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. Guero

    Ma, Pa, Romney n Ryan taught me somethin' today. Trillions in debt + interest = 0 new revenue + spending cuts – tax cuts. We just need to buy a bigger house and eliminate the mortgage interest deduction to pay off the debt. If wez can't buy one, ask your parents.

    October 12, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Mediacompletelywrong

    Biden clearly won.. I am not sure what debate the news has been watching. This week the roles were reverse Ryan had the same demeanor as Obama did last week. Although, when watching Ryan debate I felt like I was watching a amateur debating . Ryan wasn't a good debater! His performance was equivalent to a high schooler. The media is giving him way too much credit. Maybe, because the expectation level is so low for Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Mary Jo Bush

    You know, if the poll had been reversed, the news media would have said Biden won by a landslide lmao. Ryan did a GREAT job - am thrilled for him and the Romney/Ryan ticket that they now have clear momentum! Biden looked like a Saturday Night Live caricature and was AWFULLLLLLL!

    October 12, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Jeff

    Did Paul Ryan ever think about playing Eddie Haskel on "Leave it to Beaver"? Sorry, my friend, the American people want specifics and substance. Voters want details and not a golly gee swell Frat boy in the white house.

    October 12, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. pat

    republicians are smarter tham democrats

    October 12, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Mary Smith

    Well, of course Ryan won. He was the only one taking it seriously!!! And his solutions were the only ones stated. Biden gave no hint as to solutions (which has gone on for 4 years and why we are going to vote for Romney).

    October 12, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. MiddelClass for R\R

    Biden is the face of the DEMS...you should be proud!

    October 12, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. Scott

    Let's be honest- Biden took him to the woodshed, and it was long past due. Finally someone with the nerve to call BS when they hear it. If that's "rude", then so be it.

    October 12, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. Rob

    All republicans who say Biden lost need to stop begin sore losers, Biden dominated Ryan!

    Bidden pointed out all the lies and miss leaded facts from Romney's debate

    October 12, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. Kris in AL

    48% Ryan 44% Biden SOUNDS LIKE A WIN TO ME!

    We know this race is close.... and now Romney is ahead..... but Romney is ahead...... and STAYS THAT WAY AFTER LAST NIGHT!

    October 12, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. guyfromla

    Did not know lying was a virtue in Presidential Debates – Martha Raddatz did a good job without calling Ryan a liar, but sending Biden's question back to Ryan to answer. No wonder Ryan was called the Biggest Brown Nose in pre-School. He started lying very early in his life!!

    October 12, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. Gore Redux

    Joe Biden may have hid his gaffe-prone "Bluto" impression,but his channelling of Al Gore is worth an Academy Award.

    October 12, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. Andre

    It is very funny for people to say VP Biden was unprofessional . He was no more or less different than Mitt Romney in his delivery. With that said I guess Mitt Romney was unprofessional in his debate approach.

    October 12, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. AL

    When has body language and facial expression been the primary factor in a debate? SUBSTANCE and FACTS are the primary factors in a debate! As eloquent and astute as Congressman Ryan is, he did not present substantiative and a fair amount of factual information to prove his case. Vice President Biden brought facts and his knowledge of the facts straight to the debate and demonstrated his capability to be in his position. Vice President Biden is the CLEAR victor in this debate. Congressman Ryan did not more provide the facts as to how he and Governor Romney will and can resolve problems and did not explain Governor Romney's constant changes on issues.

    October 12, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. Robert

    Great debate! HANDS DOWN,, Biden ripped Ryan apart!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. Ninian Beall

    Heaven help us if either one of these two nimrods ever sit in the Oval Office.

    October 12, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. PJ

    @ keepingup1. Are you just stupid or something. Biden had one and a half minutes more in the VP debate and Obama had close to four minutes more time. Did you even watch these debates or are you just saying things to show how stupid you are?

    October 12, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. Plew

    Paul Ryan was no match to Biden. Only Axel and Gergen thinks Ryan did yowell apart from all the those republican that are responsible for the economic detriments of this country. You could see the lies any the deceitfulness that the Romne/ Ryan campaigne is all about. Medicare will be a nightmare for people 55 and above under the Repubs. Taxes on the middle class will force more homeowners out their homes. America will be hated more in the middle east because all these guys want to wage war on every turf – they want to be the BIG BAD WOLF. Forget about education for our children, we will be too busy paying taxes to send them to college.

    October 12, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. ladyjean

    First of all this poll is bogus. NOTICE: MORE REPUBLICANS WERE POLLED THAN DEMOCRATS! Joe Biden was informed, knew the facts, had a command of the issues whereas ryan gave no specifics, either couldn't or wouldn't. I suspect he couldn't because he and romney change their views depending on who they're talking to that minute! Joe Biden was the clear winner and ryan looked like an amateur who spewed "talking points" and no substance!

    October 12, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. veesrock

    Republicans are not known for being gracious losers, so it's no surprise that they are applauding Ryan. When the polls favor them, they are in agreement, but when the polls favor the democrats, the polls are always wrong or it's a conspiracy theory. The Republicans have a tendency to arrogantly talk "at us".... smugly telling us that their trickle down policies benefitting the wealthy will somehow benefit us as well. It was this very mindset that was a major force in propelling us into a financial mess during George W's tenure. Now as the mess is being cleaned up and the recovery is visible, the Republicans would like to step in again and apply those same economic policies that got actually caused the recession. Why do the ultra rich need tax breaks? Why is it ok for us to elect a President who blatantly disregards 47%..... people such as my mom and friends who work multiple jobs at such low wages that they still have difficulty supporting their families? These people are not takers... they are people who have broken their backs to contribute to this country. Romney and Ryan both come from privileged backgrounds so they can't possibly understand this, especially Romney.

    October 12, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. Andre

    Again we talk about terrorist attacks , Republicans BACKED the creator of the Anti Muslim Video while that may not be the cause for the violence in Libya it was very much inciting a riot. If you want to blame Obama for that murder then blame Bush for 911 blame the republicans for the Iran Contra , praise Obama for the removal of a dictator that previous presidents could not do.

    October 12, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. jigglefree

    Depends on your perspective. Just make sure you vote!!

    October 12, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. Tres Powhatan

    I totally agreed with CNN when they claimed that Romney won the debate. But the claim that Ryan won the Biden/Ryan debate is a pure lie. And as a result, I"ll miss CNN.
    Welcome BBC.

    October 12, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    try to get a reasonable sample next time...381 must have emptied your polling account.

    October 12, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. Frank Flood

    I wonder is this paragraph would have been included had the poll numbers reflected BIden winning by the same 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.

    How do you honestly call yourselves objective journalists with stuff like this? How about ignoring the Libya tragedy / foreign policy failure / cover up a little more so you can be sure to get Gina Gershon's popularity with the gay community its proper coverage. Very disappointing!!

    October 12, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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