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. Sam

    Even the biased debate moderator couldn't make dopey Joe look good. He showed what an arrogant condescending jerk he is. Making faces and smiling like your pinching out a giant loaf isn't vice presidential. A debate should be about presenting your ideas not about making stupid faces while your opponent presents theirs. Classless dunce. This independent will not vote Obama / Biden again in 2012. These two are stuck on stupid.

    October 12, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  2. chris

    Vote for Biden if you like being a rude childish person when you should act with respect and debate the issues honestly. Biden looked like he prepped for the debate with Jerry Springer

    October 12, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. Jennifer Harris

    Don't know who won the debate, but from reading these posts, one thing is obvious:

    Liberals embrace and glorify the rude, abrasive, condecending on their team. Could Biden not have gone out there and made his points without looking like an angry Tourettes patient?

    Why would libs think this behavior is great? Why can't liberals be liberal without being mean, angry, hateful? It's across the board. And if you ask them about it, they get even MORE so.

    October 12, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  4. Pinsey Minnestoa Liberal

    V.P. Biden won hands down. I'm still thinking about how he "shined."
    When Willard Milton Romney (yes, his real name) was agressive in his debate with Pres. Obama, he got raves.
    Now, when V.P. Biden was agressive with what he was saying, he's portrayed as "rude."
    The citizens of this great country will, in the long run, get what they deserve. We have a country of 52% non practicing church-attendees, and generations of children growning up with NO faith whatsoever. Adding gay-marriage, abortion, Social Media junkies, and all of those other evils.... I can only say: God ain't gonna heal this land. We're headed for bankruptcy, and no one is going to stop it. God's going to give us what we deserve....... All those classes on the Book of Revelations back in the 1970's are coming true. Amazing. Doomsday is within reach....whether it's Obama or Willard the Rat.

    October 12, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. Nichole

    Biden did an excellent job of expressing himself. He was animated, he kept the audience attention. Ryan was dreadful. He kept a goofy look on his face. He didn't have the facts. He doesn't have experience and it showed. Even the moderator said give specifics. Ryan could not. What I liked about Biden is that he provided facts. He was truthful. He shared and expressed himself genuinely. Ryan sounded like a commerical throughout the entired debate. It had me laughing just like Biden. The Republican Party has no plan.

    October 12, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  6. Robert

    Joe Biden was a rude insufferable dolt. I doubt whether he helped the ticket. You blind supporters of the RAT party are pathetic.

    October 12, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. Lester Singleton

    Biden winning or not, it doesn't matter too much. If the LEADER of the country can't show he is strong, we have issues. I would rather have a strong president and weaker VP than the flip side.

    October 12, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. Icare

    Laurie, really he was not attempting to bully anybody he was not allowing Ryan to lie about policies anymore. Most Americans will not fact check or read up the debate so if he allows him to speak his lies it only hurts his stance. Not that interrupting is something that our kids should be learing but speaking up when they know someone is telling a lie is the right thing to do. Now I am not an Obama supporter in the least but you comments are ridiculous and soft. You probably want you kids to play in sports leagues where there are ties and no losers. Thats whats wrong with society not enough people who will stand up or speak out, or God forbid allow threir children to watch a heated debate.

    October 12, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. Nietodarwin

    Biden won, but could have been tougher. Ryan refused to answer (repeatedly) when asked "Can you give "specifics"" SPECIFICS is a word that scares these GOP liars.
    I really just wish for death for Romney and Ryan and all the sicko religious TALIBANGELICALS that support them. They are against our country, just like the Taliban. They don't respect women, just like the Taliban. Xstianity is BAD for our country, BAD for our species, and BAD for our future on the planet. I don't believe in Hell, but I'm telling them to go there anyway.

    October 12, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Bascially I called the VP Depate a draw. But it still doesn't address all the problems in the country that the presend adminstration refuses to consider. We still need a change in Washington. Romney/Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. Khaleeshi

    Biden won this debate hands down – he was once again a champion for the middle class. He called Ryan on his lies – especially about the stimulus. Ryan voted for the stimulus and asked for it by letter – twice – priceless. The debate was informational on the Ryan plan to turn medicare into a useless voucher, finding out Ryan/Romney have no plan to pay for their 20% across the board tax cuts, and Joe stood up for a woman's right to take care of their own heathcare.

