October 11th, 2012
11:25 PM ET
10 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. bob

    Actually, VP Biden reminded me of Chevy Chase drinking egg nog and having a psychotic episode because he got jelly instead of a bonus check. C'mon, you know I'm right.

    October 12, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  2. Joe

    48% Ryan 44% Biden sounds about right. Biden came off as one of those guys who can't bring the facts, so he just starts yelling to drown out his opponent.

    October 12, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  3. konc

    Yea Biden won, now I'm going out for early voting and vote for Romney and when we remove this marxist stooge and his carnival side show freak you ;all can sit at home waiting for your government check you did'nt earn and call all your friends and tell them "but Biden won". Morons

    October 12, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  4. JH

    Biden was a fumbling laughing idiot, Ryan killed him

    October 12, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  5. llatpoh

    All of your own polls give the win to Ryan... how can you call it a draw?
    Biden's performance was calculated – the "my friend" and the sneering all planned – Team O has no shame
    At least Ryan was clear. articulate, and professional – cannot say the same for Biden

    October 12, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  6. Anonymous

    the boy was no match biden

    October 12, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  7. Newme1

    Biden won! I loved his aggressive style and his smile!

    October 12, 2012 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  8. Jacque Loveall

    Biden definitely won. Ryan got too confused and gave NO SPECIFICS. We learned no more than we knew before from the GOP. We did see the VP turn to talk TO THE CAMERA (to the people) on more than one occasion, we got specifics on where info comes from that is released to the press...they don't just call a press conference before the facts are known!

    October 12, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Fellow Democrats, we have got to rally. Repubs have the momentum and even the media seem to be swinging their way. The Stormin' Mormon is bringing it hard and we need something to arrest his surge. My Repub co-workers are high fiving in the halls, and we Dems are cowering in our cubicles. Help!

    October 12, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  10. Roger

    This is ludicrous.

    October 12, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  11. lrich_9

    Does it scare the heck out of anyone else that there's a possibility that Joe Biden could one day become President of the United States by default should anything happen to Obama? Simply electing those two in the first place scared me but I'm terrified that they could get to do four more years worth of damage to this nation. By all lucid account anyway, both the VP & the President of the United States have had their rear ends handed to them in these debates, frankly I find it to be utterly pathetic that these two can't even stand up for themselves yet they are expected to lead the way for the entire nation. I've never seen such a one sided routing as we've witnessed in these first two debates and it's alarming that Biden can't even physically control himself when confronted with his own or the President's record, you learn not to act like that if you take debate classes in high school for goodness sake. I was astonished at how totally immature this man truly is, there's nothing he could do that would be silly enough to surprise me but he was nothing short of insulting to America last night.

    October 12, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  12. Lynn B

    Biden came across as a jerk. They said he would be himself, so guess that means he is a jerk. He was rude, disrespectful, and inappropriate. Show some dignity and respect Joe, after all, you are the VP! His facial expressions reminded me of Drew Peterson's tv interview when Peterson was trying to convince americans that he had nothing to do with his two wives' fates. My INDEPENDENT and UNDECIDED mind has been made up. Obama and Biden turn my stomach.

    October 12, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  13. StevenAk

    Biden wiped the floor up with Ryan. He exposed his LIES and made him look like a complete fool. Not even close. Ryan was a phony and exposed the Romney – Ryan team as liars.

    October 12, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  14. dltrey0305

    Don't tell me I missed it lol oh well

    October 12, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  15. hockeymom

    Were these people watching the debate? I am an independent and Biden got my vote. Can't believe people are saying Biden was rude. It's ok for Romney to cut off and talk over the moderator but not Biden? Romney flip flops and lies so much that the content of his debate does not matter to me no matter how aggressive and intelligent he may come off. Biden had a genuine force behind his words that made me feel he was really fighting for me/the middle class.

    October 12, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  16. Mike Hall

    Biden stuck his foot in his mouth too many times! How was it appropriate to laugh at Americans being killed?!

    October 12, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  17. Bill

    Substance – too close to call, whoever you agree with is who you will say won....but the smiley, toothy grin was beyond disrespectful – it was creepy, Biden came off as emotionally unstable.

    October 12, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  18. webbery1

    If being rude, waving your arms around and interrupting the other guy makes you a winner it is sad. I told myself before the debate even started Biden would do just what he did. No surprise. Biden's actions made him look desperate. Obama flopped and so did Biden. Sore losers. One was in another world during his debate and the other was rude crude and loud. A couple losers.

    October 12, 2012 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  19. mommytwice

    I don't know what debate those people were watching, but the one I watched was Biden all the way. I am glad to know that Ryan was well hydrated after the evening, though, because I have never seen anyone drink that much water who wasn't jogging. His nerves were obvious and he was completely owned by Biden.

    October 12, 2012 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  20. Randy

    Biden was more emotional, but Ryan was more professional. I agree with a lot of the comments that Biden came off as rude, like an angry old man who just wants the attention. Ryan had a much stronger grasp of the facts, but I think everyone was expecting that. In the end, Biden did much better than Obama. Ryan held his own against the "attack dog" of the Democratic Party and came off looking more presidential.

    October 12, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  21. topper

    They must have been watching some other debate becuase hands down joe won that. Biden clearly ^%$#& slapped Ryan all night. The Republican candidate could't even answer half of the questions asked and only could quote numbers that for the best part had the republican skew....the Republicans don't have a plan....wake up people, it isn't there...their fakes and it's a joke.....and they know it.

    October 12, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  22. baffled

    I am completely and utterly baffled with how Joe Biden acted during the presidential debate. It is scary to see so many people commend his performance for being arrogant, rude, and disrespectful. Question whether you would want somebody laughing in your face and interrupting when you were arguing your beliefs and then tell me Joe Biden didn't look like an immature, senile, old man. I'm embarrassed this is our VP and terrified with one heart beat he could end up our president.

    October 12, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  23. Holly Marian

    Ryan won!!!! No comparison between the two. Biden's answers had no substance.

    October 12, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  24. Gus

    Joe took Ryan to school.

    October 12, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  25. vicci

    Biden did not win...although it was close. He was condescending the whole time. He didn't let Ryan finish his answers and constantly interupted him. As an independent this pretty much sealed the deal for me to vote for Romney.

    October 12, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
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