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. ObaWendon

    Wars that will have to be paid for, tax cuts for the wealthy that will have to be paid for, vouchers for the elderly that will have to be paid for seem to be the promises of the GOP ticket this time. A grab bag of unknown solutions to big promises. 12 million jobs? What a lie. If R & R get elected do they REALLY think they will get things thru congress? If the split in Congress remains relatively the same as it is now, neither winner will be able to keep any promises.

    October 12, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. snoozie

    Biden hands down!

    October 12, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. 2 Cents

    This is to all Biden haters, get over it, he kicked Ryan’s butt left and right because he knows what he was talking about and also he was laughing because of Ryan’s / Romney plans and the whole fake act and pre scripted presentation which was demonstrated by Ryan and school kids like mathematics which no one can figure it out including themselves, and on and on and on, truth is ugly and we saw that last night coming out from Ryan. This country needs serious people like Obama and Biden to bring prosperity back to US not those jokers that their policies put us in this situation to begin with.

    October 12, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    The Obama campaign is self destructing.

    October 12, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. stacy100

    OMG! I'm a registered Independent and there is no way that I'm voting for anyone associated with Biden. He's nuts! Let's not forget that he is the most obnoxious person alive. Get rid of Biden...one heart beat away is just to close for me. I'm going to vote Republican....OMG.

    October 12, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  6. BreckNDpendent

    It would be nice to see a debate where the two politicians could ONLY address what THEIR administration would do if elected, NOT the constant bickering and attacking and saying what other would do. I think this would be an interesting format that NEITHER could possibly conform too for even a 30 minute debate. SHUT UP WITH THE ATTACKS & NEGATIVE CAMPAGNING. WE ARE SICK OF IT. Tell us what YOU will do with the future term and how you would do it.

    October 12, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. Alex 2282

    CNN is trying to walk the fine line , because of the Debates they are hosting next week, SHAME ON YOU CNN
    Binden Kick. A....

    October 12, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. the fox

    Ryan drank so much water during this debate that I had to get up three times to go to the bathroom.

    October 12, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. RS

    Not sure what made CNN go this far right but I feel that CNN cannot be my primary news source anymore. Anyone in his right mind knew that BIden won... by a mile last night.
    Ryan actually begged for stimulus money and then CRITICIZED the stimulus package?

    The GOP must all be on acid.

    October 12, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Bob C

    So, the same intelligence community that is being blamed for informing the President and the VP that there was a protest over a video in Benghazi Libya (there WAS no such protest and the intel community did NOT report this), can be relied upon to assure these clowns that Iran has no bomb to stuff fissile material into? Biden DID vote for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, so he is as guilty as Ryan of "putting two wars on a credit card". Anyone who interprets Biden's sneering, laughing, interrupting, blowhard buffoonery as winning this debate needs to have their head examined.

    October 12, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Mike

    Romney and Ryan both know that if you throw out numbers, it sounds more credible and knowledgeable. The problem is that their numbers are cooked

    October 12, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Naynee

    Wake up, America! Something happens to Obama, this is what you'll get...laughs and gaffes! LOVE the "change" they have given us. Want more ofthe same for the next four years? Well, there's your team then. Good luck with that.

    October 12, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. wolfpackbob

    It is The Economy, Mr. President. Your Economy, Mr. President. You built that, and that's no malarky

    October 12, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. Darren

    Anyone who thinks that Biden's behavior was justified needs to put the figurative shoe on the other foot. Suppose you were trying to speak and someone kept interupting you and making it difficult to say your peace. This was simply bad behavior. Biden, I understand, said some very factually inaccurate things: he stated that he did not vote for either war. That turned out to be bald faced lie.

    October 12, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. Lynn

    Joe did a great job. Romney was more aggressive, rude and snide than Joe was with Ryan. Ryan always looks like a person who is not telling the truth, body language says everything. Fast talking does not make it true nor does saying it over and over again. The truth will out!

    October 12, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. Jeff U.