    Way to go Joe – Obama/Biden 2012

    October 12, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. Name LDC

    If Ryan is the best Willard (yes that is his real name,not Mitt) could pick, he just must be kidding. The man has no grasp of budget, statistics or anything else. He is an empty suit. What a pair of losers and they will go down in history as such!!!

    October 12, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. Anthony

    Biden won that debate hands down. he called out the Ryan Gop Congress for what they were. Biden called out Ryan on his vote not to enact the Supercommittee proposal to thwart immediate spending cuts to the Military. Called him out on the Gop hodling america hostage, so that the rich get more tax cuts that they dont need. pointed out that they RR campaign is Quick to Judge and Criticize the Obama Administations on foreign policy, but the only difference between the two is that RR wants war with both Syria and Iran, and Typical GOP STYLE NO EXIT STRATEGY. Finally i had a Old School Democrat calling out for enough of the GOP BULLstuff, the Nut Jobs are Running the NUT house that is the GOP, for the last 2 YEARS.

    October 12, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  14. John

    As far as substance, I think this debate was a draw. Ryan didn't directly answer a few of the questions, but on the other hand biden quoted incorrect fact after incorrect fact. As far as style goes though, Ryan won hands down; he was more respectful, poised, and certaintly did not snicker and laugh at everything the his opponent said, no matter how incorrect it was.

    October 12, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. Hitman

    Pretty scary knowing that Biden is a heart beat away from being the potus!

    October 12, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. sirock

    Biden lied couldn't defend against Lybia and tried to deflect. Everyone else saw this except the blind libs so sad they can't understand the truth

    October 12, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. 99percent

    Ryan hates the stimulus but lobbied for stimulus dollars saying it would "promote growth".
    Ryan hates the debt, but voted for $6 trillion of Bush waste (2 wars, tax cuts etc.)
    Ryan calls the $716 billion savings in the ACA "stealing from medicare" but included the same $716b in his own budget
    Would't answer what loopholes he would eliminate
    Wouldn't say what he would do differently in Syria, Iran, or Libya.

    CNN – when are you and the rest of the corporate media going to start fact checking and judging debates based on substance, who told the truth instead of who smiled more?

    October 12, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  18. Dina

    Dems are obviously so distraught at how much of a disaster Obama's debate performance was that they are forced to convince themselves that Biden won the debate even though all he did was demonstrate what a buffoonish, disrespectful blowhard he is.

    You demwits can keep telling yourself Biden won the debate if it makes you feel better, but those of us who live in the real world know what actually happened.

    October 12, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  19. Angela

    Ryan was too much of a lightweight next to Biden. His weaknesses were exploited big time!

    October 12, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Call it a Draw? The margin for error was 4%, and the poll was a 4% difference. Call that a draw? Keating Holland says the poll doesn't represent all Americans, only those that watched the debate...LOL. Well DUH Keating...., do you imagine undecided voters are going to be swayed by a vice presidential debate that they didn't watch? What a clueless dunce.

    October 12, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  21. kottmyer

    This is funny... In thefirst debate, President Obama was criticized as listless and not aggressive enough. In this debate, VP Biden was criticized as being too aggressive. Another article said that, on top of the aggression, there were absolutely no gaffes from Biden, which I think is why the Romney camp is in spin-mode now. They were expecting a doddering fool, and got something else. LOL.

    October 12, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  22. bart

    This debate showed why we are where we are in this country. The constant bickering between the two parties rather than working together on issues solves nothing. It separates our system our people and our country. Nothing will ever change until this does.

    October 12, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. hillbillynwv

    The debate reminded me of a father and son argument. Biden did well and Ryan didn't really state any details on how he and Romney would fix anything.

    October 12, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. moi

    Biden rocked!! Fact checks on CNN dismantled Ryan's BS already.

    October 12, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  25. Michael

    Did Ryan ever answer a question directly asked of him. He danced and pranced around the questions asked by both Martha and Biden. It was like, "well, you see, it's like this........". I STILL don't know what the Romney/Ryan ticket is proposing for the economy, to create jobs, and how they want to handle Medicare.

    October 12, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
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