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. Chuckt20

    Don't think anything came from this other than just proving how much Biden is out of touch. I really think both of them are not telling the truth and using some fuzzy math. The only thing america learned was that Biden is all about personal attacks. People think Rush is harsh, but he is suppose to be. Our VP is so unprofessional and thinks he is so right that he has to degrade someone else to make himself look good. This guy is one step from being president.... Wow

    October 12, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. Liz

    Ok so..the two VP candidates had almost equal time debating. Biden was being a fact checker, and informing the public on the bull that Ryan was spewing forth – and he's a bad guy? You have Ryan, who was too busy telling "Back in St. Olaf.." stories, instead of giving anyone an idea of WHATEVER policy they can magically pull out of their pockets? I don't understand how Romney can tell 27 lies in 38 minutes, while Biden is telling fact after fact and he's the "rude guy". I'm sorry, but if I had to deal with a guy who is flip flopping his way to controlling the United States and having his hand hover over the giant red button, I'm going to pick the guy that is not going to stand for any silly lies. Also, I'm a bit confused about the "split" VP debate graph, considering I voted – and right before it was posted on the front page it was about Biden 65%/Ryan 35%...although, considering the type of conversation that went on after the debate – I feel as though CNN is now officially Fox News Jr. Some of the worst conversations ever, and it made it quite clear that the entire network lives in a box.

    October 12, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. Bailey

    ""Yes Joe, I sent you a letter asking for our States portion of the criminal package you called a 'Stimulus Package". Our future and present taxpayers in Wisconsin were stripped of their money both present and in the future with your illegal and immoral theft in the name of "Redistribution of Wealth". Its only proper I as their Senator fight to get that money back to them before you gave it away to all your socialist buddies."

    October 12, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Timothy

    I am in awe to see how many people were not embarrassed with Biden's behavior. I would be shocked if my daughter acted that way in public. Our VP looks too immature to be in a room of adults well alone be a world leader.

    October 12, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. Alisha

    SCORE: Ryan 1 – Biden O

    October 12, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. Neche

    I thoroughly enjoyed the Vice-President – I felt that Paul Ryan was robotic. He sound like a robot on rewind and than the computer chip had been tampered with. He did not look presidential to me at all. Ryan had no sense of sincerity nor substance that could be validated. I felt that the VP was himself, and by all means we are not upset about Joe Biden performance when the great Romney did the exact same thing with our President. No we would not be upset would we?

    October 12, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. another independent

    I think what should be asked is "Who lost". That's easy to answer.... the American people who were trying to see what the differences were between the 2 candidates. Was VP Biden so unsure of his views that he had to talk over Paul Ryan? Did Martha think she was doing anyonne a favor by allowing VP Biden to act in such a manner?

    October 12, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. j

    "The Republican running mate's four point advantage ... is within the survey's sampling error"
    yep, and so was the popular vote at the specific point in time when Obama got the last electoral votes he needed for the election in 2008 .. dead heat taking into account the MoE, surprising for such a "popular" CiC .. and obviously not taking into account votes cast after that point.

    October 12, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. jeff illinois

    Biden was not nice and does not get my vote.

    October 12, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. dan

    I am amazed at how some people felt it was ok for 69 year old Mitt Romney to bulldoze the moderator and interupt the president with lies and falsehoods, but when 70 year old Joe Biden forcefully presents the facts he is being arrogant and disrespectful. On Afghanistan, on medicare, on taxes and on the rights of women to be actual equal members of society with control of their own bodies and lives, Joe Biden won hands down. This lifelong Republican will be voting for Obama/Biden and any other democrat in the House and Senate that i can.

    October 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. Cindy

    I've been on the fence for quite a while, but after watching the debates I'm going to go with Obama. I think Romney will cause great damage to the middle class, and his obvious support of the rich over those who aren't is getting a little tedious.

    October 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. willy1505

    The debate should have settled one issue in everyone's mind; the prospect that Joe Biden is only a heartbeat away from being our President is terrifying. This "goof ball" is capable of anything. Forget what you think about Obama. Any reasonable person should vote for Romney just to eliminate that prospect. It's more and more obvious why he was chosen to run with Mr. Obama; "assasination insurance." What a clown; and yet another failed attempt on Mr. Obama's part to bully his way back into the lead. The President has done what could never have been done by his opponents; he's proven his incompetence in ways even his ardent supporters can't deny. Thanks Barry!

