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. Seriously!

    Believer: it was kooky! Like a grumpy old man who had a few too many!

    October 12, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. w5cdt

    Biden won. But it was a good debate.

    October 12, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. Bruce

    Biden was laughing like a clown interrupting Ryan the water drinker. Get a clown outfit for Biden and excuse Ryan for the bathroom. Rename the show 'FReakY the cLowN and peee wee'.

    October 12, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. john

    Both candidates suck. Vote for Gary Johnson to prevent WWIII.

    October 12, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. duchess

    Biden is a bully- a liar and stupid/silly old man. I can't respect a man that sits and LAUGHS at such serious issues. I'll be glad when the dems are out and the conservs are in. Pray GD!

    October 12, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Chad

    lol when republican politicans act like tough, edgy the polls bounce for them but when its a democrat showing they have nuts ooo nooo

    October 12, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Alyssa

    Was this another CNN poll that contained no response from liberals, minorities, or anyone under the age of 55? Wonder why you're last place in ratings against FOX and MSNBC...

    October 12, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Jim

    I saw an old man beating a child on national tv.

    October 12, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. tfinngolf

    Biden won this debate by a longshot. I don't see how this CNN poll discovered something different. they must have been polling foxnews viewers only

    October 12, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Representing independent Women

    BIden did too much smerking, interrupting and wasn't presidential. What surprised me and quite of few of the sewing class is that that young fellow was very poised and definatey more presidential. For what it's worth we have a group of 42 women, mostly undecided, and all agree Ryan won and Biden unfortunately whinned!

    October 12, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. joan

    it's amazing the total bias of the majority of these comments. Everyone seems to be looking through their own roses colored glasses when spouting an opinion. I could have done with less smirking but Biden aggressive answers did point out a lot of the discrepanices in Ryan's logic. More than anything elses, it's just sad to read how totally polarized we have become.

    October 12, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. Jennyvee

    I am demacratic , the biggest deficat reduction we could and should do for the American people is to stop giving FINANCIAL AID to these countries that are haters of the Western Infidels that is our label they say. Well I believe the protection starts here in America. Financial aid should be here in America. Those on the white house should be concerned with home AMERICA.When that happns you will see a healthy America again. We can not take care of the world!!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. Jim

    Biden uncovered the robotic and ignorand Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. Yo

    Anyone who has a reasonable mind can clearly see Biden won the debate. It is amazing to see how stupid this polls are.

    October 12, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. trickbunny

    I love how people are basing their opinions of a debate on Joe Biden's grins or laughs or whatever. Never mind what he had to SAY or what Paul Ryan had to SAY- way too many people are caught up in style over substance. "OMG, Biden was grinning like a hyena. How rude!" Naturaly, they don't address that, between Biden laughing at his opponent's constant hypocrisy and lies, he came off as far more knowledgeable about everything from the economy to foreign policy. The none-too-bright among us think Ryan won just because he kept a tight-lipped straight face the whole time? Seriously? But it doesn't matter that he sat there and criticized the stimulus the HE asked for money from? It doesn't matter that he whined about the US consulate in Benghazi not having a Marine security detail when HE voted against a 300 million package to provide that security? And then he gets called out on it- and repeats it again anyway. A guy like Ryan is counting on people who listen to slogans and NOT to detail to get elected. Wow. You folks who support a guy like Ryan are the reason Americans seems dumber every year.

    October 12, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. snt2

    I think Ryan did very well considering he had to debate two people at the same time. Martha Raddatz was definitely on Biden's side and even helped him get out of situations she felt he was struggling on. As I understand it, Biden interrupted Ryan more than 85 times!!! How rude it that? I don't think this debate helped the democrats among independents.

    October 12, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Jim Brentwood

    Ryan's inexperience amd incompetence was evident in unsubstantiated comments. Biden won this debate on substance and proof. Ryan is certainly not a President I ever would want to lead my country.

    October 12, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. Maria Willis Gordon

    I learned a new party game from Ryan. Lie, distort, drink. No detail, avoid, drink. Lie, distort, drink.

    October 12, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. Magesh

    Has anyone noticed that the CNN post-debate analysis team included more republican-leaning speakers than independent commentators. Is the CNN becoming a right-wing mouth piece?

    October 12, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. Common Sense Chuck

    From the looks of it you'd think Biden was the Republican. He WAS the angry old white guy!

    October 12, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. ddrm

    Biden behaved very unprofessional – it's one thing to be more assertive and another to act like a 5th grader. I have no problem with someone who commands the facts – but talking louder and making faces is something I tell my children not to do when trying to convince me. All he had to do is talk to his points without all the drama – very sad day for the Dem ticket

    October 12, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Romney and Ryan both are pathological liars and are getting away with nonsense. If those who support RR were to be classified, these could be the categories: (1) Die Hard Republicans, party-liners for generations, for whom the candidates are, does not matter (2) Highly prejudiced by race and cannot accept any other color/shade, for whom it does not matter who their candidate is as long as they are their shade (3) Tea Party radicals who are intellectually challenged (4) Hypocrites blaming Obama for constrained recovery who are in a denial mode of GOP conspiracy to fail Obama and finally, (5) Pathetic idiots like Dinesh D'Souza.

    October 12, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Common Sense Chuck

    Biden must be a closet Republican. He WAS the angry old white guy!

    October 12, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. Donna Jones

    I found Paul Ryan's comment regarding abortion intriguing as well as contradictory: "I believe life begins at conception which is why I am pro-life; and oppose abortion except in the case of rape, incest and the life of the mother."

    So my question is: if he believes life begins at conception, isn't that all life? Does the fetus created due to rape or incest not count as life as well?

    October 12, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. ReaganRepublican

    Did people who voted actually watch the debate? How could anyone say that Ryan won the debate unless there mind was made up before it started. Romney and Ryan will give no details of what they will do if they win. Anyone would be stupid to vote for someone who says that we will cut taxes by 20% but we won't know how we will do it until we meet with Democrats after the election. Why wouldn't democrats do the same obnoxious thing as republicans did the last four years. They will meet on inauguration day and say that that there number one goal is to not let anything Romney and Ryan propose go through. Anyone would have to be an idiot to think that it was President Obamas fault that he was not able to get through the jobs bill, the veterans bills, etc that he tried to do. I am disgusted by the anti-patriotic movement that has infiltrated the party I have belonged to all my life. I don't care who the President is, once the election is over, everyone works together to help America and Americans!!! Party first and America second should be grounds for treason.

    October 12, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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