    Why on earth shouldn't any intelligent, experienced policy expert smirk and ridicule an obvious idiot who can't (or refuses to) answer a VERY simple question about his basic arithmetic on taxes and the budget. Some of you need to go get your meds checked!!!

    October 12, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. Michael H.

    Biden's debate performance was lacking professionalism. I guess one has to behave this way when lacking in substance on the debate issues. He was more interested in theater then debating the issue(s). Sad to see this kind of behavior.

    October 12, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. scrappy

    I love CNN trying to dismiss there own poll because they don't like the results....
    this world is crazy

    October 12, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. hokiethug

    All of you Ryan supporters should remember he partnered with Akin on the redefinition of rape (i.e "legitimate rape") bill. Based on that alone it would be irresponsible to vote such a classless dolt into office.
    He was robotic during the debate; almost like a mannequin. There is no way that anyone with at least a half an ounce of sense could have watched that and thought Ryan won. No way whatsoever.

    October 12, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. David

    CNN's poll was of all viewers, most of whom already support a ticket and are voting for their choice, irrespective of performance. Like the current popular vote polling, it's within the margin of error. The polling of undecideds, however, was unequivocal: 50-31 Biden from CBS, 44-23 from X-box Live. The undecideds also thought Biden was more truthful by a whopping margin of 72-28. It's a much more relevant measure of the debate's impact. Clearly, they weren't as bothered by Biden's behavior as some in the media apparently were. In fact, it didn't seem to bother people outside the media bubble in any significant way.

    October 12, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    why have yyou not mentioned cbs poll....this means cnn is not fair

    October 12, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. hcyn12

    Rude not really, when dealing with pathological liars sometimes being assertive is the only way to call them out. Biden had to counter the lies and misinformation as they came out. In the first debate Romney was spewing lies and flip flopping on his plans like a fish out of water, but unfortunately he was never called out on the stuff he was saying. I find it funny how fast people can forget Romney statement about the forty seven percent of freeloaders in this country. This was something we all heard out of the horse’s mouth. Romney said it because he believes it period. If Romney is elected say good bye to clean air, clean water, public use of National Parks, social security, Medicare, unemployment, Medicaid just to name a few and expect that your taxes will go up. This the party of mean so expect nothing from them if your poor or middle class. Women also should consider that they will lose the ability to control their own bodies. Birth control pills will become very limited and only be available from certain places because they will allow business to opt out of selling them. So it is just a matter of time till you will not be able to even buy them. Of course legal safe abortion will be gone. Remember they will say anything to get elected if you don't believe it go back and listen to Romney just a few months ago. If Romney is elected he will be so beholden to his big contributors that he will be granting favors for years to come and it will touch our lives in ways like we have never seen before. Romney will be Bush on steroids do you really want that again!

    October 12, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Do you really want the republican war mongers in charge again? What is wrong with you people its like you don't ev en remember Iraq.
    Joe Biden was fine, he laughs as someone does not to cry, he has had a hard life. He was serious about war in Afghanistan and Iran, you boy Ryan was scary as hell and you should all put your personal politics aside and think about who these people are in the republican race and how much they continue to sacrifice in blood for money in wars. Everyone, get serious about this. Listen to their words, stop acting like its a cable show.

    October 12, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  24. John J. McGure

    Paul Ryan's debate peformance outshone the "drunkin uncle" at the wedding 10 to 1. Uncle Joe was rude, condescending, and obnoxious, acting childish and immature. Evidently, he thinks that unemployment war, and religious freedom are laughing matters. Is that the type of man you want to be Vice President?

    October 12, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  25. Rick

    In the most important debate of his political career, the Vice President decided it was acceptable to make the discussion a "laughing matter". In his duties as Vice President, or should he be required to assume the duties of the President, do we want a person that considers the most important discussions and decisions of his office to be a "laughing matter", condescending and rude to the listener who could very well be a very sensitive and volatile adversary? Or, do we want a level-headed, respectful, and polite champion for our best interests that is a gentleman with decorum and basic manners?

    Vice-President Biden is an embarassment to the Office of The Vice-President, to the American people, and to himself.

    October 12, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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