    October 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. jimbo84

    I used to like Joe Biden – thought he was the type of guy who could reach across the aisle and get things done...but he's become more of a side-show as VP. His performance last night was really odd – but not surprising based on how he's conducted himself over the past 4 years. I have been extremely disappointed in both the Pres and VP during the debates – why all the focus on taxes – that's not going to cure the economy or come close to closing the $16 trillion debt. Last night – Biden reminded me of some old guy in a bar that's had too much to drink.

    October 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. kenny

    Sen. Biden voted for the Afghanistan resolution on Sept. 14, 2001 which authorized “the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”

    And on Oct. 11, 2002, Biden voted for a resolution authorizing unilateral military action in Iraq, according to the Washington Post

    And last night, Biden claimed he did not vote for either. What does he think we are? Stupid?

    October 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. h2oclerk

    On principle, I'd take Ryan over "Drunk Unc" snarling Joe Biden any day, but surprised Biden doesn't edge out Ryan in this poll. Ryan, I think, missed his mark in his closing statement, and could have done much better.

    October 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Questions401

    The only thing I care about is Biden made a promise that he and the Obama administration would not push their religious values on me, Ryan promised he would… Biden wins in my eyes for that reason alone.

    October 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. cnnmembuh

    Biden's practiced, inappropriate laughter in the middle of Ryan's comments, along with his constant interruptions, were obviously calculated attempts to frustrate, irritate and impede Ryan from making his points. Ryan weathered all that pretty well, and Biden ended up appearing like an underhanded, high school-ish debater.

    October 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. Mark

    Obama/Biden do NOT have a positive record to run on. What you saw last night was an attempt to bully/ridiculte/embarrass the younger Ryan–who showed so much more substance and poise than the Vice President. Our country needs Romney/Ryan–and that's where my vote will go.

    October 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  19. JennyHarris

    Joe Biden has had bad plastic surgery and too much botox. He looks like a vulcan.

    October 12, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. CDA

    I love that Ryan would say things that were totally inaccurate, Biden would laugh at how egregious they were, and then respond with the actual facts. Its a debate, and if one side is lying about the other, I dont know how else to handle it. A lack of emotion in the response shows as being too submissive, while another is too arrogant. Nothing works.

    What woman in their right minds would vote for this ticket? Ever have a pregnancy scare and have it be just that, a scare? Imagine having no options but having a child you dont want/cant afford/cant care for.

    October 12, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. julie

    .............auh, lookat all the poor romney/ryan supporters...........saying the VP was rude, disrespectful, etc, BUT WHEN ROMNEY DID THE EXACT SAME THING IN DEBATE #1 nothing was said he was so PRESIDENTIAL a lyin leader oh did I say lyin so sorry we know rom never lies or flip Flops like he did in debate #1 ya right the ole "double standards"

    GET OVER IT r&r supporters your man came in second..he LOST

    O/B 2012 for foward moving folks the rest of ya just move out of the way.....

    October 12, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. JL

    I wasn't impressed with either VP in terms of substance. Ryan mostly repeated what Romney already told us last week and Biden spent half the debate calling Ryan a liar. They only telling difference between the two was their demeanor. Ryan was poised and professional while Biden acted like a child, laughing and interrupting Ryan the whole night. You could tell Biden was trying to speak to the older voters, but if there's one thing I know about grandparents is that they can't stand when your impolite.

    October 12, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. Brenda Kilby

    Biden was great. when he got a chance to answer.
    I think the newswoman was bias.

    October 12, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Scott

    Yes CNN, your own front page poll gives the debate to Biden by a 60/40 margin...what are you trying to spin?

    October 12, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. The Rhomboid Position Is Wrong For America!

    V.P. Joe Biden clearly won the debate last night!! He trounced his young inexperienced opponent with the clear answers that resonate with Americans, while Ryan espoused the Rhomboid plan which would be devastating for Americans who are not rich and would be quick to take us to war again. As to the 'malarkey' comment by Biden, Mirriam-Webster defines this word as meaning "insincere or foolish talk" which is just what Ryan was putting out. OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!

    October 12, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
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