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. Mike

    These poll numbers seem really wrong to me. It makes me question the landslide numbers reported by CNN for the first presidential debate. Biden crushed Ryan in this debate. Very strange.

    October 12, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  2. A Little Common Sense

    People offended by Biden's interrupting are ridiculous. He was interrupting to correct Ryan's lies or force Ryan to say what he would do.

    You people should be more offended by Eddie Haskell, er Paul Ryan's lies, and thankful Biden corrected them. If Ryan didn't lie so much, Biden wouldn't have to point it out, directly or with a smirk

    October 12, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  3. Penny Wright

    Republicans want to privatize Social Security and Medicare, outlaw abortion, and start a new war with Iran.

    October 12, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  4. JP

    In what universe did Ryan win the debate?!? Biden was direct, had answers and stood up for the middle class. Ryan just had sound bites and malarkey.

    October 12, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  5. Rita

    I don't trust your numbers, CNN. Biden won. By far.

    October 12, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. Buzz1975

    Give Ryan a napkin...because he was SERVED! LOL! Biden WON on substance, Ryan won on wide-eyed "deer in the headlight" looks!

    October 12, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  7. Evelyn

    Biden won hands down. Ryan ,like Romney couldn't tell the truth if their lives depended on it..

    October 12, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  8. Lily

    Were we watching the same debate? Biden wiped the floor with Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  9. Buzz1975

    You know Biden did well when Faux News was spinning before the last applause that Biden smiled too much! Poor Repubs.

    October 12, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  10. Generalista

    Biden undoubtedly did a good job. Ryan came over as always – like Romney, a cold-blooded technocrat and tool of the white, rich & male – with no interest in actually furthering the interest of the middle class; most importantly, including retirees, students, young workers, and women.

    We don't need (after Bush) another president who will run this country into ruins again, while making sure that what holds civilizations together ( a strong middle class) is dissolved.

    October 12, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  11. roy

    Of course thr republicans would say Ryan won because they so badly want uncle Mittens in the White House another reason these debates are an utter waste of time and money – this election will be fixed just like the Bush II and Al Gore election was.

    October 12, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  12. kbv206

    How can anyone believe that Ryan won?

    When asked for a specific tax proposal, Ryan basically said they don't want to specify anything because what want to just go in with principals first. Then he has the audacity to criticize Obama for lacking specificity.

    Ryan then also criticized green jobs but then said he wanted energy independence and Biden called him out. Biden said that Ryan even asked for funding for green jobs for his state. What a hypocrite.

    Look, Biden could have smiled less but honestly, I don't care about smiling when I vote. I care about who can get the job done. And Ryan just looks like a serial critic with nothing to offer.

    October 12, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  13. TheBigT

    Biden was a JOKE. He never responded to any questions about HOW they would fix things, only that it is someone elses fault. Just like the entire phony candidacy they have run for 4 years.
    If you don't have a record to stand on, try to get them to run away from the other candidate. That's always been their campaign. LIE to the American people and hope they buy into the lie.

    October 12, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  14. ...

    Biden hands down! Ryan looked like a little, wrinkly toddler up there!

    October 12, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  15. Denise

    Jeremy....Please go back and watch the debate between Romney and Obama....Romney had this weird smirky grin on his face and he also interrupted Obama. So I also consider Romney to be extremely rude. That's just the facts considering what I also saw during Romney and Obama debate. So I guess Romney doesn't have any type of home training either on national TV.

    October 12, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  16. Wendy

    Biden came off like a big jerk Bully with those stupid smiles and rolling eyes IS THAT how he thought he would win by smiling him down???! Ryan was a class act

    October 12, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  17. Rachel

    Joe Biden WON this joke of a debate. Debate? With a kid who knows nothing? Hardly. I don't blame Joe Biden, a long-time servant to the American public, for barely containing himself when I'm sure he felt like smacking this Ryan kid – I know I couldn't have. This was the farthest you could get from a debate. This was the wise, experienced man talking to a ridiculously ignorant man about things he clearly knows nothing about. Poor Joe for having to go through that, but hats off to him for doing a marvelous job. Paul Ryan, go back to kindergarten! You're a joke and looked and sounded like a FOOL..

    October 12, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  18. Marty, FL

    Those whining about Biden's smile are only complaining about style. VP Biden clearly won the debate on strong substance.

    October 12, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  19. Janis Brewer

    No one won. They are all idiots that kept each other from talking. The first debate was better. No gloves. If Obama wanted to chime in, he could, but he didn't. This debate was horrible. Especially with Biden coking and joking the entire time. He is our VP?? Wow.

    October 12, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  20. Hof

    Top Ten Joe Biden Excuses:
    10. Whoopee shorts
    9. "Who put starch in my thong?"
    8. You couldn't see what his wife, Jill, was doing under the table.
    7. Crest paid him $50 every time he flashed his minty-white smile.
    6. Missed his morning bran.
    5. "Michelle's going to kick my butt if I did as bad as you-know-who."
    4. "Once you start thinking up ways to fib, it's hilarious how you can't stop."
    3. "Do you know how much money I put on the Giants after game 2?"
    2. "I gotta stop watching 'How I Met Your Mother' right before I do another one of these."

    And the Number One Joe Biden Excuse....

    "What do you expect when your debate coach is Mr. T?"

    October 12, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  21. Romeny=Bush Era Part II

    Kansas wrote:

    I am done with CNN. Becoming the new Fox News. This goes against everything being said on other sources. I will never watch another debate on CNN and will get my news elsewhere.


    I totally agree. Try Cspan!

    October 12, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  22. Puddin

    While the debate was going on last evening, my son received a request on his Facebook from "Meet the Press" asking "what do you think so far?" One person replied, "Hello, 911, an old man is beating up a child on my TV." LOL Why CNN didn't do their poll into today is puzzling. Anyway, in my opinion, Joe Biden and his beautiful smile won this one. How I envy Jill Biden having that smile across the dinner table from her each evening. Also, should Romney win, I am as concerned , if something should happen to Romney, and Ryan becomes president, as I was had McCain won and something happened to him and Palin became president. Now that frightening!

    October 12, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  23. TheBigT

    The keep bringing up how much more the American people pay in taxes than Romney.
    Guess what, most American people pay MORE in taxes than Obama id as well. Wake up.

    October 12, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  24. roy

    Bidon clearly won , cnn is getting more fox like everyday.

    October 12, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  25. ForGoodOfAll

    Think about this undecided voters: Joe Biden is a mature, knowledgeable & experienced civil servant and Vice President. Joe Biden has been well-known and respected in government for many years. On the other hand, Paul Ryan is quite young and much less experienced. If the unthinkable ever happens and our VP needs to take the reigns and govern our country, who would you trust to do the best job? The answer is obvious: Joe Biden!!!

    October 12, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
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