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. John

    Watching the debate between Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan I was shocked to see Vice President Joe Biden show not respect towards Congressman Paul Ryan for the whole debate. Jos Biden reminded me of a class bully who has no class or refinement to be in a place of great importance like the vice president of the United State of America. Children watched this debate and Mr. Biden’s action through the debate was the worst type of example to how we treat other people. It sends the message that it’s ok to act like a moron.

    October 12, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. chutzpa

    This is the most ridiculous poll I have ever seen. Biden devoured Ryan alive and Ryan looked like a sixth grader compared to Biden. Unless the surveyed were all republican, I can't fathom of how Ryan could have even got close? I think yesterday's debate was the exactly opposite of the presidential debate where Biden was the clear winner.

    October 12, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. AmandaH

    Biden was a JOKE! Reminded me of the insane Joker character from Batman. What was with the laughing? Many times at inappropriate times? Out of touch old man. They had FOUR YEARS, guess what they increase the deficit more than Bush did in the previous 8 years! Take responsibility for you FAILED policies. As a strong independent woman, I will not make the same mistake I did 4 years ago. VOTE for Change (ROMNEY/RYAN)!!!

    October 12, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. Newt

    If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I want to come back as Joe Biden for just last night. He ruled!! Ryan looked more like Gonzo than ever. Sorry, Gonzo, I really do like you, but the resemblance is uncanny. GOBAMA!!!!

    October 12, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. BostonSteve

    As a registered Democrat living in Massachusetts, I will be voting for Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan. I just can't see another 4 years of the Obama administration with no new ideas except borrowing more money from China and growing the government.

    October 12, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Na na na na, na na na na, hay hay, good by Obama! Great job Dip Sh– Joe! You helped the Republicans more than Obama did with his B.S. speech!

    October 12, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. Mr De

    Congrats to CNN for being a lil more Fair and Honest like FOX-NEWS!!

    October 12, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. Jeanna

    I have a bone to pick with this poll regardless of results. If you have a large amount of the viewers already well decided on who they are going to vote for (repubs-Ryan dems-Biden) and then another portion throetically split in the middle, the results are skewed. I just don't get what the point of it was. Lets not forget not all independants are undecided either. If they had done a poll on Undecided voters then it would have been much clearer. Otherwise, this is just a modge podge of opinions of too many different groups forced into one survey.

    October 12, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Bob

    Does anyone know if Biden was drunk??? It appeared, to me, that he was intoxicated. Does anyone know???

    October 12, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. burghlady

    Biden was obnoxious. While some might find this "home-town lingo," Appealing to the masses," "gritty and honest," I find it juvenile, disrespectful, rude, and desperate, I'm waiting for a grown-up to take control of the White House. The lack of decorum,leadership, and ideas is the reason we are in this state of non-productivity. VOTE ROMNEY AND RYAN!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. Dean

    Having watched FOX news and MSNBC dig deeper into the trenches of partisonship for the past few years, I've turned to CNN for candid and unbiased news reporting. After last night's CNN's post debate poll report, I can only say that America's best cable news channel has been reduced to the same biased, and low level journalism as the othe two. To report on a political issue using a poll primarily composed of republicans or demcrats is not only irresponsible, but plain pitiful journalism. It's totally irrelevant who one may think won the debate. It's a total different story for a reputable news outlet to use skewed data to report on a political issue. Shame on you CNN.

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

    lies, lies, lies, lies, lies and more lies form the two racists, liars, hypocrites, flip floppers romney and ryan. white people, get a life and stop falling for the lies.

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

    ryan won! ryan won!

    October 12, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. Kathy Frazier

    I realize Biden needed to be aggressive during this debate but his interruptions and hostile approach was a turnoff for me. I kept hearing him challenge Ryan's explanations about saving social security and Medicare but I am still waiting to hear the Obama plan to save social security. I thought Biden sounded a bit defensive in his approach

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

    Wow....CNN not being bias? Do I have the right website?

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

    You know, I continually wait in anticipation on 'fairness', and yet again distortion rules the conversation. Anybody that says that Ryan won this debate is either deaf, blind, or dishonest. He was noticeably uncomfortable when he was confronted with the real facts. I USED to watch CNN to stay abreast but they have become extremely bias.The anchors are educated professionals so you know they are informed, but rarely will you get ALL the facts from them. Must remember careers will come to an end, but reputations will last even after you're gone. Integrity, dignity and character will take you further than any elevation in your career.

    October 12, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. Amused

    So let me get this right. Conservatives choose a candidate the strongest Conservatives call a liar. And Conservatives are upset Democrats laugh at his running mate in the middle of a lie?

    Thats comical.

    October 12, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. Pete/Ark

    The odds of a political poll being accurate are about the same as the odds of beating a casino at blackjack 5 out of 9 times... not a joke, a close appoximation....

    October 12, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. uncle hank

    Why is the headline...."viewers split on who won"?.....it says in the article Ryan won every poll???......biased reporting by CNN...

    October 12, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. Steve

    If Biden was drunk then Romney must have been high...

    October 12, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. Marie

    I don't understand how a poll based on ONLY 381 voters has received so much attention. Shame on CNN for usiing this poll when the poll on the website paints a completely different picture and is based on thousands more people

    October 12, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  22. Beth

    Ryan won hands down, Biden came across as a bully!!! Not letting Ryan speak ect.. The Palin thing he added made me sick, and I would hate that man to ever be in charge!!!!!! Go Romney!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. LtButRt

    Bob, Are you drunk? You're attempt at comedy is dumb!

    October 12, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. adams63

    They didn't pole me

    October 12, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  25. Killbucket

    Most Conservatives will NOT say they are Republican.

    When most Republicans are identifying themselves as Independent, this audience could well be 605 Republican.

    October 12, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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