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. Peter Ashland

    No way did Ryan win this. He showed his inexperience, his lack of detail to the questions, his avoid the questions with broad brush-stroke answers. Biden, hands down, displayed factual responses and displayed his experience at working at the white house. Ryan had no clue about foreign policy nor backed up any of his answers with direct factual numbers to the moderator – all "structure" and "theory" type answers. He sound like a school boy just out of college.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  2. Ea

    Sampling error must be more +-30 %.

    Biden clearly won this debate. His performance was supported with facts and he defined the real choices presented to the American people.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  3. Deangelo

    Aggressive doesn't always equal win. The man came across as unprofessional and disrespectful. The only thing people are going to be talking about in reference to this debate is Joe Biden's obnoxious smile and eye rolls. Sure, the committed left wing base will like his spirit, but undecided voters, particularly women, will view the Veep as rude compared the nice young man sitting beside him.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Biden was so rude that he distroyed his credability. As an independent I have to say his bull dog smirky demeanor was disgusting. Gotta say ryan won by behavioral default :/

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  5. John

    How's that cnn poll possible?
    Nobody could cast vote in your poll and it is already locked.Out of no where you see this magical number!!!
    MSNBC on the other hand has a valid poll that people can actually go there and vote

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  6. Words99

    Who are you polling, CNN? Biden clearly dominated the debate and Ryan just drank water. I'd say the moderator won before saying Ryan won this debate. C'mon, CNN. Turn to a bit of social media to help you with this.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  7. dlswen622

    Biden appeals to the younger fast moving generation. Talking over Ryan and giving sound bites and retoric. He did not come to have an objective debate. He came to win no matter what. To bad he acted like a child and diluted his credibility. All things said I think it was a tie.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  8. Annie

    Joe Biden acted like he was high on something. It would be nice if he could behave like an adult instead of an imbecile; sneering, smirking, making odd noises, interrupting, guffawing. Really? Such an embarrassment. God forbid he should ever ascend to the throne! Obama is an unmitigated disaster and we do not need another one.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  9. Your kidding

    What debate was CNN watching. This was a clear Biden win. Ryan still could not answer the questions. Asked more then once and Ryan still could not comity to anything. No plan still. Were you sleeping CNN . I'm sorry loved your reporting in the past buts its clear where you stand. Are your ratings dropping?? Is this an act of desperation.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  10. Kate

    Ridiculous! Shame on you CNN! Ratings trump truth. Romney supporters, please stop feigning indignation about Biden being "rude" and please learn proper use of the English language.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  11. Sally

    I really think Biden won .must be only republicans voting on Ryan. Ryan sure was thristy,or not telling the truth. I was waiting to see Ryan take a potty break.and as far as Biden interrupting Ryan as I recalled rommey did it to obama all your heard was rommeys mouth over and over. I think Obama was too nice and when Obama tried to interrupt to take his turn then the republican called it rude. Oh please. Why does it always have to be about the republicans? Is it because we middle class aren't good enough for you?

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  12. Chris

    When Obama was reserved and acted presidential he lost the debate. When Biden challenges the BS from Ryan and the GOP he was un-presidential. Seems like the Democrats just can't seem to please the "experts" on CNN!

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  13. darwin

    Biden won...CBS POLL UNCOMMITTED VOTERS: BIDEN 50%, RYAN 31%......CNN POLL ARE DEBATER WATCHERS...huh?...what planet are you watching...lol...wake up CNN.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  14. Karen

    Biden was so rude...almost silly and uncontrolled.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  15. Chris

    Biden has not been willing to go on cnn for an interview, every since then they have been following the path of Fox News. Even the little graphic at the bottom of the screen makes no sense and do not corrilate to what is actually being said.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  16. Name

    CNN wants Fox ratings.....shameful! Where do you get your numbers??? Oh and nice interview wolf gave Romney....I guess you don't ask follow up or tough questions anymore.

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  17. Barb Williams

    CNN took an honest poll & you people mock them? Sometimes Democrats may lose & hopefully in November you will again!

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  18. Neeraj

    Biden just decimated Ryan!!! Not sure how the polls show Ryan as the winner...seriously which debate were you guys watching...

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  19. Janet Zumba

    Joe Biden, VP, won this debate. CNN is not really saying fact

    October 12, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  20. troubakan

    Ha Ha! It is so funny watching all of you liberals in denial. LoL! Even when the evidence is staring you in the face, you still won't believe it. LoL! Too funny.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  21. ryygguy

    Who the heck was CNN polling? Biden clearly won this debate, not even close. The only thing Biden could have done better is not laugh whenever Ryan lied. He should have just smiled and shook his head in disagreement.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  22. Ellen uller

    Looked to me like a matchup between a college grad and an slimy older used car salesman.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  23. Independ1887

    I voted for Obama, and was extremely hopeful for the first two years after his Inauguration, but what I have seen for the last couple of years (and perfectly typified tonight) is that the current administration thinks they know better than me on everything! I know they have much more information on foreign affairs (due to the huge amount of information they receive)
    I thought the Vice President was extremely rude to Ryan tonight, and it seems like they just don't think they have to answer for some of the "mistakes" that they have made over the years. I perceive the President and Vice President as always pointing the finger at someone else. As a manager myself I see too much blaming without taking responsibility as a leader should (in my humble opinion).
    Anyway, I am still glad I voted for Obama over McCain in '08, but I will not be voting for him this year.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  24. Alan

    Prior to the debate, Biden was just a clown... now the's a rude clown. There's nothing worse than a rude clown.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  25. geana22

    381 registered voters took this poll? Only three-hundred-eighty-"one?" Registered what? Republican? Democrat? Independent? Undecided? This is not enough to warrant a poll, especially the odd number.

    October 12, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
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