the midde east then Biden but aparently he does... This was a game changer for me. It proved to me that yhe current administration can not be trusted at all.
    I guess I am out of the Obama camp for good now. Wow I really. can't believe a man like that is VP of the United States.. Good grief.

    October 12, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  6. FlotsamJetsam

    Biden made most of his points stick. Not so for Ryan. Biden won by a small margin.

    October 12, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  7. Chris520

    Polls, Polls, Polls... Stop already! This was Biden's and we all know it. UGH!!!

    October 12, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  8. Matt

    Can Biden talk without seeming like he is yelling? Pointing, interrupting, smirking, snorting, what a rude person and a great example to bullies in middle schools around the country. Joe said he believes "LIFE" begins at conception. He didn't call it a fetus, or a blob, or some lump of tissue. He believes its a human being, an innocent living child at the moment of conception. But then he says he will fight for the right of those who want to kill those unborn lives. Makes no sense. I will say Biden did better without a teleprompter than Obama could ever do.

    October 12, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  9. why u want to know

    'its amazing to see right wingers #$%$ and moaning about things they witnessed in tonight's debate that seemed absolutely terrific to them during the presidential debate.
    what a bunch of sorry #$%$.

    October 12, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  10. Evan

    Biden WIN...Paul Ryan and CNN Poll FAIL.

    October 12, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  11. babjeesri

    cnn – please open a internet poll
    your polling is not right

    this debate clearly biden won . not ryan – but ryan is not bad as obama in last week debate.

    but this debate should go into biden favor – he is clear winner

    October 12, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  12. KJV

    Joe Biden was disruptive and moderator was not able to control the proceeding.
    Substance is about equal. But moderator let Biden to butt in whenever he wants to.
    Biden is very annoying. It's a serious debate. What's with the inappropriate smirking and laughing.
    Biden may look to be the winner for people who see debate as mere confrontation.

    October 12, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  13. Anonymous

    I wish i could go on air and just ask the romney supporters when he interrupted Obama that showed strength and OBama being weak but Biden does the same thing & he is rude??? CNN you are a joke and the old republican lady on the CNN panel is a disgrace!!!! This clown of a correspondent was an advisor to the Bush administration enough said!! People can vote for whom they choose and that is there right but be fair because God does not like ugly and the hypocrisy that is undeniable is just sad!!! Keep lying for Romney because you are ensuring Obama will win>>>>>God is a fair person that is why people like Romney will never succeed and just try to downgrade the 47%

    October 12, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  14. Ledoc55

    Biden ripped Paul a new one. Seriously.. Ryan looked like a smart alec kid in comparison. I think it's rather funny how people complain. They find things distasteful supposedly that Biden did but these are the same things Obama was criticized for not doing. I too have to agree with one of the other comments I read about CNN impartiality. If I want to watch Fox and listen to Hannity I know what channel they are on. It seems all anybody wants to do is stir the pot and make themselves try and look smart. the only real poll though is Nov 6th. It's interesting though how this election is making for strange bedfellows. The same people (hard right evangelicals) who were calling Mitt the Anti Christ in '08 are suddenly his biggest fans? If folks want to see what a Romney administration will REALLY look like they should follow Utah politics from now till the election. They should also tune into the Mormon web site and check out what his church leaders had to say at their big conference last week. We certainly heard enough of Rev Wright....anybody, especially a woman thinking of voting for Mitt should at the least go listen to Dallin Oaks one of the Mormon "Apostles" (so they call them) who Mitt swears and oath about.. namely that he supports them and the notion they are Gods prophets. If you watch that and still vote for Romney you deserve what you get

    October 12, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  15. Debbie Sangalli

    I was so disappointed in Biden. If he had a message it was overtaken by his horrible actions. Just another reason to make sure I vote for a Ticket that I don't have to explain bad behaviour and mistruths. I guess he does not give us enough credit that we can add and subtract and that some of us have Sons and Daughters in the forces and that we do know things. He can act like he didn't know, but really, It's his job to know, shame on him for not doing his job. I got from the debate, that he is clearly the wrong person for the Job and that I am sick and tired of the blame game and crying. Grow Up now.

    October 12, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  16. Phil

    Ryan didn't win one battle tonight. Anyone who thinks he won is partisan without a doubt.

    October 12, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  17. Mossy

    Seriously? A tie? Debates should be judged on substance not theatrics. Gergen compliments Ryans calmness, the same calmness that Obama was criticized for....

    October 12, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  18. Joe

    Ryan sounded like an evil psychopath. The way he looked into the camera is utterly insincere.

    October 12, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  19. Independent American

    Why are you posting favoring Biden CNN it takes away from your fairness and reputation.

    October 12, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  20. odenheimer

    How arrogant and belittling Uncle Joe was...time to put him back in the basement for the rest of the campaign so he won't provide more front page gaffes...

    October 12, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  21. Fuzzbee

    Now THAT'S malarkey! This debate wasn't remotely close. Joe Biden wiped the floor of Paul Ryan, any way you look at it. This is a classic BS approach to appearing to look balanced. Not worthy of a major news outlet. Making CNN look timid, bet-hedging and beholden.

    October 12, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  22. sylvia mcnichol

    Biden was rude and insecure. ... he laughed like a hyenna ...

    Ryan was secure and to the point.... COME ON.... what do you expect out of a party that
    speaks about Big Bird when there at millions on wealfare.

    Biden speaks about his connection to blue collar people... give a freaking break... this guy has been in Capitol HIll for ages and ages... think about it... Ryan was not born and Biden was in Congress.... !!!

    October 12, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  23. Joe

    Biden was an arrogant fool, whereas Ryan was more respectful and thoughtful. Ryan won liberals want to say Biden won only because Obama got destroyed. They need something to be happy about.

    October 12, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  24. sam

    Biden blow him away! These numbers are outrageous and concerning!

    October 12, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  25. PaulC

    I am seriously beginning to question CNN's impartiality.
    Maybe it has been secretly been bought by Faux News.

    October 12, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
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