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. Twinkle

    it's great to know Obama is going down...worst president in history. Thanks Biden for helping us out.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  2. Nancy B.

    I haven't seen a Republican look that ridiculous since Dan Quayle. Biden won this hands down.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  3. Lisahh

    Joe Biden won and my cat Pickles finished second.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  4. NameRissyTheppard

    Biden won. Ryan laughable.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  5. Hildamari

    Malarky!!! Joe won.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  6. Mchaga

    Where is CNN getting this figure from. I have heard CNN joined FOX to Republican side and today i didn't believe it.We all watch the debate and clear win for Biden . Even Forbes.com Sponsored by Mitt Romney agree Biden won. I am Done with CNN from today...

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  7. Sluggo

    The numerous comments I've read claiming that Biden won that debate have convinced me that we live in an Idiocracy. Beam me up Scotty, there's no intelligent life down here...

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  8. Chevallier

    I am becoming to be concerned about CNN credibility!!!! clearly, Biden was very objective , facts oriented and both candiates did a great debate. R yan lacks on specifics and was seemed to be derouted when asked to provided deatils by the moderator who by the way did a great job compare to moderator of the presidential debate.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  9. Mageek

    Just because you yell louder doesn't mean you won. I love the fact that the moderator kept interrupting Ryan and didn't call Joe out on the LIE he told about not knowing the Benghazi attacks weren't involved in a movie...LIARS, LIARS, LIARS! He is a baffoon and an idiot. Really, I did not know that there was such a number as 800 million-billion. OK, as a math teacher, I've never heard of it. I guess in the game of incompetence, that is acceptable. UGHH! In the real world it does not exist. Oh! BTW! When you blame other people for your cover up of not providing enough security for Americans in a place that loves to rub 9-11 in the face of the US, you are incompetent.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  10. jakinak

    Vice President Biden came off looking like a less disciplined version of the President, and it didn't work. It wasn't a Ryan run-a-way but the Obama/Biden ticket need a win to stop the momentum of their opponents. They didn"t get one tonight

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  11. David C

    Having watched the debate very closely, it was as even as a debate could go. I would have to give to to Ryan for being poised, answering questions with facts and giving America a clear path for what he and Romney are trying to accomplish. Im neither a Dem or Rep...I am sick of our President and VP for making excuses in nearly every category that has been presented to them in the last week. Is clear and obvious that they have no answers. All they have are smirks and excuses. Romney shamed up Obama, and Ryan won the debate because it is hard to win a debate when you have a tarnished failing track record.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  12. jake

    Biden hands down..... don't know who you were canvassing ... bunch of malarkey

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  13. Simply Put

    If you ever wanted to know what disrespectful and rude looked and sounded like, Joe Biden during the debate would be both! If you ever wanted to know what the complete opposite of that looks like, Paul Ryan would be that! Paul Ryan answered the questions with complete composure, sincerity and dignity. We all know that every politician lies but between the two tonight, I believe Paul Ryan over Joe Biden. Paul Ryan looked and sounded like someone who could fill the role of Vice President while Joe Biden well, simply put, was a real jerkass and I would not be comfortable with him as Vice President for a 2nd term! I'm afriad he might thing everything is funny.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  14. petena

    CNN you are nuts. Every single poll out there shows Biden a clear winner. Your own poll on this site has Biden the winner.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  15. yash

    God help us if Biden ever becomes President. The debate performance was typical Biden: rude and crude. Ryan on the other hand was cool and respectful. Clear winner: Ryan by a large margin.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  16. Russ Wilkinson

    Poor lil Ryan got schooled by Uncle Joe. Lyin Ryan couldn't get away with even a white lie. tsk tsk .

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  17. Angela in TX

    Ryan demonstrated where the line is drawn for the Tali-publican agenda...., not the Republican agenda. Ladies, do not make our daughters and grand daughters fight this battle all over again. Again? Really? We live in America... not the Middle East.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  18. Anonymous

    Go Ryan!

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  19. Troy

    Biden is obviously suffering from alcohol abuse to his brain, he lost so bad and looked like a crank drunken bum, ha, ha ha. You Dems re going to lose..... Lmao

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  20. Adam

    The sample is so small and there are such inherent problems with the methods used in this poll, that CNN is doing their viewers a disservice. Releasing these results as a headline without a caveat is completely misleading.

    October 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  21. Rniire

    First off, where the hell is this poll, because it is obviously incorrect. Biden mopped the floor with Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  22. Goldfinger1906

    If your poll calls this for Ryan you are TOTALLY carrying the water for the Republican party. Are you so DESPERATE for Fox News ratings that you'll report ANYTHING these days???

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  23. bk finest

    You foks at CNN are dead wrong ! I guess Romney paid you guys ! , you guys over at cnn want to see your rating go up !! YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  24. EasyListening

    I've noticed that quite a few comments think Biden outright won. I'd wager they are the same that said Romney was disrespectful for being aggressive. Here are the facts though: Biden was disrespectful. He never provided solutions for anything despite asking Ryan to. Everything Ryan said was by default a lie according to him despite that being untrue(Ryan sidestepped but didn't tell that many lies).

    I won't even mention how Biden was able to always get his last word not matter what but when Ryan tried to do the same the moderator changed the subject.

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  25. independent voter

    CBS poll has Biden 50%, Ryan 31%, 19% Tie.....

    October 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
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