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. LT

    Biden behaved poorly, he was unprofessional, rude, and arrogant. Ryan would have given specifics but Biden interrupted every chance he could. Biden deprived the American people the information they needed to make a decision, and he knew it. He knew he was depriving us of a debate we deserved and he did that so that people would more than likely Vote for Obama, his actions are a disgrace to the American People. I do not appreciate our government treating their american citizens like we are children. Romney has my vote, I am done with the president and vp's childish behavior and poor decisions that have hurt america.

    October 12, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. Jeff

    Until last night, I was undecided. But, Biden is truly a buffoon. His constant interruptions, snickers and eye rolling is something I see from my 13 year old. And, I'm starting to truly believe Obama can't speak without handlers and the teleprompter.

    October 12, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  3. me

    This debate was a draw? That's your liberal news media for you. In fact, Biden beat the living daylights out of Ryan.

    Oh but you can't say that, can you CNN - otherwise you won't have a horserace to feed your 24 hour news cycle.

    October 12, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  4. Angela Lee

    I still want to know why CNN has failed to comment on its own poll on its webpage about the 62 Biden vs 37 Ryan completed by readers last night.

    October 12, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. Name LDC

    CNN is disgraced for publishing such a flawed "poll". Totally meaningless with too small a sample size, inadequate statistical assessment with statistical error way way way above 5%. No wonder most intelligent people now watch MSNBC or other networks. CNN is a joke. Publish the names of the pollsters so we can point out how and why this was done.

    October 12, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  6. Susan O

    Biden laughed, condescended, interrupted to appear confident and informed – a tactic to distract from his administration's failures regarding Libya, Medicare, the economy, stimulus waste, etc. Ryan was serious about the issues, tried to answer the questions intellectually even with big mouth Biden's interruptions, because this country is in serious trouble. My mind was changed last night.

    October 12, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. rob

    Biden killed it. Ryan's answers were memorized and shallow.

    October 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. CINCEO1

    Not sure what other debate everyone was watching, but Biden owned Ryan in every aspect of debating. He was smirking at all of Ryan's comments because he knew that they were all LIES.

    I think that CNN is skewing these poll numbers to make this look like a legitimate contest when its clearly not.

    October 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. rick

    Enjoy reading looney libs commending Biden for his lack of class, and professionalism. Doesn't matter what was said in debate, the second one candidate proved he couldn't act like an adult was the second the debate was lost. Typical of libs to be encouraging of such peasant behavior. Embarrassing night for our country.

    October 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. Granger

    Hmmm...article says "split," however, polls shows Ryan the clear winner. Biden's performance was pathetic. Politics aside, he was rude, and obnoxious. His moments he would look in the camera and say, "Who are you going to trust..?" showed the contempt and arrogance he has for the efforts of the American people. This performance was another nail in the Obama administration coffin.

    October 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  11. K Wilmar

    Too bad Vice President Biden thought the debate was such a laughing matter. I applaud Ryan's restraint and professionalism. I am afraid I would have reached across and slapped the "malarky" out of Biden if I had been debating him.

    October 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. Indy Pendant

    As a firm Indy, Ryan won, Biden LOST. Biden lost mostly because he doesn't take any of this seriously. Dude stop laughing at the issues and at 49% of America.

    October 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  13. Terry

    Put a red nose on Biden and it would complete his clown performance.

    October 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  14. John


    I believe you have something there. Joe was uncontrollable. Proof of a drug enhancer is that he crashed and burned at the end. Let's have a blood test.

    October 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. Oliver

    This Texan will be voting for Obama/Biden this election cycle! To much at stake to let R&R take the country BACKWARDS. We gotta keep faith, vote for the Christian president and move forward.

    October 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. alan

    Biden showed what he and the obama administration have to offer.rudeness lies arrogance and condescension.

    October 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. Ram Riva

    VP Biden clearly won this debate....Ryan was only going thorugh the motions and avoiding disaster.....sad that CNN is no longer the fantastic news organization we used to follow on a daily basis.....I guess Rupert Murdoch has a lot to do with it...is completely biased towards the GOP..... very sad but very true......come back CNN....we miss you.....

    October 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |

    With all the helps and biased Biden still lost the debate and destroy it. He acts like a bad saleman in flêmaket.

    October 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. Greg

    RealityCheck you need a reality check.

    October 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. David

    Paul Ryan gave too much respect to bumbling Biden. He should have ripped him a new one! That old gaff machine was spinning almost everything as he smiled like the cat in Alice in Wonderland.

    October 12, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  21. Mike in NYC

    Biden reminded me of that cranky old guy that lives next door. Always yelling about something and then when you try to talk to him he condescends to you. Ryan, on the other hand, looked more like a little kid trying to convince his parents to extend his curfew. Overall – I'd have to give the edge to Ryan, mostly because Biden (and that ridiculous grin and snicker) looked slightly out of control.

    October 12, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. RealityBites

    A CBS News poll gave Biden the edge over Ryan 50%-31%
    While the CNN poll, gave Ryan the edge over Biden 48%-44%, with a caution from its liberal poll director.., of course.

    Nope.., no bias here.., NOT!

    October 12, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. Shazia

    Have to say LOVED Bidens laughs as Ryan was ridiculous in his so called facts and also his inexperience showed in Afghan issues, as wellas Libya.. he was just pandering and I Loved loved loved Bidens laughs as what can u do when faced BS and twisting of facts coming from Ryan's mouth.
    So all thse trying to criticise Biden, , sorry, It will nto fly w an independent minded voter!!

    October 12, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  24. SM

    This poll is highly rigged with Americans who just push a button on the mouse!! There was a clear cut winner which was BIDEN!!!! Regardless of his smirks (which I thought were great), he spoke on everything that a Vice President should. He is current on foreign policy, which it's clear that Ryan knows nothing about! I guess the split decision America, would be ok with Ryan running this country... hilarious!! How can you respect a "man" who changes his views when he's called out!! The Republican campaign was very clear on the abortion stance, but last night they chose to flip flip! If your ok with your child, wife, daughter, mother, being rapped and not being able to abort the child GO RYAN!!

    October 12, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  25. Larry P

    I don’t know what universe most of you posters live in. Biden and that so called Obama lapdog of a moderator were rude and crude toward Ryan. You all may want to check some of the “facts” your man threw out there.

    October 12, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
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