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. jeff

    This is all messed up. Who collected the poll info? Did they twisted the numbers or what? That college kids didn't know anything about foreigh policy. Joe on the other hand worked all his life on foreigh policies. Come on, cnn get all the facts straight. This is really messed up.

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  2. Rob

    Ryan wins this because Biden came off so condescending. It was really very undiplomatic. Ryan looked composed and patient and respectful. Biden looked crazy half the time.. This sample is showing what many other outlets are saying. Ryan wins because he looked more Presidential.

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  3. Riquin

    Biden made me feel uncomfortable with his mannerisms. This is important we have many people without jobs and he laughs all the time. No wonder we have a big problem here. !!! Obama was serious about it!!! Wrong VP person!!!

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  4. SPPP

    Ryan wins! G'night, folks!

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  5. Helena Montana

    VP Biden won debate. Congressman Ryan looked like an amateur.

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  6. bobowen

    it's sad that we even seriously find ourselves concerned with the puffery of so-called pre-election "debates." the identification of winners and losers seems to be part of the national DNA. this is sad but seemingly eternally/true. so be it.

    that said: jb – as in joe biden

    cheers,

    bb

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  7. Sailingsocal

    Biden was disrespectful, petulant, bombastic, and clearly not someone that should be at the helm. Biden presidential??? A total Fail!! He is an egotistic blowhard and as one is absolutely suited to Obama's arrogance.

    The Poll Nailed it! A Ryan win.

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  8. Kevin

    Come on people..... Biden did what he always does. He gave a "non-answer" and quickly followed that with 4 or 5 comments totally off topic in hopes of not being called on the first "non'answer". I thought whats-her-face did a really good job of letting him slide with that all night and STILL the people polled apparently saw through it.

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  9. Mako

    Clearly Biden's lack of respect for his fellow "FRIEND" is a major reason why Ryan won tonight. Ryan was calm and collected. I liked his stances. I voted for Obama/Biden in 2008 and am a registered Independent. What I don't like is how so many Liberals are being cynical and rude to anyone who doesn't think like them. They are getting worse than the Republicans – who they claim do this. Look in the MIRROR Democrats. You are about to lose this election by being like Biden. Rude and disrespectful. Next month I will be voting for Romney/Ryan.

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  10. Glenn

    Where can I vote?

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Not even close. Biden won the debate.

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  12. carlosnunezusa

    I don't know who was running that Poll. Biden wiped the floor with Ryan tonight. Ryan did not offer any specifics, only talking points.

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  13. Mark

    Ryans demeanor won this debate, hello mid-west.

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  14. Tony Ana

    Check out CBS – they did a real poll. And what's with David Georghan?

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  15. 3rd party

    I think Ryan won, but at the very least a tie.

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  16. David Spencer

    I'm still looking for the headline "Ryan won." Anybody? No?

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  17. brett

    Biden, Joe did us proud

    We all know that Ryan lies out his butt. it's a GOP standard, say anything you can to get elected. it doesn't matter if truth is part of it.

    October 11, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  18. BD

    Biden showed his frustration and ryan made his point. If every thing is working why the unemployment rate grew for 43 months?. Middle class is suffering more than ever.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  19. cjensen

    The only thing Biden "won" was overtalking and interrupting as though his big fake smile depended on it. How RUDE. Try waiting your turn, dude!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  20. David

    This is fixed, I was not allowed to vote!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  21. todd

    Was not even close biden won hands down

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  22. mscarol13

    I don't think Ryan won. He still could not give any specific just like lying Romney

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  23. oh no

    Are you kidding me. did we all watch the same debate? Joe Biden won ths de3bate hands down!

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  24. Tyler

    Are you all dense? Biden was interrupting, pointing, name calling, laughing when Ryan talked, talked for a good portion of Ryan's time, got angry at the moderator and at Ryan and completely went around the questions (as did Ryan at some points). All Biden did was "I was there with him" or "I was there in that room!". He also threw out a completely idiotic letter thing at Ryan. Ryan obviously won due to him having accurate facts, logical points and a purely calm demeanor. All of you who are saying Biden won OBVIOUSLY didn't watch the debate or all the words went over your head. It saddens me to see how people are becoming more and more ignorant when it comes to politics. Hell, not even politics, we're all becoming stupid. I weep for our future.

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  25. GrandInquisitor

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

    October 11, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
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