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. c

    So to be clear: You conducted a poll using a sample that you admit was skewed toward one demographic, still found no statistically significant difference and then proceeded to make a news story of it anyway? And then sought to remove responsibility by putting in the lede a statistical disclaimer about sampling error that you just trusted that your audience would understand. You should be ashamed of this story.

    October 12, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  2. Dominoe Suave

    You guys survey'd 383 people and it breaking news...GIVE ME A BREAK CNN.....

    October 12, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  3. Rose

    Biden won!

    October 12, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  4. open sesame

    Whew! Ryan acted like a gentleman.
    Hope and Change have suddenly become
    Dope and Deranged!

    October 12, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  5. Sir Yaw

    Vice President Biden Won. He effectively communicated his plans to the great citizens of America.

    October 12, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  6. Alex F

    Joe Biden clearly won this debate, CNN I am unliking you on facebook right now

    October 12, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  7. Independent

    Wow – a lot of angry democrats here! To say this was a clear cut win for either candidate is simply not true and is more wishful thinking. I am sorry to say, but it does not sway my vote either way.

    October 12, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  8. jo an

    Biden...won mu vote...he said and I believe him that Romney will destroy S S...for the next generation...also I believe a woman should have the right to choose what happens with her body...Abortion, if there is one should be between a woman and her physician....not the anti science Republicans....

    October 12, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  9. Pashmina

    Oops–of course I meant to say CNN, not CNBC. In fact, Biden was leading in the CNBC poll, 53-43%.

    October 12, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  10. alan

    Seriously, this is why CNN is quickly becoming a joke. How could anyone watch this debate and think Ryan was anything but a lying, pandering puppet . Who are you polling CNN? Anderson – run away, get out before this joke of a news organization gets any more ridiculous.

    October 12, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  11. PatMich

    CNN, even you within 30 minutes post debate uncovered a Minimum of 2 falsehoods in Ryan's debate–thereby disqualifying him from claiming any victory. It's ALL about substance when one is vying for the 2nd most important job in the U.S.!!

    October 12, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  12. Judi

    Biden won, and quit saying he was disrespectful... it was a DEBATE!
    de·bate (d-bt)
    v. de·bat·ed, de·bat·ing, de·bates
    v.intr.
    1. To consider something; deliberate.
    2. To engage in argument by discussing opposing points.
    3. To engage in a formal discussion or argument. See Synonyms at discuss.
    4. Obsolete To fight or quarrel.

    October 12, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  13. Eric Lockhart

    Vice President Biden cleaned Mr. Ryan's clock in every way and on every single issue tonight! Joe Biden is genuine, credible, passionate and REAL.
    Ryan failed to give specifics–even when pressed by the moderator to do so. He made wild claims, but lacked credibility or any evidence to support his false assertions. Ryan seemed FAKE with his robotic-sounding canned closing statement.

    October 12, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  14. jcw

    Joey the Joker! What a blowhard.....send him to the funny farm........send the B HO back to Chicago......

    October 12, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  15. sun80

    Biden was an absolute jerk. He did not answer most of the questions. He lied about the Libya attack. There is no 5 trillion tax cuts for the rich. The one claim to fame of Obama is killing Osama. Biden argued against it.

    October 12, 2012 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  16. Mark

    If coming across as an antagonistic, rude individual is winning a debate, then I'd rather be a loser. Biden was insulting to the entire process with his laughing about serious subjects.

    October 12, 2012 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  17. Anonymous

    i think CNN are biased towards the Republican ticket

    October 12, 2012 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  18. Angie

    I have always liked Biden but tonight he was disrespectful and he lied about the assassination of the Ambassador in Libya when he said they had not requested extra security. I watched the hearings yesterday and the state department admitted they had received numerous requests which were denied. Obama's administration screwed up big time and then tried to cover it up with the silly excuse of the video. I can't stand being lied to, will vote for Romney/Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  19. rocketman

    It is amazing how many people are on the obama/ biden payroll who are on here trying to deny the result that ryan won fair and square and kept his composure much bettter than the crazy cranky old fart. they will stoop to all levels to cloudl reality with their liberal trolls.

    October 12, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  20. Ryan

    Mike in NV - Only a far far far left liberal can say they lean conservative. The fact is CNN is a far left organization maybe even more left than Fox News is right. Biden looked like a clown for half the debate laughing at serious issues and lying about other issues. Ryan won and Romney will win November.

    October 12, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  21. open sesame

    Biden says there wasn't enough money to protect the people in Libyia... well there was plenty of money allocated.. maybe , which is typical for Demoncraps.. the money wasn't managed properly.. prioritized properly..... Why didn't they take money out of that wealthy Big Bird's budget...
    Biden lost...

    October 12, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  22. Judi

    I am a democrat and concede that Romney won that last debate, but Biden won this one!

    October 12, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  23. aaaro88

    IT was embarrassing to see the Vice President so rude and childlike, If the point of the debate was to look like someone who doesn't deserve to be 1st in line to be the president then Joe won it hands down. Unfortunately that wasn't the case, Its clear both he and the administration take this election and the trust of the American people as seriously as his performance on stage..

    he might have strengthened his base, but undecided voters were not amused.

    Biden/Emtpy Chair 2012

    October 12, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  24. one third gop and 31 per cent dem . . .

    with a sample under 400: CNN's poll is worthless;

    People all over were calling 911: "I'm watching the TV and there's an old man beating the crap out of a child." . . .

    October 12, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  25. Luis

    Biden would of won if he would of tone down the laughing and condescending nature.
    This debate got Obama's base excited but I believe it turned off a lot of independents.
    Unlike Obama's performance during the first debate, democrats were clearly disappointed...
    This debate did not phase the Republicans for the reason I stated above...

    Biden stated his case very well, but he did it in a very arrogant
    manner that will turn swing voters in the other way.

    We shall see.

    October 12, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
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