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. Ray

    Biden looked completely foolish and disrespectful for the majority of the debate. Good for Ryan to call Biden out on his poor behavior and reprimand him; too bad he didn’t do it more forcefully.

    Biden only had 1 good point that was indeed factual: Ryan requested stimulus money. I don’t believe this was handled well in Ryan’s reply. The fact is though, Ryan would have been foolish to not have requested money for his state. The government was giving away free money (borrowed, more correctly- stolen, from my future). Whether Ryan was for or against the stimulus should have been the issue. Once it was decided to release stimulus money, it was wise of Ryan to take what he could get. It was a use it or lose it deal. If all other states had money funneling in from stimulus, why would an elected official not seize some of the money? In fact, if Ryan had not requested money, I would argue that his state would have been worse off than before stimulus money was issued. Not because the stimulus helped but because they did not get their share of the funny money. In other words if Wisconsin did not get any of the money AND Obama devalued the dollar the result would have been a broker Wisconsin.

    October 12, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Jo

    Biden can only defend, his promises are the same as what Obama said in 08. Democrats need to wake up. I know when I do my taxes and always use to get money back and the last couple of years I have to pay (and pay a lot), my CPA said to thank Obama. We have lost so many credits and now have to pay so he can keep spending. I have had enough. So should all other Americans.

    October 12, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. Theresa

    Biden was fantastic awesome. This is what I wantsd to see: Cahonas as Madeline Albright would say.

    October 12, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. Scott

    It is funny to me how Obama/Biden say that Romney/Ryan are not giving specifics when they keep interupting them while they are trying to answer and get more time to speak in the debates. Also, I have not heard anymore specifics from them than Romney/Ryan other than "we are going to cut taxes on the middle class." Is that an acceptable amount of detail to give for all people saying that Romney/Ryan are not giving enough detail? We have already seen what Obama's policies have done for us. Ryan made a very good point – Obama has had a Democrat dominated Congress with a free pass and still has not accomplished anything. If he gets into office again and continues to fail, are the Democrats going to continue to support his notion that his failures are not his fault, but the fault of Bush and the Republicans?

    October 12, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Nothing like an old fool! The smirking, idiotic smiles showed us all who the clown is. Ryan should have told him that his hair plugs cost more than most democrats make in ten years! What a joke Biden has become.

    October 12, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. Holly

    I do not have to say I do not understand why people are so into Paul Ryan. You can tell he knows he was lying but he acts like he was so truful. That is real disguisting! He tried to speak frankly and all what he said is like reciting with all the false statistic in his head.

    I would agree with Bill Mahar, majority of people in US are clueless for the priciples that he hold. You should ask yourself, what is your position and values you hold? That is important. The republicans wants WAR, WAR, WAR and more military expense. Why? Because they are rich, they make a profit from war. Remember, why they also want US miltary no cut because they are afraid of losing their profit if we lose the war. How can the keep their profit from lossing the position as no1 in the world.

    Paul Ryan wants 62 year older( 80, 90 yrs old), which your grand mother and grandfather at that ago to shop for medical insurance, do you know that most of time their brain would not work as good as when they were young, it is perfect opportunity for private insurance company sell them bad service with their entire saving or without services. That is the republicans want. If you have grandmom and grandfather in that position, you are still want to vote for those greedy repibicans. Just like home loans for many older seniors got bad loans and lost their home due to mortgage lenders. Please think..... Republicans has so much money to advertise to polute your mind just like commerical. You are suck into it. Then you give them your vote. Wake up

    October 12, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. obamacare

    Ryan knows that he didn't win. That is all that matters.

    October 12, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. Shawn

    You would have to be blind or silly to believe that Ryan won that debate. Clearly, there is something wrong with CNN's polling method. Each of the other major polls so far have had Biden as the winner (CBS, Rueters, CNBC). Whether you are a Liberal or a conservative it is clear that Biden dominated in Kentucky.

