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. Anonymous

    Romney sound on economy? my foot. He is good on his economy and for the filthy rich who are cheating the nation. He has no integrity, honesty and credibility. Refusing to share his tax returns, hiding his wealth offshore to evade taxes, bankrupting businesses and stealing from the poor? he is sound on economy. Regret such ignorance.

    October 12, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Steve

    With the Obama/Biden ticket being 0 for 2 in the debates, maybe they'll reexamine their pathetic platform and come up with a real plan to undo some of the damage that they did to our economy over the last 4 years! ...congrats to Paul Ryan on your V.P. debate victory over" bumbling Joe Biden!"

    October 12, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. ugh

    Biden failed only because of his over-acted theatrics. We don't need this kind of garbage from the second highest postion in Washington – we want facts; not thespian games.

    October 12, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. Czarrboro

    I think Rush has it right: Biden IS the new "Progressive" Democrat party. They are arrogant, loud, lazy, out of touch (I mean, really, $250K per year income is Middle Class?), math-challenged, fear-mongering haters.That's what we all saw last night. Real Democrats have been fleeing the party ever since Obamacare.

    October 12, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. blessourprez

    You Romneybots REALLY need to stop drinking that krazy kool-aid.
    Joe Biden cleaned your boy's clock, and you know it.
    Go Joe !!!
    Score points for Team Obama Biden

    October 12, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Justeeny

    I think Biden did a good job-- for the Romney/Ryan campaign.

    Some specifics. I think women that are concerned about jobs will be very enthusiastic about Romney/Ryan. R/R WILL give this economy a much needed kick-start, that Obama has been completely unable to do. I don't believe other issues will resonate to women like jobs. I think R/R has made serious headway with women! Nothing like gainful employment to give women freedom these guys are the guys that can do it.

    Also, Biden, with with hysterical laughter, and dissing of Ryan came off as just arrogant and maybe a little deranged), and offended millions of us. If he had been debating a woman and acted like that, she would have been very offended. And I think there are millions of women that know men like that, and will judge according.

    I know BIden felt like he had to show strength, but he just appeared very antagonistic, and very immature, compared to Ryan.

    I firmly believe Ryan solidified the Romney/Ryan lead. He appeared so much more presidential, with his calm, measured statements.

    Romney/Ryan have an actual plan for America. Obama/Biden have the "It Could Be Worse" campaign.

    Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 12, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    why does your web site sayBiden 61% Ryan 39% voteing?

    October 12, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. makdjalali

    I can tell you who the looser is? US Americans , who have been rediculed by this administration the last 4 years.
    We have been laughed at by the entire administration ,who are simply in total denial , they behave as BIDEN did, they
    think the life blood of this country has been a joke.

    October 12, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. betty

    These debates mean squat. Almost everyone has decided who they will vote for. The debate is just for show.

    October 12, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Republican are all liers just go with that

    October 12, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. Taylor

    I honestly don't understand why Vice President Biden was laughing the whole time. Nothing was funny, he's completely arrogant and rude.

    October 12, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. Sam

    Biden won that debate...he spoke statistically....we're sick and tired of the war mongers...they inherited the greatest and best sulplus in the history of this country and plunged us to the deepest and highest deficit...

    October 12, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. Geek

    Headline says "Debate watchers split on who won the debate"

    Once you start reading it says 48-44 Ryan...and then the apology as to why it is 48-44 Ryan..gotta love spin 🙂
    if it was 48-44 Biden, headline would have went "Biden crushes Ryan!"

    all I saw for most of the debate was one guy is trying to put his thoughts together and another trying to interrupt them...If that was a designed strategy, it worked for Biden....

    In my opinion, the losers are the American people...I was just looking at Biden and going "It's crazy that this dude is a hearbeat away"...I wanted to hear what Ryan had to say, but he couldn't really say much w. Biden's misdirections....If I was in Ryan's place, I woulda told Biden to f*%& off and that would have been the end of my ticket...lol

    October 12, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. 2 Cents

    Since you asked, not only Biden wasn’t drunk but also he was so sharp that he achieved his goal bring out as much lies out of Ryan as he possibly could in 40 minutes, perhaps you had one to many to see it that way. Did you know if you were drunk??????

    October 12, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. lookout

    all republicans are liers your web site list bideb 69% ryan 39 %

    October 12, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. OpinionsToGo

    "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.

    "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."

    So, it is not valid as a representative sample. OF COURSE an audience weighted towards Republicans will vote for the Republican whatever his performance!

    October 12, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. David

    I am a fiscal conservative, a foriegn policy conservative (Peace through strength) and a moderate on social issues.
    I saw Biden do well on the economy (Ryan's strong suit) and Ryan do well on Foreign Policy (Biden's srong suit). Both sides will claim the facts are with them but the way numbers can be manipulated and interpretted... bth sides actually believe they are right. No one is really flat lying.

    It was a draw..... until 2 minutes into and I saw Biden acting condescending, arogant, elitist, and disrespectful. I told my wife, "iIf he keeps that up, he will lose on perception"

    Biden lost because of his actions.

    The Dems wanted him to go out and be agressive because Obama failed to do so, but he took it too far and it cost him.

    In the end it does not matter much. The way things are trending, Romney simply needs to have draws and keep pounding the economy in the next 2 debates. He does that and it will be an electoral landslide.

    The Dems don't want to admit that, but many of the so-called swing states have had 6-10 point swings in the last 3 weeks going from Obama to Romney.

    There are just too many out there that do not want to here how things are getting better and many are so fed up with his lack of leadership and blaming everything on past presidents.

    Adios Obama

    October 12, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  18. David Marriott

    Joe Biden looked rattled with his out of control laughing! I think the kid took him! ... congrats Paul Ryan

    October 12, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  19. sam

    If a wise man debates with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no peace and quiet." (Bible) Proverbs 29:9.
    Who is 'wiseman' and who is 'fool' according to Holy Bible

    October 12, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. Dave in Flyover

    This wasn't so much a debate as a one person (Biden) shouting over another (Ryan) and a moderator, who did next to nothing to stop it. Biden appealed on emotions, presumedly to the women, while Ryan tried to explain rationale, over the manic shouts of a desperate old man. So sad this is the state of politics today.

    October 12, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. Arbour

    Giving the fact that Obama adminstration cannot tell the attack on Lybia embassy was a terrorist attack for 2 weeks even though it was clear the weapon used was rocket granade (normal angry citizens carry rocket granage launchers? seriiously?). How can anyone trust Biden when he next tried to assure us that Iran is a way off from making nuclear bomb?

    October 12, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  22. kathy

    Was we at the Movies????Biden was doing his acting skills.He looks so funny with his I know it all face..He knew nothing.He was and is a joke

    October 12, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  23. Alisha

    Paul Ryan did a great job. Joe Biden is old!

    October 12, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. London33

    It seemed to me that Ryan was reading from a playscript, he did not come across as honest. Biden is known for his honesty, at times to a fault, but at least when he makes promises, we know we can count on them. Biden also did not dodge questions like Ryan did. I did not appreciate Ryan ignoring the "specifics" question. I think Romney and Ryan think at least 47% of Americans are dumb and will believe anything they throw out there. Biden has a big heart, he always did. Bottom line, I think Romney and Ryan are extremely phony and will get votes on their lies.

    October 12, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  25. Crystal

    Joe Biden reminds me of a used car salesman and shouldn't have been laughing at our dead in the middle east embassy's when Ryan was trying to talk! Paul Ryan is my man with a plan, because the Democrats sure don't have one!

    October 12, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
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