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. PATECH

    WOW! I would say that Biden won me over when talking about abortion ONLY... Ryan was calm, smart enough to let Biden look like a fool for 95% of the debate.

    Laughing at and interrupting Ryan made Biden look like a total tool.

    I hate you all BTW!!! HAHAHAHAH!!

    October 12, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  2. Anonymous

    Biden did not win. He was rude and laughed too much. Ryan gave details. Tell me, what's Obama/Biden's details on improving the economy, and saving medicare? They don't have a plan either

    October 12, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  3. Mary

    Ryan won the debate. The only impression I got from Biden was a washed up old man who couldn't seem to contol his outburst. Not the kind of diplomat I want to represent Americans.

    October 12, 2012 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  4. Sam

    Biden Rule , Ryan was honest but naive .

    October 12, 2012 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  5. Richly Rich

    Biden portrayed himself as an obnoxious arrogant jerk! What a moron; kinda reminds me of watching Palin making a fool of herself.

    October 12, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  6. claude

    Biden won this debate.This is how they should confront people who don't want to tell the truth.Go Biden, you won 70 -30

    October 12, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  7. Incognito23

    Damn Biden got his butt whooped!

    October 12, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  8. K. Husman, Arcadia

    Biden came off as an arrogant jerk with NO RESPECT for Ryan or the whole debate process. Biden only cares about himself, NO ONE else. He's pathetic.

    October 12, 2012 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Joe Biden Rocks!!!!!!! Great Job!!!

    October 12, 2012 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  10. Stephen

    Both did poorly in my opinion. Therefore, if you support the Democrats, you will say Bidon won, if you support the Republicans, you will say that Ryan won.

    If either one had done well against the other, the polls would reflect it. This debate did not affect the election in the slightest.

    October 12, 2012 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  11. Yavohne

    I was so embarrassed for VP Joe Biden. His behavior this evening was inexcusable. My daughter was on the debate team in High School, and they never laughed, smirked, or interrupted one another. I’m sure the Liberal Media is so Proud of his behavior- but then again, they can act like total buffoons as well. I’m more convinced that my vote belongs to Romney/Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  12. MuckFohammad

    2010 – shellacked
    Wisconsin "recall" – shellacked
    Debate #1 – oh my shellacking
    Debate #2 – shellacked
    .
    .
    NOVEMBER – shellacked
    :)

    October 12, 2012 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  13. kenny

    Biden, the Master Debater, master debated all over the place.

    October 12, 2012 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  14. Richly Rich

    And you think CNN runs a impartial poll? Yikes!

    October 12, 2012 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  15. bill

    Biden Wins!!!

    No Doubt the junior statesman was outfacted. And the closing by Ryan on his abortion position was shaky at best.

    October 12, 2012 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  16. sos

    Biden won. He had facts and numbers. Paul Ryan had fluff. No numbers just fluff and creative accounting like his boss at Bain Capital.

    October 12, 2012 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  17. Roland Morris

    Paul Ryan just got taken to school by Professor Biden.

    October 12, 2012 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  18. rednaxelat

    Does America really want two such congenital liars as Romney and Ryan in office? I'm serious about this. Both of them have badly failed impartial assessments of their truthfulness. Surely this is enough? Wake up people! The GOP is a pack of dangerous dishonest fools!

    And sadly, so is CNN for supporting them.

    October 12, 2012 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Paul Ryan's responses were much more calculated and complete. Biden did not show a lot of dignity or class through most of the debate. He finally started to sound decent in the last 10-15 minutes, but I feel like that was too little, too late. I think that Ryan won this debate; however, both candidates could stand to use better non-verbal communication when they are not speaking.

    October 12, 2012 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  20. rosa

    Biden was so irritating! Don't think laughing and smiling your way through it was a good tactic! Very disrespectful. Ryan won it by far!

    October 12, 2012 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  21. David

    It was obvious that Ryan lost. The Obamaites who drank the Kool Aid are clearly gonna state Biden won, but I tell u one thing. Biden was rude and disrespectful and actually turned some off.

    October 12, 2012 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  22. christal

    Clearly Biden won.

    October 12, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  23. Glen

    This poll doesn't hold any water. Biden was the clear winner tonight.

    October 12, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  24. MTL

    Paul Ryan better grow a pair. Mitt Romney better grow a bigger pair. This is going to get nasty. All Republicans better grow a pair and quit acquiescing to Democrat talking points. This VP debate could have been over in the first minute had Paul Ryan called out the drunken, laughing mule Joe Biden. This is politics! This is the debate for the future of America! It’s time Ryan and Romney pound these anti-American Progressive parasites.

    October 12, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  25. Mia

    I love the way Ryan talk and respond to Vice President ... Strongly but respectly with older person . That the way American better a lot than china... Vice President sould not cut and interrupt the young man and make me feel like he bossy...

    October 12, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
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