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. Scott

    Must have really pained this network to actually post the results that Ryan won the debate.


    October 12, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. Rick Schrager

    Actions speak louder than words. That said, Biden looked like a hungry used car salesman trying to pawn off a lemon. His smirks, chuckles and disingenuous smiles reeked of misdirection.

    October 12, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. Mrr Anderson

    When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.

    October 12, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    made up my mind ,biden was a jerk,obama has lost my vote ,rude and crude and ryan was a gentleman,obama has not layed out any plans ,ANYBODY THAT DONT KNOW HOW THEY WILL VOTE BY NOW ,IS PLAIN STUPID AND UNIFORMED

    October 12, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Mark

    Ryan LOST and we all know it, no depth in his responses and no details, i.e. How to pay for a $5 Trillion dollar tax cut without killing the middle class ( which is mathematically impossible). Also that poll listed here is useless how can you cite a poll with +\- 5!?! Very inaccurate!

    October 12, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. West Coast

    Funny, EVERYONE, I talked to said Biden was an embarrassment as the VP. Can you imagine this guy representing the US? They all said, in varying degrees, that Ryan definitely won. It wasn't even close! I wonder what the excuses from Obama will be this time? Meteor shower? Lightning bugs?

    October 12, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. To tell the Truth ~

    Biden would have won, except he sabotaged himself with his condescending demeanor evident in his facial expressions. His handlers need their butts kicked and hard. I imagine they are the ones who told him to do that. Big mistake.

    October 12, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. berticode

    Its a shame CNN is leaning more and more to the right wing. The woman and the man in CNN panel last night talking about Biden's 'rudeness' didn't mention the same when Romney was incredibly rude to polite Obama last week.

    Biden spoke facts, Ryan spoke fantasy. End of story.

    October 12, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. donna

    Nicole Wallace has it correct when she said that Biden may have turned off independent voters.

    October 12, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Walter

    Your own CNN online poll say Biden 61%!

    October 12, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. valwayne

    Biden was an absolute JERK. Instead of discussing the issues or telling the nation about Obama's PLAN to make anything better all he did was smirk, and interrupt, and grin like a loon. He as nasty, and condescening, and his behavior was far below the dignity of his office. The nation lost most of the ability to hear real issues disussed because Biden, trying to make up for Obama's failure, didn't want to discuss real issues. He just wanted to act like a JERK! Where do we go with the debates when one candidate decides to be a total jerk? Also what happens if both candidates decide to behave like Jerks. We were spared that humiliation by the professionalism of Rep Ryan, but what happens if two candidates decide its in their interest to behave like Biden did last night?

    October 12, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. us_1776

    LOL !!

    Ryan was outed last night.

    Biden owned him.


    October 12, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Howard

    With all the photo ops and fund raisers, how does Obama find time to squander SIX TRILLION DOLLARS of OUR hard earned money ??? Well, we know he doesn't have time to fulfill his duties as President. After discovering how 60% of his online/overseas contributions hide who the donors are, we now know how he has raised nearly a BILLION dollars, much of it from countries who are anti-American ... what's he paying them off with ???. And, who helped pay his Harvard tuition? ... It's pretty obvious WHY he's paid over a million dollars to seal his college records. And, regarding the murder of our Ambassador and Navy Seals in Libya, Obama is still trying to cover up his lies about the obscure web video, instead of the truth about a planned terrorist attack ... while Biden lies to the American people about never receiving multiple requests from our Ambassador, for more security. After getting away with the cover up over the Fast and Furious murders, they now think they can get away with ANYTHING !!! ...Time to replace these liars with real leadership !!!

    October 12, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Go Romney Ryan. Keep on kicking their you now whats

    October 12, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Anne

    Biden should have been wheeled right to the dementia unit in a clown suit.

    Hatchet Face Martha should concern herself with securing a good plastic surgeon

    October 12, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Eric

    Biden was a bad man, very disrespectful and rude. Just strange, yucky man. To think he's 2nd in command scares me. Ryan was someone I would trust, he's level headed and just feels trustworthy. Biden feels like a liar and slippery snake to be honest.

    October 12, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. Jack 63

    @Amalasan Yep the left wing got their marching orders...when you see a 'topic' suddenly appear all being talked about instantaneously and simultaneously by a group of people like these left wingers saying 'ryan was wrong' then you know they have been coordinated and most likely paid for their time.
    You know it makes it so blasted obvious when you try that tactic right left wingers?

    October 12, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. Wes Monroe

    Biden just received his new set of dentures yesterday and he wanted to show them off. SNL will have a field day at Joe's expense!

    October 12, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Dan

    Hey Amalasan

    Watch the debate again – Biden was rude... Maybe you will all pull your head out of the sand or where ever else is when November 7th rolls around. The only people in the Obama Biden camp are the Liberal Ideologs and the Left Wing Media.

    October 12, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Who do you think fared better in the vice presidential debate?
    This is not a scientific poll
    Biden61%21872Ryan39%13902Total votes: 35774

    October 12, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. 2Suthrn


    You really think rightwingers are paid for our time, debating people like you?

    Furthermore, you don't think that Biden was rude? Romney allowed President Obama to finish his statements while Biden cut off Paul Ryan and the moderator and continually laughed condescendingly at both even when discussing military budget cuts and nuclear arms issues in the Middle East. Even Piers Morgan and other prominent Democrat journalists admitted that he needed to knock off the smiling and laughing when talking about serious issues. Do you really think that the thought of a nation that swears to wipe one of our allies off the face of the earth and calls us satan having nuclear weapons is a laughable matter?

    October 12, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. Tuan Nguyen

    Wow, what a different contrast. The debate clearly showed a gentleman vs. a grumpy old man with bad table manners !! Biden came off as a joker...he can play the joker role in the next Batman movie. It clarified and verified that Pres Obama, Vice Pres Biden and their administration need to be sent to a communication training course. Instead of spending time listening to the opponents, they just talked over them as shown in this debate...no wonder they did not get anything done in the last 4 years beside shoving the Obama Care down American people's throat by passing the law without reading and understanding what were in it. By the way, did Biden just get new Dentures from Obama Care?? It seem like he was flashing the dentures very often in the debate. If American was worrying about Ryan just a heart beat away from being President should something happened to Romney, we need to worry about Biden even more by observing his bad table manners last night. That was embarassing to say the least for being a VP of USA. Ryan instead came across more mature and have more patience and substances than Biden. It is funny that Democrats are claiming Marlarkey from Romney & Ryan...my got they should have look at themselves in the mirror. There are no better or more professional liars than the 2 in the White House right now.

    October 12, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Did they watch the same debate I did?

    October 12, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. ru serious

    Biden was a complete buffoon, those facial expressions and grins were cringe-worthy. Ryan was credible and professional. No contest.

    October 12, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. moving1

    biden did what Obama did not, and now he was rude: CNN, just say, we want Mr. O to loose.

    October 12, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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