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. Matthew Speer

    Knock Knock!

    Who's there?

    Interrupting cow

    Interru.......JOE BIDEN!

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  2. SuzieQ

    What debate were these guys watching? Ryan looked overwhelmed. Biden was decisive. The GOP party is full of mean-spirited thugs that are willing to say any outlandish thing to buy a vote! Romney's head spins to keep up with his flip-flops. The Greedy Old Pig party cares about the wealthiest. Do not believe what Romney/Ryan are shoveling!

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  3. ChanceinFL

    CNN PLEASE take a look even at these comments people have left, EVERYONE saw biden has won this debate, CBS's poll is much more accurate.. HOW ABOUT opening your polls to Internet viewers as well!??nobody using landlines anymore!ha

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  4. Christina

    I'm not sure why, but I feel like over the past few weeks CNN has really started to shift to be more like Fox News. Did someone send you guys a bunch of money or something? I've found both democrats and Republicans saying Biden one... I saw your poll when the debate was first ended, and it showed something like 62% to 38% when it was open for Biden. Where did those numbers go?

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  5. Joe

    Is this poll for the today's debate? I bet not!

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  6. rose

    i want to be objective on this issue of who the heck won this debate. had joe biden been more presidential and a little more mature acting, i think he would have won the debate as far as the CNN poll goes. he has more years experience in debating and politics altogether and is a passionate speaker. however, i think it was interesting to note that both he and obama had similar reactions when their opponents said things they didn't like.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  7. Nick

    Biden was condescending and rude with his interruptions, attacking Ryan's integrity at times. That will put off the votes they're trying to get. If Biden left that and the constant smiling and odd facial expressions, people would've believed him more. Ryan wins.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  8. overby

    Biden came across as a rude, loud, ill-informed buffoon, especially when he flashed his 'Joker' smirky grin every few seconds, and kept interrupting Ryan...it was embarassing to watch.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  9. Tim

    Way to go Ryan; you completely snuffed Uncle Joe and his odd chester cat smile.

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

    After watching Biden acting like a disrespectful, goulish idiot I went to another show. Biden looked & acted like something out of a horror movie. I did check the debate around 9PM, and this debate makes me glad I chose Romey months ago.

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

    Biden won 62 – 38 it was to obvious.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  12. Mary1972

    Biden won. I don;t know where CNN took the poll.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  13. Jilinwa

    I am surprised that people say Romney won the debate with Obama because he was so aggressive (as in... constantly butting in on Obama's time), but say Biden lost the debate because he was aggressive and butt in on Ryan's time. What a bunch of hypocrites!

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  14. b

    are u serious biden won all ryan did was talk about the president instead answer the questions on what he would do.. he has no answers he just responds with what he see's going on..NO we wanna know what you would do! these guys have no answers just complain about the other side but don't explain what you would do..obamas not the best but im not gambling on these guys.. they are no better! im voting for obama..

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  15. Mark in Omaha

    Ryan is a fraud. Look out middle class, if you vote Romney/Ryan be ready to backslide. Read about Bain Capital.

    October 12, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  16. Ning

    I guess only republicans were selected in this poll.

    October 12, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  17. And No Religion Too

    Biden looked like the ass he is; grimacing, gawking and in the process making himself look the fool. Every sentence Ryan said prompted this response from Gaffie. What do you think, maybe trying a bit too hard on orders from his boss?

    October 12, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  18. vic

    Biden won! Hands down

    October 12, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  19. Joycefairfield

    Biden had good substance and energy but were wiped out by his outrageously rude and disrespectful smirking,laughing, and constant interrupting. Ryan kept his cool and knew his material!

    October 12, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  20. JudyNM

    I am embarrassed that the VP of the USA was rude, condescending and constantly interrupted his debate opponent. After watching this, I would never vote for a ticket with Biden on it.

    October 12, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  21. Sandra C.

    What debate did this 48/44 come from? Biden won hands down! Everybody I've talked to that saw the debate (Republicans and Dems) have all said that Biden won. I too am beginning to question CNN's impartiality.

    October 12, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  22. Twaldorf

    If you consider who yells the loudest, laughs in the face of serious foreign policy crisis, and interrupts the most, then I guess Biden would win. CNN got it right.

    October 12, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  23. GeekMommaRants

    This poll was taken where? BYU? Vice-President Biden won his second debate. Biden by smiling was telling me when Ryan was lying. Biden smiled every time Ryan opened his mouth. Ryan does not know the concept of truth. Biden won!

    October 12, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  24. Greg

    Biden looked like a fool with no facts. Ryan is a definite winner of this one.

    October 12, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  25. Theo

    What debate were you watching? Joe Biden was impeccable and Paul Ryan demonstrated that maybe someday he'll grow up to a real liar like his running mate. As it was, Ryan could only spew his snake oil privatization schemes and warmongering memes which were indeed laughable. Joe mirrored what was happening around TV sets all across America. Joe came off as a person to be trusted smacking down a huckster.

    October 12, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
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