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. Unemployed_Independent

    The more I think about it, Biden is the LAST person I would want in the office of Commander -and- Chief of our country. Diplomacy is NOT his strong suit... Nor is patience, or understanding numbers above 20...

    October 12, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  2. Tom Truthteller

    We have always heard from the pundits for years that the VP debate has little importance. The democrats, through their operatives in the media, have pumped this one up to be more important because the know that they need to recast it into something more important after Obama's failed performance in the important debate.

    October 12, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  3. alien

    Ryan has a wide stance

    October 12, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  4. TheBigBang

    I watched the debate, all i remember was VP Biden low class behavior and inappropriate smiles like a clown without makeup. Win or loose the debate is important, but does not matter that much, but showing to the world what kind the leader of this great country is something that the candidates must take it seriously.

    October 12, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  5. vowel movement

    Whilst Ryan was talking about the seriousness of the embassy attack Biden smiled showing all his teeth. Biden did a lot of showing all his teeth- looking like a fool each time. And again the moderator let the Dementocrat talk and talk – I timed it.

    My wife felt that Ryan was weak.

    October 12, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  6. Cadiz

    Sam, you are correct, it does not take much to make Biden look like a fool. As for the debate, the only people who seem to think Biden won are those who are talking to themselves. You guys need to get out more and see what more people are saying. Biden looked vindictive and petty.

    October 12, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  7. Dan

    Ryan seemed confident and sharp.

    October 12, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  8. psuforever

    There is no quetion! Biden won this debate . . . hands down!

    October 12, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  9. Gopisascam

    Why doesn't CNN post the results of the live blog? When I voted it was Biden 60% Ryan 32%

    October 12, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  10. mike

    You can't win a debate if you don't say what you stand for.....just sitting there grinning and laughing....shows no class or respect. Wonder why congress doesn't work with the White House...hmmm....Joe honestly you are not that smart.....just tell us one thing that you stand for and quit telling us the Ryan is lying....that defense is getting old.

    October 12, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  11. Kristin

    Congrats Ryan...that one was all yours..

    October 12, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Ryan was certainly more presidential. Biden was rude and condecending and offered no new plans. Just "it was bad and you should be scared of them"!

    October 12, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  13. Lori D

    Read the poll. more Republicans were polled in this one. Biden was very presidential and knows all his facts. Ryan was all talking points. Go Joe. He won. Hands. down.

    October 12, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  14. manhandler

    One BIG point that CNN somehow fails to mention in their little poll is that they oversampled Republicans. A close look at their poll proves it. CNN is so intent on making this a horse race that they are starting to manipulate as much as possible to make suire they can still prop up their profits. Pathetic.

    October 12, 2012 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  15. JWidmann

    No doubt, this debate was won by Joe Biden by a wide margin. Personally, I do not consider it rude to interrupt someone
    who constantly lies into a nation's face and prefers to repeat each personal speech point two or three times rather than sincerely answering the asked question. Isn't it a vice president's job to interrupt and stop somebody who represents a party whose sole agenda for four years was to undermine the current government and consequently the recovery of the whole nation ? This is a service to all Americans, and the world. Job well done, Joe Biden. Paul Ryan's condescending smirk was rude and clearly not so presidential.

    October 12, 2012 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  16. Jose

    We did not know they needed more security..... It was 9/11/12 but we did not know they needed more protections.. Oops!. I can't believe it. My condolences to the families who lost 4 great americans..

    October 12, 2012 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  17. will

    good job CNN spinning things to reflect your views, must be ran by a group of people like my wife that will search to the ends of the earth to find that one straw to support their ideals, i grow weary of your slant and that of fox news, why cant we have an independent news station???

    October 12, 2012 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  18. Emeka

    Biden won hands down. CNN get your facts right. You a badly derailing.

    October 12, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  19. Va Voter

    Biden won this one easily. I have no idea what idiots CNN must use for polling – probably Ryan & Romney's families.

    October 12, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  20. Jacque Rouge

    As impartially as we can remain, being neighbours and all, a CBC (that's Canadian Broadcasting System) poll conducted during and following the debate showed the split 88% Biden, 10 % Ryan, with 2% undecided. Your Republican viewers may be seeing what hey want to see...

    October 12, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  21. samantha

    When did it become political interest to analyze the minutes debaters speak?
    Is this what the presidential debate has come to? CNN is out of touch. Biden won the debate.

    October 12, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  22. Incredulous

    How in the %*#$ can a majority of voters think that Paul Ryan better expressed himself!!! Anyone with a brain could see the wheels spinning, trying to get back to his memorized talking points. His points were circuitous and wandering. He often mixed three different topics, wandering from one to the next and back to the first–when only one of them was the actual topic. I am seriously beginning to question the intelligence of this country. Really. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Scientific studies have shown objectively that conservatives make fear-based decisions and are less intelligent than other people. This is the group of people who are voting for Romney–the dolts! If he wins, I'm moving to Europe!

    October 12, 2012 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  23. enuff

    What was this I read about on "poll hype"?

    October 12, 2012 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  24. Rachni

    As Krauthammer said if you listened on the radio Biden won, if you watched TV he acted like a bizarre guy after 7 days of sequestration. He didn't take anything seriously, laughing about a country getting nukes, it really pushed people away.

    October 12, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  25. Anonymous

    I came to US a few months ago and will be here for sometime. i dont get to vote as i am a citizen of a different country. I have been following election news. CNN is the only channel i trusted after evaluating all the others. CNN across globe is powerful media. Since couple of days ago i switched my loyalties to another channel. As an outsider my views is that CNN is partial to one party and it reflects in every prime show. You are losing credibility of what you represent. You will soon be equate to FOX if you dont work on your values..

    October 12, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
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