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. DCPaul

    Goodbye CNN. I would rather watch Fox. You are so one sided that it makes no sense watching CNN. CBC, PBS, ABC and social media are proclaiming Biden the winner.

    October 12, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  2. IcyMama

    Such BS. Ryan didn't fall on his face, he obviously has more brains than his boss, but Biden still ate him for dinner.

    October 12, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  3. vlines

    No doubt that VP Biden is knowledgeable and cares about our country. He is brilliant!
    We cannot let our country fall into the hands of Romney whom does not seem to recall
    what he said the previous hour. The fact that Romney has chameleon tendencies & is
    without facts will only hurt our country.
    Both Romney & Ryan needs to learn how to be empathetic to the plight of the middle class.
    They can learn from VP Biden.

    October 12, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  4. Sebastian2

    Biden wiped the floor with Ryan, who seemed stiff and nervous (but very articulate, I give him that).
    Biden was passionate, and had strong counterpoints to pretty much everything Ryan said (even if he interrupted him to say it; bad debate form, but good points nevertheless).

    Someone on another blog I read said that Biden's smile reminded them of the Joker.
    Well, if Biden was the Joker? Then Ryan was The Riddler; because he never seemed to give any substantive, straight or honest answers to any question.

    October 12, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  5. sandiego

    CNN coverage of this election is.....desperate....for ratings. Like the Rs are for votes. CNN, once the most trusted source of news, has caved to the idea that the race must be close! for click thrus for ads! People magazine is the closest analogy. And CNN.com? Amateur hour, looks like green-font bulletin boards from the eighties. No cred. very much yesterday or several years ago.

    October 12, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |

    Anyone who believed a word spoken by Ryan is as out of touch with reality as he is.

    October 12, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  7. judy

    Joe took it to him . every time ryan started to lie Biden called him on it. Hard not to laugh or smile when your opponant is lying out right.Even modorator keep asking ryan to clarify and explaine his ideas. Which he could not. Loved how he called ryan on the stymuls money that ryan did write and ask for. Or the fact that the repos voted to cut funding for our embassies and are now complaining. Wake up people. The repos just lie Fact check that. Biden is not only smarter but honest something repos don't understand. Yeah ryan smiled and acted nice then kept on lying. I guess if you act nice but lie like a rug repos think thats fine. I think Joe showed a lot of restraint.

    October 12, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  8. Really

    Really CNN? You are the new FOX News. Your poll is a joke. Biden wiped the floor with Ryan. Not even close.

    October 12, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  9. Darlene

    Biden does not have much class....only tactics. I'd be ashamed to be a Dem tonight. And where are they getting these moderators from???

    October 12, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  10. Jack Roses

    Notice how these numbers aren't being bandied about on the front page?? CNN already knows this poll will be an embarrassment.

    October 12, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  11. ccjabi

    looks like this poll was conducted in wyoming

    October 12, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  12. Cheryl

    Go Ryan! I knew he could kick butt in this debate.

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  13. elaine

    I don't think Ryan could pass a polygraph if you asked him his name. He comes over as so inauthentic because he states no specifics to questions. Just like Romney. Their strategy after Obama pulled ahead in polling was to try and convince Americans they would do all the same policy as Obama, just somehow different and conservative. Don't believe it America. They will tell you anything and do what right wing Republicans do in office if we swallow this "malarky."

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  14. Mark

    Biden won? did he even come up with a response that was factual? Romney/Ryan lie? Can we say Benghazi? Solyndra? Abound Energy? Lockheed Martin? Romney flip-flops on abortion but Obama evolves on gays? Oh don't forget Fast and Furious, I used to think Nixon was the best liar but Obama has surpassed him. Biden wants to convey he came up with hard work and from what I have heard him talk about his early life, I and most everyone I know have worked harder in one week than he has in a lifetime. Biden likes to talk loud with no facts, Ryan presented facts and Joe was lost, if unemployment was 8.5% in Scranton when Biden and Obama took office and it is now 10% that is not "going down". The new claims for the week were up over 26,000 but seasonally adjusted and without california's numbers (according to the labor dept.) there were 30,000 less new clams. I really think someone has wasted a lot of money on a college education because thier math seems a little on the flawed side. Look at the economy and unemployment numbers from 12-2006 then check the numbers from 12-2007,12-2008 and 12-2009. 1-2007 is when the dems took control of congress. I know it was all Bush's fault, ROFLMAO.

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  15. Indacenter

    If biden hadn't come off as such a childish putz he might have won. I think 48-44 is about right. And if biden had won, the headline would say that, not that it was a draw. Doesn't change the narrative about romney wiping the floor with obama, but if crazy joe's performance was meant to cheer up chris matthews and the hard left, he was fine. Those of us in the middle didn't change our minds one iota. Btw, biden voted for both iraq and afgahnistan- talk about being a liar.

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  16. fast34me

    Don't know what debate you guys watched, but Ryan got his clock cleaned.

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  17. Jennifer

    NBC polls say Ryan 56%, Biden 36%. This is a debate I suspect both sides are going to claim as a win, and with some reason. Both did well in different areas.

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  18. Anthony Ortega

    CNN, must have watched a different debate. According to other news reports VP Joe Biden won this debate. CNN originally reported that Biden won by 62% and Ryan received 38%....it sounds like CNN numbers do not add up...much like Ryan position on politics! This sounds like a trick bag by major media outlets like CNN and their statistic information is incorrect, CNN contradicts their own polls and handed the Republicans a support base that they did not win!

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  19. Mario Lorie

    Ryan won the debate easily with specifics. Biden did the usual talking points and came out as a cranky old man, disrespectful , condescending trying to lecture Congressman Ryan. Biden was sarcastic and smiling quite a bit throughout the debate while Ryan remained serious and businesslike throughout, and Ryan demonstrated there is still hope for this country because he was very knowledgeable about domestic and foreign issues.

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  20. Jim Talbott

    I'm surprised there's much of a question as to who won the Vice-Presidential debate tonight. I thought Biden was clearly more well versed on what's going on and what to do to make it better. I thought Romney was the clear winner in the first debate so it's 1-1 here in our house.

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  21. Sara

    Joe Biden won! Why isn't this poll available?

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  22. BIDEN WON!!!

    Paul Ryan GOT SMOKED!!!!! Doing his typical shuck and jive of the numbers to try for credibility did not thwart the TRUE PATRIOT JOE BIDEN. No one was fooled by Ryan and the republicans know it's true. That's right Biden, STEAMROLL THESE SNAKE OIL SALESMEN, TELL OBAMA TO DO THE SAME AND WE'VE GOT THIS ELECTION!!!!!! CALL THEM OUT BECAUSE THEY'RE LYING ALL THE TIME!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  23. Walter

    Love hearing the libs on here claim CNN is promoting Republicans because they won't "admit" Biden won. I escpecially laughed at "Mike In NV" who claims "everyone" he talked to said Biden won. Well then, that means you must be right doesn't it? Oh you laughable lib!!

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  24. Saju

    On cnbc Biden 53 and Ryan 43 percentage ....Over 100000 voters

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  25. Lara Kathryn

    Biden was the clear winner, where is this spin coming from? I'm guessing there are a lot of Republicans hitting these polls to try to distort yet another fact – their candidate lost tonight.

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
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