    October 12, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  9. LLeib

    pole? really?

    October 12, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  10. Just the facts

    The economy has created 5 million jobs in the last 30+ months. We haven't had a single negative jobs report in the last 30 months. The republicans/Bush left an economy in shambles (4.5 million jobs lost in bush's final year), a housing crisis, and a financial collapse. Obama righted the ship in his first year and a half and we've been CREATING jobs ever since. Plus he extended the solvency of Medicare until 2024 (if you repeal obamacare it goes insolvent in 2016!), while covering ALL pre-existing conditions (unlike romney's plan) and filling the prescription drug doughnut hole for seniors. And bush also left an ANNUAL deficit of 1.4 trillion (no republicans cared about that) that Obama is LOWERING as we speak (see today's headline). And he got Bin Laden and saved the GM/Chrysler. I'm voting Obama.

    October 12, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  11. JAC

    There's a difference between debating an opponent and talking down to them like an arrogant jerk. Ryan impressed me with his composure and restraint. Biden's creepy grinning, sighing and uncontrollable need to interrupt almost seemed purposed towards frsutrating Ryan and drawing some kind of angered response so we would all be talking his immaturity. Well done Paul Ryan!

    October 12, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  12. Noah

    So, this poll was oversampled on the Republican side? Are Wolf and King going to correct the record on the air? I'm sure someone's mentioned that in the other 183 pages of comments? There is no way that Ryan won that. NO WAY!!

    October 12, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  13. Jude

    lyan ryan is a narcissist and a fascist...a combo we have seen before and allot of folks died...a menace who only appeals to a small powerful group who fear loosing power over the masses. read history 101.

    October 12, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  14. Torgo23

    No matter who won, the public still lost.

    October 12, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  15. Tom

    We all lost! Because why didn’t any other candidates get on TV? How much money does a party need to pay to get coverage? Voting for these two parties is voting against yourself! We have the 75 years of our government’s actions to prove that.

    October 12, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    BIdon won.

    October 12, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  17. RockoT

    I think Biden's name comes alphabetically before Ryan. I think both Ryan and Biden were present in the debate. Things were said. In the end, they both want to be vice president after the election. Ron Swanson.

    October 12, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  18. Mike H2O

    If the poll was about who drank the most water without a doubt Ryan won...

    October 12, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  19. Josh

    "Ryan also had a slight advantage on being more in touch with the problems of average Americans." Yeah ok, if the average american is a pretty boy snob....

    October 12, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  20. Pat

    Ask yourself who would you rather have taking presidents place. Biden at least cares about people.

    October 12, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  21. Richard

    It's amazing that weak minded Democrats actually prescribe to Joe Bidens used car salesman mentality! ...embarrassing!

    October 12, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  22. me

    Ryan yes, Biden no.

    October 12, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  23. Colin

    Independent voter chiming in. Please stop with the partisan bickering; particularly the ludicrous spin from the Right wing folks here. Biden was aggressive, sure, but he dominated Ryan. Heck, even the moderator dominated Ryan; he simply refused to answer with anything other than talking points.

    October 12, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  24. Bob

    48 to 44 percent using 318 telephone calls now if CNN uses the poll on the front page here (CNN.com) it is over 40 ,000 folks polled and it s Biden 61 percent and Riyan 38 percent Now CNN why don't you mention this poll with way more people speaking up.

    October 12, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  25. Bo Tiegs

    Watching Biden grinning with Chicklet-capped teeth, which was so inappropriate, made me favor Ryan who was so earnest. Don't know how Ryan was able to keep his composure sitting so close to the impolite Jack-O-Lantern Biden jiggling in apparent derision of Ryan–this debate was too close to Halloween! You knew going in Biden would do something foolish. Plus, it seemed a deliberate tactic to diminish his opponent. Don't believe Biden was really tickled to giggles by Ryan's ideas.

    October 12, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
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