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. Marktg

    Biden was strong and factual. Ryan seemed clueless and weak.

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

    I thought Biden came off as a angry old man.

    October 12, 2012 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  3. Joanne Earl

    I thought Joe Biden won the debate. As one of the 47%......he spoke to my side of the coin. Romney /Ryan are not for the 47% of us freeloaders.............I wonder what data CNN is using? Maybe Fox????

    October 12, 2012 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  4. Scribbs

    Think about it, when someone tells a Bold faced lie in front of you and you know that they know they're liking, you either laugh or get really angry. All Biden could do was laugh. It's human nature.

    October 12, 2012 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  5. CNN lost the debate

    What has happened to this network? CNN has really fallen off. Quality analysis can be found on CBS, NBC, ABC.

    October 12, 2012 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  6. Biden2012

    Biden was the clear winner. He actually brought up facts! Just because he laughed and smiled, he was considered rude? I don't get it. How are you supposed to debate without talking and getting your points across?

    October 12, 2012 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  7. Scott

    I think Biden won. I think he was a overly agressive (over compensating for Obama's performance in that area). Overall thouhg I felt he made really good substaintial responses. I had thought he would goof up but he can acrost strongly to me. Ryan had some good points as well and overall gave a good performance but what was left sticking in my mind was Biden telling him something to the affect of "Hey your talking about how bad this stimulus money is and yet i have emails from your asking to get it for those in your state and commenting on what a great help t the economy it would be". :)

    October 12, 2012 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  8. Varma

    To me it was clear Biden won. Honestly, I see CNN going Romney/Ryan these days.... Really 48% Ryan and 44% Biden..

    October 12, 2012 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  9. jamaljk85

    Biden was his typical buffoonish self. The debate was just each person saying what they wanted to say and that was it. If I were to score it, I'd probably say Ryan won marginally because he didn't come across as a buffoon. Posters here saying that Biden was great are just trying to make themselves feel better after the disasterous Obama/Romney debate last week.

    October 12, 2012 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  10. Chivo

    For me was a tie, leaning a bit more to Ryan just because of that disrespectful laugh Biden had every time.

    October 12, 2012 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  11. Terry

    Wow the bias of the CNN bloggers is out in force tonight. I think its funny that CNN, a known left leaning news org (Almost as bad as MSNBC) is actually saying that Ryan did better.

    The only thing the VP debate does is let us know the candidates are not idiots. As long as they don't pull an Admiral Stockdale (Ross Perot for those who don't know) then they are fine and it really does not influence the voting as much...some but not much. Both of them showed they could handle it and I personally thought Joe's line of attack backfired somewhat. Tie!

    October 12, 2012 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  12. Richly Rich

    You gotta love It, Biden is doing to the Demo's what Palin did for us. Sure will be nice to see,all those smug out of touch Democrats crying in their coffee when Romney/Ryan move into the White House. Biden=FAIL!

    October 12, 2012 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  13. iAMamoderatevoter

    CNN seems to be only showing their one poll having ryan winning.. whats going on cnn? seems pretty bias. In all respect: i saw biden handedly win tonight against, a man that had no answers to claims. All the other polls ive seen, have it for biden by a good margin.

    October 12, 2012 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  14. sk

    CNN tries so hard to sound neutral that they play into the hands of rightwing nuts...!! Its a shame that Shifting Romney stance and a real flip flop behavior has never been called so by CNN – as if in the name of balance – right or wrong doesnt matter – only a horse race or crossfire type shouting match matters for CNN..!!!

    October 12, 2012 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  15. Virginia2012

    Wow . . . not impressed with Biden's lack of civility but came away disappointed with Ryan. He is too young, too inexperienced and burdened with trying to sell a plan he didn't even seem to truly believe. In any event, Obama it will be for me in 2012 . . . hoping for better choices in 2016.

    October 12, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  16. Pam

    @Mike in NV – I completely agree with you! CNN used to be impartial and they're looking more and more like FOX NEWS....such a shame. There was an active poll on the CNN site after the Presidential Debate, but there isn't one after this one. Seems like they don't want people to know the truth. CNN this article is MALARKEY!
    – REPORT THE TRUTH, WE CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH!

    October 12, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  17. Doug

    Biden all the way!!!

    October 12, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  18. Anonymous

    Ryan! Biden was very rude.

    October 12, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  19. Obama is done

    Wow Biden has no class and jumps in Ryan's conversation and cant allow Ryan to tell the truth. Biden, you're an old fool that's been sucking off our country's resources the past 30+ years.

    October 12, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  20. Bob

    CNN sure had a bad poll - too small to be meaningful, silly question, and a skeed sample. Very disingenuous journalism.

    October 12, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  21. Teamosil

    Oversamples Republicans by 8%... Come on CNN. Get your act together. Even Rasmussen doesn't go THAT far out of whack and still present it as a poll.

    October 12, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  22. Sean Jones

    What the...? Joe Biden obviously won!

    October 12, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  23. arf14991

    Ryan was respectful, strong and patient. I would've kicked Biden's #*$

    October 12, 2012 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  24. trajan long

    Biden was revolting and bizarrely inappropriate.

    October 12, 2012 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  25. d

    The winners are the truly objective people reading these responses, laughing at the trolls blaming cnn on a poll which disagrees with their point of view.

    October 12, 2012 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
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