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. Name LDC

    This is not a survey, it is nonsense. I am a statistician and this survey has no power to make the conclusions it tries to. It is somehow a manipulation of someone with motive. CNN is a disgrace for being associated with crap.

    October 12, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  2. jimmy

    i got poled 4 years ago when Obama promised change and hope....... Please go back to Chi Town. Could not imagine Biden as President.

    October 12, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  3. rebecca

    Team Obama / Biden!!

    October 12, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  4. birat123

    In my opinion its always easy for the nonruling party to debate as the dont have to show the record....i bet ryan was just speaking what he was feed upon not from his heart...Biden was

    October 12, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  5. KristineV

    Obviously, Joe Biden won the debate. I think CNN had the poll results way too early! Joe Biden was articulate and his answers were fact based. Also, I believe the American people are being told the truth by President Obama and VP Joe Biden. Change takes time and we have seen improvements in the economy. Rep. Paul Ryan clearly did not represent himself well. I thought he was more interested in promoting "Romney for President" instead of articulating a clear, concise plan for the economy.

    October 12, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. Cheri Trilian

    Lets face it Biden wiped the floor with Ryan! The Congressman rarely answered the questions. He didn't seem to know that the Afghanistan troops were being trained by the U.S. to fight their own war. He refused to explain that magic plan of theirs to bring down the deficit without raising taxes on the middle class. Biden spoke like a man of experience. Ryan like a novice trying to keep up. The bottom line is this: If you are wealthy and wish to become even more wealthy then vote for Romney. If you are Middle Class and don't vote for Obama then you must either be mentally inept or a poor snob who is delusional:)

    October 12, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  7. Nietodarwin

    Ryan like Romney gives the Dems a bad time about what happened in Lybia, (the Dems did not act this way toward Bush after Sept. 11, 2001.) Shame shame shame GOP (they have no shame.)
    Ryan's budget CALLED FOR REDUCING EMBASSY SECURITY BY MILLIONS IN 2011 and 2012. This GOP is the American Taliban. These Talibangelicals are ENEMIES of our nation. Only the most moronic of americans will vote GOP. Scary that ANY poll could be this close.

    October 12, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  8. Name lame duck 2012

    Biden won because the Dems finaly stuck up for themselves. Good job biden. Ryan is a little guy sitting on romneys shoulders( master blaster on Beyond the Thunder Dome.( Mad Max). Everyone knows the conservatives are scared. You Just Got Knocked the @#$! Out! Obama Rules!

    October 12, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  9. What

    Biden mopped the floor with Ryan

    October 12, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  10. Name

    I'm even more frightened of the possibility of Biden succeeding to the Presidency. He is a weak, unstable man.

    October 12, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  11. Lise

    What debate were some of these people watching? Joe Biden made Paul Ryan look like a school boy when it comes to foreign policy and a total BSer when it comes to their tax and spending plans.

    October 12, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  12. Tim

    This whole hate the rich, romney is for the rich etc. stuff has got to be some of the dumbest stuff I have ever read. It really does show how much folks just repeat the garbage they are told on a constant basis instead of actually learning a little on their own.

    October 12, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  13. john

    Biden hands down won over the deception and misstated so called facts of Mr. Ryan. Fact check sites have plenty of work to explain all that Ryan said was wrong. I/ve checked them out and gosh durn Ryan was a lian.

    October 12, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  14. Buddy Grisham

    We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.

    Wake up America!!!

    October 12, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  15. Buddy Grisham

    Potentially, a government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.

    Wake up America!!!

    October 12, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  16. JJ

    joe Biden was an immature buffoon. Paul Ryan the young candidate showed all the maturity and composure of a legitimate vice presidential candidate.

    October 12, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  17. Mciver3

    All Biden did was laugh, make fun of Romney/Ryan's policies, and interrupted like 86 times- but Biden never told Americans how Obama is going to fix the economy (except raise taxes on those making $250k or more). Ryan, who appeared calm and measured told us his 5 point plan. It was like Ryan was debating an arm swinging baboon, not the VP!

    October 12, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  18. SHeila

    Joy was very good. We should all be serious about choosing a president. This isn't a wrestling match or some stupid TV show. It is an important decision. Don't let the press turn it into a childrish game.

    October 12, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  19. Barb Snapp

    I thought Biden seemed rude and condescending. His smirks and constant interruptions did not help him in his presentation. I wish Ryan would have relaxed more. I wanted Ryan to give more depth to his plans but overall I trust his numbers more than Bidens

    October 12, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  20. kbob365

    Romney/Ryan: "4 more wars! 4 more wars!" He's short 86 billion dollars in his tax plan as it is. no thanks.

    October 12, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  21. OpenYourEyes

    So the democrat diversion is to claim that Romneys plan has no details. For all you puppets that go arounf repeating that, can you please tell me where I can find the details of Obamas plan? Or for that matter, even a structure... or loose definition of an Obama plan?

    If not, stop being phoneys.

    October 12, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  22. Name

    Lyan Ryan fans Better wake up. these poles are all for dramatic effect to keep the repubes from turning off their TV's.the romney/ryan ticket has no plan no truths to bring to the table. Obama admin is trying to fix the mess bush/Cheney mess they left him. Bush the worst American president and Romney has his play book.

    October 12, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  23. Teresa

    They did not poll me either. Don't know who was polled but they did not watch the same debate as I.

    October 12, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  24. Saladi

    I think Ryan could have articulated his ideas little bettor. When it come to sending less troops to Afghan, If I were in Ryan's seat, I would say simply this way. "Let us put this in simple sentenses. Say you have 10 Afghan soldiers and 1 American soldier, Who would gain the upper hand? Obviously Afghan soldier and they try to attack American soldiers (at least one attack is a matter fo US). Say, if ther are 10 or 20 American soldiers and 10 Afgan soldier, who would dare to attack?" 2nd part is sending troops to battle fields, it is different and obviously you may put Afghan force in front line". So, I do not think Biden plan is a good strategy? Just trying to put common sense and think as a neutral person.

    October 12, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  25. dianev

    you have to be kidding, Biden won this debate. The only question that Ryan even answered was the one about making abortion illegal. He kept mentioning his 5 point plan, but never once said what that consisted of. Seriously, I am done with CNN, you guys are becoming more and more like fox news. Maybe you guys should deal more with the lies that Romney and Ryan say and less with Bidens laughing (which he only did because he probably couldnt believe the lies coming out of Ryans mouth). Most trusted name in news=fair and balanced!

    October 12, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
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