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. Desi

    I don't care what polls show, but one thing is for sure. Mr. Biden knew all aspects of running (partly running) the country. Mr Ryan came out as completely clueless, he had nothing to answer. He had a one-point agenda, denounce Obamacare and anything Obama. Shame Mr. Ryan had nothing concrete to offer.
    And people, please the debate was not on mannerisms. If Joe Biden would have let the other speaker talk, he'd be considered too weak like Obama, so whatever he did was correct. You run the country and the world like that. Vote for Obama & Biden

    October 12, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. sunny

    Such a disgraceful display of unprofessionalism, rudeness, arrogance, throwing the intelligence agency under the bus,and out right lying. I didn't expect more from Biden and don't expect any better from the administration and democratic party. These are not the kind of people I want running the country! Wise up everyone, get your facts, there's a long history of Obama you don't seem to know about or care. But the country we know is dependent on you knowing Obama's real agenda for us! It isn't good! Romney/Ryan all the way!

    October 12, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Romney > obama

    I have to admit that this was one of the worse debates I've seen in a long time. I don't think I learned anything new. Biden was too obnoxious (and low on facts) and Ryan allowed Biden to talk over him.

    Biden also comes across kooky and dishonest.

    October 12, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. FM

    The debate was ok, but can not be comparred to that of the president, however I think Biden won the debate.

    October 12, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. jan falk, LCSW

    Biden was masterful, he called Eddie Munster on his "Malarky",which is what all sane people should be saying when their pants are on fire. WHat is their secret tax plan? what was the answer? Its too complicated, its a secret. What sane person would vote for this candidate: wants to start more wars, doesnt have a plan to reduce deficit that they are willing to disclose, won't disclose last ten years of taxes, thinks rape is contraception, wants to overturn a woman's right to choose...Biden is the MAN. GOP looked like sweating little girls.

    October 12, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Namej r thomas

    Ryan did very well. Biden was a buffoon Many of us wanted to wipe that smirk off Bidens face. We have an Ambassador RAPED and mudered and Biden sits there and laughs. He and Obama are pure evil

    October 12, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Benny

    I would have to agree that this debate lacked a lot of substance by both candidates. I was unimpressed by both Biden and Ryan. In regards to the comments about Biden's facial expressions, I would have to say that if anything hurt the vice presidents in this debate, it was his obviously arrogant smirks while Ryan was talking. Again, just want to re-emphasize that I felt both candidates lacked substance in this debate. If this debate was the only knowledge I had of both parties, I would write in Chuck Norris 🙂

    October 12, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. BLH

    I'm a bit tired of hearing about the rich need to pay more. Defining the Rich is a matter of perspective. To the majority of the middle class members of the House & Senate are Rich. These so called "Leaders" make a minimum of 2 times what the average American worker brings home. They don't have to worry about Retirement, Social Security or Health Care.
    If we really want to level the playing field this would be a good place to start. We should all live and abide by the same laws and regulations. I don't believe our elected officials should be creating laws that only apply to the people below them.

    October 12, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. John

    I can see why nothing gets done in congress if Biden debate antics are any indication of how he acts when supposedly working out bi-partisan difference in congress. How would you react in congress if any idea that Biden didn't agree with was met with a smirks, interruptions and laughs? Biden's demeaner showed lack of leadership and respect.

    October 12, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  10. Wayne

    Won / Lost who can say... the election will tell... Obama / Biden are losing the election and they had nothing to lose by that stunt last night... Biden was a total jerk, rude, obnoxious, etc... it helps to get a moderator thats Obamas friend too... Who really lost ABC with their clear and convincing bias

    October 12, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. ohio

    BIDEN won! absolutely no question. The guy knew his facts and even ROmney's fiction better than Ryan
    even knew what day it was. Foreign policy, tax breaks, medicare, all the subject Biden just nailed it all.
    Ryan's pause on the abortion question was also very troubling to me.

    October 12, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. LBC

    Joe Biden was obnoxious. Obama/Biden can't run on their record or policies, so they have to take the focus off the issues.
    They try to distract the American people with theatrics and lies about their opponents. They are the great spenders of other peoples money and unfortunately we will be paying for this failed administration for years to come. Neither candidate brought much substance to this debate, but I would give the slight edge to Ryan for his demeanor and composure.

