October 11th, 2012
11:25 PM ET
9 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. Name LDC

    No one in their right mind could possibly think Ryan won anything except a pass to historical anonymity.

    October 12, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. CDW

    Looked like Biden was high on something. Probably a controlled mood enhancer.

    October 12, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  3. Sabrina

    Omg! All you people commenting on this site are part of the 47%! So why are you fooling yourself Stop pretending like this statement does not include you! Wow! How do you give this man a pass? And What a joke the media has come to be. Instead of informing viewers of the truthfulness of substance their talking about style
    CNN their is no way your poll is genuine unless your polling people who have no clue of the issues at hand.
    What is Romney/Ryan plan? CNN do your job stop trying to increase your ratings spewing garbage. You use to be th balance between cable news.

    October 12, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  4. scott

    Ryan showed just how much more mature he was then Biden. BIden acted like a bully, no clear answers, lied, beat distorted everything he said and constanly cut Ryan off. Biden was an ill-mannered lout that has no business being on the same stage as Ryan. Cearly Ryan won.

    October 12, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Daniel Troppy

    Biden WON by a landslide. I don't think I've ever seen anyone drink so much h2O before during a debate and that's because his body needed the h2O to cool him down from all the lies he was telling Americans....

    October 12, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. Independent Voter

    As an Independent voter, I saw a clear contrast between Biden and Ryan. Ryan seemed to me very articulate and in control. On the other hand, Biden smirk, grin, and laugh showed an arrogant individual. I voted for him the last time. He WON'T get my vote this time. I am out of HOPE and CHANGE (as promised). I will vote for ROMNEY and RYAN ticket.

    October 12, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. NJ

    Unlike Biden, Ryan did not have to laugh the debate away to get his point across. The President and Joe Biden don't seem to think the serious issues concerning our economy and national security is sombre and important enough! Paul Ryan won this debate...

    October 12, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  8. Convicted Plagiarist

    Watching the instant feedback graph last night you could see the Women' sneedle drop negative anytime Biden spoke. The ladies were disgusted by the toothy smirking idiot.

    Looks like the polls are reflecting something other than leftist obama spin.


    October 12, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  9. Larry

    You folks throwing out all the Democratic malarkey wouldn't know the truth if it hit you in the nose. You have been following this lying born in Kenya President for 3.5 years. If he isn't lying , why are there so many events surrounding him and his life that have no clear answers and why does he hide his college transcripts? Could he be lying about his citizen status to get student loans and getting admissions? Why did he lie about his association with his radical preacher and then disassociate himself with him after having a 15 plus years practice of going to his "GD America church?"


    October 12, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. McGruff

    Democrats are shocked by this CNN Poll result.

    How could a mahjority of Americans disagree with their minority views?

    October 12, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  11. Norm Miller

    "When a wise person debates with a fool, the fool rages and laughs, and there is no peace and quiet." Proverbs 29:9.

    October 12, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  12. smurfy mcsmurfer

    I am moving to some place where there are sane politicians-maybe egypt haha

    October 12, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  13. whoever012

    CNN take a hand full of people and call them a pole and put spin on it, worst than fox!! Fox news I will start watching your news program, I promise, your are more fair and balance than these liars

    October 12, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  14. judeman

    Dont forget to think of Biden and Ryan as potentials for president as well... and in my opinion Biden i ffar and above a better candidate to serve as vp and fill in for pres i fever needed.

    October 12, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  15. Wyatt

    CNBC POLL: Who Won the VP Debate? Ryan 56% Biden 36%

    October 12, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Biden seem to interup a lot and have to try and defend what they have done well Ryan stuck to the point and made it so people could relate and under satnd him well Biden seemed to be like the kid in the class room trying to get attention and distract everone so no one could learn. No sure that was the best approch to take from what I can tell from asking around?

    October 12, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. Karen McGrew

    The CNN quick poll after the debate was Biden 62%, Ryan 38%. Ryan looked young, inexperienced, and in way over his head. Privitization of medicare and social security? Tax cuts for millionaires? Staying in Afganistan indefinitely? New wars in Syria and Iran? Biden had every right to react with sharp comments and expressions of disbelief to such ideas! They are not just a return to George W Bush policies, they are a return to the dark ages!

    October 12, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  18. Kat

    Biden was condescending and arrogant which is not any different than he is everyday! Due to his actions, Romney and Ryan have my vote now!

    GO ROMNEY / RYAN.........I love you guys. We need you're honesty in the White House. Thanks for what you're doing.

    October 12, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  19. Ann

    Biden is a joke and very disrespectful. Ryan kept his composure and was very informative. I will be better off to have Romney/Ryan leading our country.

    October 12, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  20. scott

    Hahaha CNN needs to find a new sample group for their debates. Just about everyone I've spoken with after the debate, including many independents, told me they thought Biden won. I'm still undecided as to who I'm voting for, but last night was a definite win for Joe Biden. I think I question the Romney/Ryan tax and healthcare plans much more after tonight. It seems like the details of how they will cover the costs are being left out because they're worried the middle class will not like the full story. I really want clarity from them on this and want to hear more details in Romney's upcoming debates.

    October 12, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  21. Dave

    Watching Biden correct Ryan was like watching an older man beat a Chihuahua.

    October 12, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  22. Douglas Masterson

    Biden Won.... Hands down

    October 12, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  23. Shane Collins

    Corey. What are you talking about? I am so sick of this responsibility dodge for the horrible state of our country right now because of the combination of the two presidencies in the last 8 years. Grow up.

    October 12, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  24. hcc2011

    Four percentage points (the difference between 48% and 44%) is outside the margin of error for most polls, therefore Ryan clearly won. The 7-point difference between 28% "more likely to vote Romney" versus 21% "more likely to vote Obama" is also statistically significant. Even CNN can't obscure the fact that Ryan dominated in "likeability." CNN why do you continue to to carry water for the Obama administration by writing misleading articles with misleading headlines? "Debate watchers split..." Of course they're split! Since when has any audience voted 100% for one side and 0% for the other?

    October 12, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  25. Sacchi

    In Italy they say there is a lot of smiling on silly people.
    The VP looked to me silly, smiling all the time rather than make his points. And by the way there isnothing to smile about these days!
    On sep 11 2012: Libya president said the day after sep 11/2012 “ the attack on the embassy was a terrorist attack”. President Barak Osama, and all his very smart staff took about 20 days to admit it. They blame the intelligence. Could Barak Osama ask first the Libyan President how did he get his information to avoid saying a lot of crap about a movie none cared about? I don’t trust him/them anymore.
    On IRAN getting a bomb: If Iran gets the bomb it will take a year or more for President Barak Osama to have the right information ( unless he asks the Libyan president to give him the right information). Can you imagine than how he can keep his promise not to allow Iran to get a bomb when Iran will have already one? I think when you have an intelligence so smart as ours, you better act earlier then to be powerless and say, when terrorist will attack NY with an atomic bomb, “Sorry this was a spontaneous and unprecedented atomic attack on the US due to our foreign policy. The US humbly ask forgiveness to the Iranian government for our policy. We are sorry for the million American heroes who died in NY, OUR thoughts are with the family bla bla bla” Do you Know what the mourning families do with President Barak Osama words?

    October 12, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
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