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

    biden won,but he was acting like he was on crack.i don't think he helped the president gain 1 vote.he might of hurt the presidents chance of being re-elected. it was like he had been coached by a real idiot prior to the debate. if left alone he might of had better results.

    October 12, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  2. kmac

    I am beginning to wonder about some of the polls such as this. Is there a flaw in this polling when you phone a person. So many people have dropped home telephones for cell phone only does this flaw the results. I am not questioning just this one poll but all polls using a land line home phone. I do not have any facts or fingures on who have retained land lines but in my line of work I take phone numbers for billing in the medical field. I have noticed the majority of numbers given among lower incomes appears to be cell phones. Older and more affluant people have land lines still.

    October 12, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  3. Mary Ann

    Taylor,Biden was laughing at Ryan because as usual he was lying,but it's not funny because people as stupid as you b elieve Romney/Ryan and that is not funny but sad.

    October 12, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  4. Vicki

    Biden won! He told the truth. Republicans lie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  5. Linda

    I'm from Delaware and have been used to Biden for a long time, and it's sad to see him so mentally deteriorated over the past few years. He had so much inappropriate laughter, inaccurate responses, arrogance, extreme rudeness, and obvious poorer mental capability than ever. I'm not just disappointed in this one appearance but am extremely concerned over the possibility of him stepping into our presidental seat in the future. A vice president is supposed to have the ability to step up should something happen to our president and be the person to fulfill that position within our country and throughout the world. What a disaster that he has the potential to become our leader in any emergency !

    October 12, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  6. Selmers

    @Anonymous. Apparently, all Liberals are stupid. Liar is spelled thusly.

    October 12, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  7. John Usa

    Ask your self this very important question:
    Do you want Joe Biden to be our next president?
    I ask this because he is just a heart beat away from becoming our next president.
    My personal answer: No way.

    October 12, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  8. George

    You people trying to confuse Biden's laugh with not taking the issues seriously, you are mistaken. Biden could not believe the words falling from Ryan's mouth. He couldn't take Ryan seriously. Don't mistake the two.

    Tell me. If you were sitting in a room with someone and they started telling flat out falsehoods, would YOU take them seriously? No. You wouldn't. And if they did so on live television in order to sell a bill of goods that will kill the country you love, would you not do everything in your power to put them down? Yes. You would.

    You would shout and you would curse and your would mock, and your would interrupt. You would do anything you could to put the facts straight.

    As an example. Ryan's "tax loophole" plan IS MATHEMATICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. It has been proven, not stated, mathematically proven as a fact, several times. If you take ALL the possible spending cuts, and actually cut them, it would amount to no more than a drop in a bucket.

    Like applying $300 towards $100,000 in debt. You can not close the deficit on tax loopholes alone. Raising taxes on someone is inevitable. It. Is. Absolutely. Required. Period. End. Of. Story. Mathematical. FACT. You can gripe all you want about me being a "leftist, socialist, hippie, communist, fascist, government stooge." All you want.

    You can not argue with MATH. It will always win the debate, no matter what skewed poll results you cook up.

    October 12, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  9. One party politics

    Biden won and he played this debate well--keep interrupting the liar!

    October 12, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  10. kat

    Unbelievable, I watch it Ryan was horrible, nothing, idiot. Biden was better than him on evrything. Biden had facts, he revealed Ryan's lie.

    October 12, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  11. kat

    Ryan was funny, he was an idiot. Biden actually was very respectful from my point of view

    October 12, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  12. Canuck

    Ryan was out of his league, would not answer one single direct question from the
    moderator and threw open the door to banning abortions.

    When pressed on what the republicans wouuld do different with respect to Syria – not a single solid idea.

    When asked what more the republicans would do to twart Iran's nuclear ambitions – not a single concrete idea.

    When asked if they would allow the tax break for the super rich to expire – Nope, its imperative the super rich retain that gift from the rest of the American taxpayers.

    When asked about how he will cut the deficit and increase military spending – not one item offered as what the Republicans will cut.

    Ryan looked clueless whenever he was challenged!

    October 12, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  13. Julie Deckert

    I'm really unable to see the difference between Vice President Biden actions and Romneys actions during the 1st debate with President Obama

    October 12, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  14. YeaCA

    VP Biden was viewed as arrogant. He thought of himself as a god father and looked down on his (subordinary) counterpart. I had good impression of Biden from 2008 DEM convention when he was talking about his first wife being killed in accident. That good impression is now all gone from last night. He was not sincere at all. Being older does not get privilege not to respect the younger generation.

    October 12, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  15. keepingup1

    Well Ryan knew Biden was going to kick his butt, he just didn't know how bad. Proud of you Biden for teaching the kid not to lie.

    October 12, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  16. A. Paul Wesley

    Dear Americans,

    You can't trust a person who has a "sneaky" smile on his face while discussing important issues . Laughing while a topic is being discussed is also"Poor Taste" by a debater . I believe also that the "Roberts Rules" of debate would also Pooh-Pooh such behaviour. In view of Mr Biden's behaviour would make Mr Ryan the Winner.

    Paul Wesley

    October 12, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  17. Scothren

    Any fool that follows that Muslim idiot is unamerican and deserves to be dismissed from America......no exceptions.

    October 12, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  18. economy

    I am shocked when people say Obama is the better man to be president. If Obama is elected, doesnt every one feel that we will continue down the wrong path? Haven't we seen enough? The biggest factor for me is a man who can reshape our economy... I'm independent, but Romney clearly has the highest probability of getting our country back on track. We will be sorry with for more years of Obama.

    October 12, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  19. Oldgreystud

    Joe Biden did 50 times worse than Barak Obama did in his debate. This is the worst childish act, for an adult that I have ever witnessed on a professional level. Especially for a Vice President of the United States. These two clowns would be doing us a much better service by becomming permanent guests on the David Letterman show, or even better yet, at moving to London and operating a Punch and Judy show.

    October 12, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  20. jose

    all i have to say is we are going in the wrong direction, let's all vote the democrats out of office, they spend too much and have no plan on how to repay the debt

    October 12, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  21. Oldgreystud

    Joe Biden did 50 times worse, than Pres. Obama did in his debate. These two gentlemen would be doing us a much better service, by becoming ful time guests on the David Letterman show.

    October 12, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  22. Shirley

    Biden won by a landslide. Finally put Ryan to test on his lies.

    October 12, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  23. Oldgreystud

    Joe Biden did much worse in this debate than Pres Obama did in his. This is one of the worst childish acts that I have ever seen on a professional level, and especially for a vice president of the united states.

    October 12, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  24. Joe D.

    Biden came off as an arrogant jerk. His interruptions were rude, immature, and improper. He does, indeed, symbolize the Obama administration and campaign.

    October 12, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  25. Oldgreystud

    Joe Biden did much worse in this debate, than the Presisent did in his.

    October 12, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
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