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. resawven

    America won! Biden was able to goad Ryan into admitting he and the GOP believe in a Theocracy and will govern by making their personal religious beliefs Law to be imposed on others.

    Obama/Biden for Democracy 2012!

    October 12, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. Get Real!

    Ryan had no specifics for the following: How he was going to create 12 M jobs, How he was going to work across the isle, How he would do anything different in Afghanistan, What he would do in Iran differently. He showed that the GOP
    Candidates have no specific plan to do anything they claim in their sales pitch. Oh by the way every time Ryan was
    Slammed by Biden with facts he gulped some water which was very telling.

    October 12, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  3. jasoncdanforth

    Based on the clips I've seen, i have to hand it Ryan. Biden was rude, condescending and didn't seem like he showed up for a genuine debate. I'd vote for Ryan over Romney if Ryan can stick to fiscal politics and stay out of religion.

    October 12, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. Shane Collins

    If I go outside right now, drain the oil out of my truck, drive it down the highway and the engine locks up....... It's my fault. Not the guy that owned my truck before I bought it.

    October 12, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. Anonymus

    Results of the poll are inconclusive statistically speaking. Anybody with basic statistics background could tell you that the difference between them is not statistically different than 0. Much ado about nothing. Why don't they make that clear in the article?

    October 12, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  6. Tracey

    As a mother, I saw Ryan's misconstruing facts and down right lying his was through the debate. Thankfully, Biden was there to stop him from repeating factcheck.org lies over and over. What example does lying on national TV make for our children. I had to pause the TV several times while Ryan spoke to explain to my 13 year old, what Ryan was lying about. Sadly, this behavior is recognized by our children – and being silent about lies – being complicit, is not what I want to teach my kids. Mr. Ryan, you were on national TV – kids were watching while you lied to the American Public. We lost a potential educational experience.

    October 12, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  7. Devara

    I'm a Democrat, but honestly I thought Biden was an embarrassment last night. It was like he skipped his meds or something. I kept waiting for him to sucker punch Martha Raddatz.

    October 12, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  8. Milton K. Wiah

    Republicans think that the country is for them. They never accept defeat even if they know that they have been
    defeated. Biden won this debate. Reason Ryan has no place to lie as Romney did during the first debate.

    October 12, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  9. Phillip

    Biden won on substance and Ryan won on composure. Biden was laughing and grinning, way over the top.

    October 12, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  10. jim

    Biden did his job, which was to convince the Democratic base that they aren't sissies (look at comments here for proof of that). Ryan looked calm and professional. No votes changed either way.

    October 12, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  11. bluedogboy

    Debates mean nothing.

    Obama/Biden is the better ticket. Period.

    October 12, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  12. Laurie

    Then you better keep your television turned off, because this whole campaign is mud bath and many politicians are slying things that are very disrespectful about our President. As far as Governor Romney who has not said nothing , but does nothing to stop the onslot of pure hatred, to me is the biggest bully of them all.

    October 12, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  13. John

    How many Tea Party Members fingers are sore this morning voting multiple times and flipping off Biden on the tv

    October 12, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. arnaud

    Biden won by a long shot, *IF* the yardstick measures rudeness and willful ignorance. If not the election, Biden will win an Oscar for his role as a hysterical hyena in "Scary Reality". With metrics such as reason demeanor etc., Ryan won. In sum, we can all agree that Biden won something.

    October 12, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. Patty

    So much laughing and interruptions from Biden that I thought I was watching a SNL skit! I didn't think it was funny at all, perhaps Biden was so nervouse of getting beat that that's all he could do.

    October 12, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  16. dblogger

    CNN focus group was more focused on snacks.

    October 12, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. lmason

    I know that CNN is trying to court Fox news supporters but lets just call a spade a spade Mr. Biden won, and for those who do not now what a win looks like let me enlighten you with this boxing analogy. Joe starts off by hitting him with some light jabs A.K.A “they reported what the intelligence committing put out” second he starts by then working in some body blows A.K.A “You sent two letters requesting some stimulus,” Joe then starts adding some fancy foot work in just shaking poor Mr. Ryan up with the simple fact “You plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system oh yea and here is some 47% and 30% takers comments for you” and finally Biden is going for the knock out combo of “here is some ending social security as we know it and the final blow “he got Mr. Ryan to admit in now other words that they are going to OUT LOW abortions, basically eliminating a women’s’ right to choose” and by TKO Biden wins.

    October 12, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. MaxNastic

    It really doesnt matter at this point. IF ANYONE thinks Obama is going to do anything productive in the next term they are clearing uninformed and partisan. It is really simple: are you better off now? If you say yes, its because you work for the governement or you are one of the "takers". If you say NO, then you are one of the struggling Americans who are seeing everything skyrocket in price as your takehome pay goes down.
    It never fails to amaze me when I hear a supporter of Obama defend his record. There is NO record.

    October 12, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  19. Pritesh

    I took a poll at home with 4 people, 3 people voted for Biden, 1 for Ryan. Biden won! 4 peopleat home not much different that taking a poll of 380 odd people with a Republican majority. Jesus CNN!!

    October 12, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  20. Helena Montana

    VP Biden won the debate. Mr. Ryan seemed out of sorts and in over his head.

    October 12, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  21. Kay

    Facts? NO ONE with a brain who has been around for "39 years" in politics as Biden claims really thought that 'protesters' showed up at the Libyan US embassy with RPGs and grenades on 9/11. Once Biden tried to say that the only reason they administration said that was because of the 'intelligence community', he lost all credibility with me. You can blame the CIA all you want but remember how you didn't let Bush get away with the 'well they TOLD me there were weapons of mass destruction there' defense? It cuts both ways. The Obama camp tried to play down a successful terrorist attack because it's election season and because they didn't want tensions to escalate. Period. Anything else is Malarkey. If you want to blame the lack of security on Congress's proposed cut to overall non-military defense spending of $300 million, that's fine. But at least own the fact that you knew it was terrorism right away and that the embassy had asked for and been denied extra security. The Facts? Biden said that the bottom "30 %" of earners in the country have a higher federal income "effective tax rate than Romney". Really? Exactly what is their effective tax rate??? I don't think either candidate knew the answer to that.

    October 12, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. ChrisCinthD

    Biden won hands down. The same people that say Biden was too agressive also said President Obama was too passive. The best way to nip lies is in the bud. Biden would not let Ryan get a LIE in. When Ryan was just talking and not lying, Biden let him finish. The second Ryan smelled of a lie, Biden called him on it. Ryan looked uncomfortable at being dressed-down by someone that knew their stuff. Biden was agressive, and that was a GOOD thing...and what he said was factual. He was confident, something the POTUS lacked during his first debate. Biden was forceful and unapolegetic at calling out the BS posed by Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. Umer

    No question Joe Biden won this one. He trashed Ryan on most of the issues.

    October 12, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  24. Rachel

    Joe Biden did a marvelous job! Debating a "child" is not easy!

    The moderator was terrible.

    October 12, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  25. Astra Navigo

    It's doesn't matter a bit who 'won' – not to me. Last night, I watched a movie. Why? Because I already know where my vote is going, and it's not to either of the two clowns offered-up by the two major parties.

    As to who'll win the election? That was a given from the beginning: Goldman-Sachs; in a walk. Just like the last few....

    October 12, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
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