    October 12, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. Mel

    Who in the world thought that Ryan was better/won the debate????? He didn't SAY ANYTHING!! No stats, no specifics about the Republican agenda...just like "his boss"....no further info was given!!! We know nothing more than we did before the debate as to what they would do!! This is just nuts, that half the people thought NO INFORMATION won the debate and/or that is who they are gonna vote for!! Martha Raddatz even ASKED Ryan, what specifics can you tell the American people? And he said NOTHING!! She then said...No specifics? Ok then...nothing. How can you be an informend voter for the Republicans if you don't know ANYTHING about what they would do???? Your just voting then for the PARTY not the person who is gonna be the President of the U.S. That's just nuts!!! Keep asking for specifics and all you get, as Joe Biden said...is MALARKY!!!!

    October 12, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. Sam Bass

    Ryan is smarter than Obama and Biden put together,,by far,,Im a business man, I can see this..

    October 12, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. PMcG

    "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."

    Talk about spin. 1/3 of 100% is 33.33 so according to your %s it appears evenly split or leaning independent. If Ryan won 48% of the audience, I'd say he was the clear winner of the evening... he won over more independents (their target audience).

    October 12, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. Griffin

    Malarky – and calling BS on Romney & Ryan – is what is going to be remembered from last night. Romney is a liar. Ryan is a liar. The Republican Taliban is bad for the middle class, women, small business, big business, the middle class...the Republican Taliban led by Romney and all those Republican kooks are bad for AMERICA and other living things. Vice President Biden simply held Ryan to task for his non-answers. And his campaign's outright lies.

    October 12, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Mike from Orlando, Florida

    Why even bother with these polls? Most people had their minds made up the day after Obama was inaugurated anyways. Yeah, I sound cynical but it's also the truth.

    October 12, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    I don't know who won but I surely wouldn't want Joe Biden to run the Country if necessary. This nut doesn't know when to shut his mouth and listen and seems to be opposed to any open forum from his advisors if needed. He seems to be bullheaded.

    October 12, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. J.L. Fernandez

    Ryan made an outstanding presentation but Biden was superior because defending the last 3-1/2 years of Obama government, you truly have to be a magician to support and make people believe that Obama deserve a second term.
    I truly beleive Mitt Romney is a better candidate to win the election.

    October 12, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Trond Johannessen

    Sample of 381? Are you kidding? Yahoo sampled over 24.000 by the time I logged out, and they had Biden ahead 53 – 47%.

    October 12, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Michael

    OMG! I'm an Independent, but whomever feels Biden won are simply stupid and would elect a dem. even if he or she was were from another planet! OMG America, I guess this is why were becoming one of the most ignorant counties in the world...GOD SAVE US ALL!!

    October 12, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. Buckadee

    I was a Obama voter last election. Last night summed up the last four years. Arrogance, no respect for others, It's my way or either it's my way. Nobama this time. I'm looking for a change to the change that was promised.

    October 12, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  23. mike

    Did You fall and hit your head? 16 trillion in debt!!!!!!!!!!!! SOCIALIZED MEDICINE that doesn't work never has, OH but it will now??? INflation is thru the roof!!! OUR money is worth less than Canadian money for the first time in history, and all you can talk about is what a man of the peeple Joe Blow is?? SHEEPLE!!!!!!!!!! Shame on all of us we will get what we deserve, we will become a third world country!

    October 12, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. JRD

    The debate is irrelevant. The facts speak for themselves...which I thought Ryan did a good job pointing out. We can't take another 4 years of lip service or we will continue to weaken this country. I never thought I'd say this but Obama/Biden must go!!! They're destroying what our country was fundamentally built on. Vice President Biden?!?! – You behaved like a child, shame on you.

    October 12, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. Scott F

    The Tax cuts and decluttering of the tax code that Romney/Ryan want to impose worked in 1986. It is a fact that it made the economy grow, created jobs and prosperity. What happened- Liberal democrats have consistently cluttered the tax code with thousands upon thousands of double and triple taxation schemes.
    Biden truly has no clue about anything from his completely disrespectful shenanigans he pulled during the debate. Biden was that know it all blow hard drunk at the end of the bar that never shuts his pie hole. Biden is that loser that expands on everything but knows nothing.

    October 12, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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