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. AgentProvoca

    Whew, at least Vice President Biden didn't say something really stupid during the debate.

    One thing he did say was, "Now, let me tell you, I — my — my record stands for itself. I never say anything I don't mean. Everybody knows whatever I say, I do."

    Mr. Biden evidently forgot that silly ole CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN stuff from the 2008 election. Maybe Joe is right about his record. After all, technically it was Barack Obama who said he would bring unemployment down to 6% within 2 years of being elected president.

    To be fair, we should give Biden credit where credit is due. During the debate he did correctly recall the fact that unemployment in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania was at 8.5% when the Obama/Biden team took office. Plus, he acknowledged situation in Scranton has detoriated over the past 4 years to 10% unemployment today.

    October 12, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  2. Toysubs

    Romney was much more better. Biden kept interrupting and laughing. Everybody I have spoke with feels the same way.

    October 12, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  3. Tet Matto

    What's going on with CNN? Paul Ryan won the debate? Seriously...? They even admit most of the people they polled were republicans so what are they talking about?

    October 12, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  4. nick

    Seriously, do we want to give Obama another 4 years of non-progression. He had his chance, and very little improved. I am in the military, and all I have seen is manning cuts with the same level of deployment requirements. Which means more deployments for me, with less people to do the work. It is time for a change. Vote Romney/Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  5. psuforever

    Biden won hands down! I don't need any poll to tell me that fact . . . all you need to do is watch, and listen for facts, and creditiblity and experience. It's not about theatrics or sound bites. We need statesmen to lead our county, not partisan single-issue one-diensional characters!

    October 12, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  6. Jim

    Biden won. Cnn your poll is not reliable. Dummy.

    October 12, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  7. hako

    vp biden clearly won. i am starting to believe that cnn has another agenda.

    October 12, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  8. William Hard

    Bide won. Ryan lost. I smell corporate money and liars.

    October 12, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  9. sarahpalinscaresthehelloutofme1

    I'm honestly shocked at your poll results! Everyone I know except one person thought Biden won. Even your own "Quick poll" at the bottom right of your CNN web page showed Biden ahead 65% to 35%!

    October 12, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  10. gjschep

    Biden won? HUH?!? Are you on what Biden was on during that debate? That man is a fruitloop. Yeah, let's support Obama/Biden. Promises kept from 2008 campaign... zero! Hmmm... let's focus on ramming Obamacare down the throats of the American people even though they don't want it, rather than focusing on economic recovery... sure... good idea. Let's blame everything on the previous administration even though we know it was Democratic policies that got us in this bind in the first place... right on. Foreign policy? Yeah... just got 4 Americans killed... Shameful administration. Someone please explain to me this ticket's appeal?

    October 12, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  11. Pia

    I thought that Biden was just fed up with the flood of outright "malarkey" that the R/R campaign and FOX News shovel out every single day. If you are as tired of them outright lying as many of us are, then he didn't seem rude at all. Everyone I know has been waiting for someone to call out the lies for months. It was about time. The sheer volume of "falses" they get on politifact far outweighs the other side. They all spin, but the Republicans are so much worse. I would love to hear the answer to our problems, but I'm pretty convinced that "we'll tell you the details after the election"is not getting my vote.

    October 12, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  12. No longer voting for Obama/Biden

    I was actually planning on voting for Obama, again, until I watched the debate tonight. Joe Biden portrayed himself as a person that I do not support, and feel mislead. He acted arrogant and was very hypocritical with regards to most topics mentioned. Regardless of what the polls say, I am personally not voting for them again!

    October 12, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  13. Jorge

    Biden won the battle . No doubt.

    October 12, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  14. gregory rush

    Not at any point during the debate did Joe Biden offer anything substantive or factually correct. He was rude, mocking and unprofessional from the very first question. Every counterpoint he made was inaccurate at best, and if you don't believe me, why don't you do a little research on ole "plugs" there. He is at best a slimy used car salesman of a politician

    October 12, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  15. AT

    If anyone wants to come off as disrespectful it was Mitt Romney, I think Joe Biden did a WONDERFUL job!! Ryan just sucked, and to think he could possibly be our president if something were to happen, eww. and CNN all I can do is shake my head, they are becoming biased towards this election #Obama12

    October 12, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  16. bird

    Biden was just better. Ryan looked flustered the whole time. Plus Ryan like Romney just will not give any answers in detail of what there plan is. I will not vote for someone who refuses to give answers. After watching this debate I have made up my mind that I will be voting for Obama+Biden.

    October 12, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  17. scott

    vp biden did what he had to do, be the pit bull....

    October 12, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  18. Joe Bussera

    hands down Biden !!Paul Ryan looked Clueless and bluffing. Republicans are lying about jobs, medicare and even foreign policy. Let common sense prevail..Ryan's demeanor and expressions show he is not honest and truthful..

    October 12, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  19. james

    Funny how CNN which clearly is liberal says the debate was split. That is admission that Ryan won. Regardless of the messages given, Ryan's demeanor was vastly superior. Biden had this uncomfortable laughing and appears to speak before he thinks.

    October 12, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  20. LBLA

    There is more to it than being the one that interrupts the other cantidate the most. Joe Biden won the jerk contest and that is why Paul Ryan won the debate.

    October 12, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  21. psuforever

    Sam . . .please go back and review the debate . . . . before you call anyone ELSE as being stupid!

    October 12, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  22. village viking

    Biden proved one thing tonight...we have the most incompetent president and vice president in US history!

    October 12, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  23. rich reid photography

    I saw a poll that has Ryan winning 78% to 22%.. so there. all you liberals quit making up facts like Obama was the other night

    October 12, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  24. cassidy Noonan

    Biden was amazing! Ryan you are very scary man especially in regard to women's rights!!!! Let's get it together people!

    October 12, 2012 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  25. jason

    The only one who won tonight was JOE BIDEN DENTIST......Man that guy has some teeth and he is so full of crap....Hope he can still get hired on cleaning pig poop.....He is a disrespectful fool

    October 12, 2012 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
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