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. tanyia Harrison

    What I feel is absolutely amazing is that no one has replayed the debate with Romney . He laughed and interrupted the president over and over but no one recalls this because Romney won. The republicans where pleased. This debate was a clear picture of experience verses a babe in office. It was factual and Ryan could not handle it because they thought that bashing the president would be enough and they forgot to actually come up with policies.

    October 12, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  2. Questions401

    Biden said he would not push his religious values upon us, Ryan said he would… Biden victory end of story.

    October 12, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. MN

    Joe Biden is asolutely a horrible man. He is not a smart man and showed his real self. This man must be put in an mental hospita., He is out of touch and a real liar, as is his boss! Ryan beat him by a landslide!!

    October 12, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  4. cj

    Biden interrupted "his friend" 60-80 times, and smirked his mocking smirk every time Ryan spoke. Ryan won on substance and class. Biden acted like he was winning from the start, and that may be enough to fool the dullard jr. high mindset, but lacked on every point except a couple of foreign policy topics. He did a nice job of looking into the camera to speak to the American people. Beyond that, Ryan offered real solutions to tough problems, and Biden demagogued he way through them. The moderator should have done a better job umpiring, rather than allowing Biden to interrupt, and calling Ryan out on details that the current administration has not been asked to provide for 4 years.

    October 12, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  5. steven

    The Gaffe-Master Turbo 2000 strikes again. Biden is a big stick.

    October 12, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  6. mjb

    I notice the old "fear factor' from the Bush era being brought out by the GOP again. After their WMD fear alert they are doing it again! Isn't it funy how none the administration has gone underground? Where as Bush during the convention What little gem is Carl Rove working on for the last minute?. If you are going by eye rolling and trying to interject the truth by Biden during the debate you are too sensitive. How many Mormon's will be in the Romney cabinent and entourage? Why is Cheney kept his mouth shut for once?I am sick of the undecided voters during the debates. If they have waited this long who cares, they don't swing anything. Most Americans have or can make up their own minds. I AM PLAIN SICK of the campaigning starting the day after election, the amount of money wasted on the election process. I am disgusted by the Republicancandidatess insulting the middle class or "47"% being loafers, we built this country and now are treated lie trash. What happens when there is no middleclas? Look at Africa,India,Middle Eastern countries and China. If the young people had a decent job to go to they wouldn't be out in the streets with guns being mad at the United States. It's time to sit back and let the present administration get us out of Bush's mess and stop looking for instant gratification. Look were you are now then imagine another 8 years of a Republican Administration.

    October 12, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  7. partof47%

    Biden won, Ryan lied comfortably... Enough with the dog and pony show, let's get this election done. 4 more years!!!! Go Obama/Biden!

    October 12, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  8. Dave3000

    People should base their opinion on the debates on the substance of what is said...not the behavior of the candidates...Having said that...After reading so many comments I have concluded that Republicans voters
    like to call foul unless they are the ones being foul...Joe Biden was simply being Joe Biden...speaking with genuine conviction with focus on the facts...something the Republicans sadly would not understand.

    October 12, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  9. SCH

    Bias headline to say "split" when poll says Ryan won 48 to 44!!! Why can't CNN accept the facts?

    October 12, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  10. Anon

    Putin can apparently act just as mean as Biden behind closed doors, do you trust Ryan talking to the President of Russia? He'd run out crying like a blubbering baby.

    Behold our answer for America, a flipflopper and a crybaby.

    October 12, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  11. RudyG

    Biden spoke statistically? Wow! You mean when he said they were not asked for more security by the consulate in Libya, when his own state department says the opposite? Talk about lying..........

    October 12, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  12. Keeping it Real

    Biden was a complete joke last night. The white house has been doing damage control all day over Biden's misstatements. Ryan was by far the better candidate last night. Biden isn't fit for any job.

    October 12, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  13. Jason from Minnesota

    ok – so here we go again CNN. Up to this point, you have been fixated on the polls you conduct – and the predictive power they bring to the election. Now, you have a poll that doesn't fit your desired outcome – and you discredit it. Your anchor men and women have been calling the poll results into question all day. From an Independent voter – please, please, please – try to suspend your left bias and just give us the news; the facts. that's what we want.

    October 12, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  14. RudyG

    Spoke statistically? You mean when he accused Ryan of voting to reduce funding for overseas security when he, Biden, voted for it, too?? Pinochio is flat-nosed compared to these two incompetents.

    October 12, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  15. Wilder Napalm

    Biden reminded me of a use car salesman with the cheesy grin and the "who ya gonna trust" line. This guy is one step away from being the most powerful man on the planet. That in itself should convince you to vote for Romney.

    October 12, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Biden is a prime example of "ALL" of our problems and situations today! It is not funny; we have serious problems and being able to blame others is not the answer. My way or no way is not the way for either party; we need to start telling Washington be serious on serious matters. Work 40 hours a week or more like "REAL SUCCESSFULL" has too; find ways to solve problems and protect our country and people. Either "Lead, follow or GET OUT, poor and dead people should not be the normal is the America we have fought for. God Bless the USA!

    October 12, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  17. Jim

    I agree with anonymous @ 5:43pm. There does need to be one change. Replace Republican with Democrats and we are good to go.

    October 12, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  18. BobT

    Let's forget about the 47%. We should be more concerned with the 48% that thought Ryan won this debate. To have such a large percentage of the population lack even a basic understanding of the issues is disturbing.

    October 12, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  19. Stephen

    I'm no fan of either party, but I thought Biden was very rude.

    October 12, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  20. Anon

    PS: Ryan's an objectivist, he doesn't care about anyone but himself, people like that deserve every thing they get.

    Maybe Ryan will walk away from this having learned a lesson, maybe it'll help him learn that not everyone will blindly bow to his will.

    October 12, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  21. RudyG

    I would hate to be the Undersecretary of State! He's going to have to take it for the team! They're already laying the groundwork, the two incompetents and liars in the White House. They won't go after Hillary, because if they do THEY'LL be toast!

    October 12, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  22. k howell

    Biden is the creepy uncle no one wants to talk about!

    October 12, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  23. matt

    Biden and the marxists are gonna lose un November

    October 12, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  24. ludvig

    Biden won. He called out Lyin Ryan and the Repugs got upset and called him rude. That's what debates are for to call out the liars and Biden did just that.

    October 12, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  25. AgentProvoca

    The most entertaining moment of the night occured right at the end of the debate - when all true blue Obama faithful gave a collective expression of "Whew! At least Biden didn't say something really stupid."

    October 12, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
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