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. RyanWon

    Ryan looked respectful, intelligent, mentally stable and presidental. Biden on the other hand, wasn't and isn't any of those. That's why Romney one- and yes Bidne had no answer to the Obama adminstration, with they're hand in the cookie jar trying to fund Obamacare- notice there was no defense? Biden maybe a blow hard, forceful point maker the kind you find in a bar, after having a few too many- but he is still a liberal democrat- and his points on internation issues- were a joke, but that's the democrats- and in the words of the late great Ronal Reagan you can run but you can't hide.

    October 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  2. Linda

    Ryan won in all areas tonight!

    October 12, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  3. Troy

    Biden made a fool of himself and I'm ashamed he's our VP. He's simply rude and condescending. He may have faired on some topics but I believe he lost the hearts and minds of America. I have the debate recorded and can here Biden snickering when the camera was on Ryan speaking on the abortion topic. Biden is a fool. If a wise man has an argument with a foolish man, the fool only rages or laughs, and there is no rest. (Proverbs 29:9 AMP) I will not vote for the Obama administration again this term and I'm pro choice. This Administration has done more harm to this country and created more division than any I can remember.

    October 12, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  4. Engineer

    Biden's laughter and interruptions was so rude and unprofessional. This guy is a joker. He did do a better job of acting his office at the end of the debate. As the 2nd in line for President over the next four years Ryan was much more presidential than Biden.

    October 12, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  5. Al

    Rude, Obnoxious, Arrogant and still blaming his shortcoming on the people that came before him sum up Joe Biden and his performance tonight !

    Does Biden find the state of the world and our nation funny with all the laughing he did ???

    While it may have been great Red Meat for his adoring fans in union halls and the radicals in the Democrat base, to the rest of us it was just plain terrifying to know that this man is 2nd in charge. How does this guy deal with people from other countries he does not agree with ? It's no wonder the Obama Admin has had such difficulties getting meaningful treaties abroad or accomplishing anything since the divided congress arrived in 2011.

    Mr. Ryan tried to have a serious debate and Joe Biden showed how classless and unstatesmen like he really is just as much as Obama showed how inexperienced and inept he is without a teleprompter. Can you imagine if a Republican used the phrase "Malarky" when speaking in public let alone during a VP Debate ? Just Imagine how many times the Liberals in the media would call a Republican stupid and uneducated if they did this and acted as rude and obnoxious as Biden did !Perhaps this is why the Obama Admin can not get anyone in the world to agree to nterrupted Ryan every time he spoke with the count at over 80 time. This is exactly what you do when you have nothing to say but the same old scare tactics and nonsense.

    October 12, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  6. atari2600

    This is a crazy story...CNN is saying that 48% say Ryan won yet on their own home page poll it is trending over 60% for Biden. What gives? CNN is not impartial...they have been pushing Romeny/Ryan since well over a week before the Obama/Romney debate. They clearly have an agenda.

    October 12, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  7. beingsmart

    CBS POLL : 50% Biden 31% RYAN, CNN POLL : 44 % Biden 48% Ryan
    Who won ? Of course Biden ..... WAKE UP CNN

    October 12, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  8. mario

    cnn you are making your viewers laughing

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  9. Scott

    Biden won! Republicans beat around the bush on questions and are for middle class.

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  10. AFox

    Women's rights will go back 40 years if Romney wins. How can you prove rape for an abortion? Is a woman's word enough? Will she have to go to court to get approval for an abortion? What is the qualifications for a rape? The legal process takes far too long to convict and abortions are safest when performed in early stages of pregnancy... I sure would hate for anyone having been raped to then endure a legal process to be approved for an abortion. Please please don't take our country backwards.

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  11. j-man

    joe biden what a buffoon, he is the most disrespectful, condescending, rude, dumb vice president this country has ever had. he is a Grin with a body behind it.

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  12. Julia

    Biden was the clear winner. No doubt about it. Love his passion!

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  13. Richard

    Biden put on a better show and was more entertaining but Ryan WON the debate since he actually scored more points and was far more intelligent and thoughtful in his responses. I think it is clear that Biden's theatrics backfired.

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  14. craig

    If Paul Ryan won the debate, it benefits Paul Ryan. If Joe Biden won the debate, it benefits President Obama.

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  15. Eric

    Wow, what a debate my view is the same as the general consensus, tie on substance, Ryan on style. The real question is who won the most for their side. Biden may have stopped the Obama slide until the next debate and perhaps that is what was critical. Ryan showed himself to be capable of taking over the Presidency which means Romney's judgement is not flawed in this case and he was not scary. This following on Romney's performance last week may close the deal. Both where very important, though I guess we won't know which was more important until next month. I'd say we have a real race.

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  16. Matt

    I was going to vote for Obama until this debate, now I'm with Romney/Ryan. This was the last straw from Biden. The guy was too rude, too egotistical and too disrespectful. I also thought his views where contradicting. In one statement he's says the administration screwed up in the embassy attacks because they didn't get good intelligence; and in the next, he's saying he will prevent Iran from getting a nuke because their intelligence sources are that good. Anyone else get a chill up their spine with that one? Anyway, let’s let the accomplished businessman and a fiscal hawk try and fix this economy…sorry guys, but the cool social worker’s just not cutting it.

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  17. Mr_Softy

    Wow! Biden just made Ryan look like Sarah Palin Light.

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  18. CarolO

    What poll? I vote for Biden.

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  19. Jayson Zachery

    There was no question in my mind that Biden won. Paul Ryan looked like he couldn't wait for it to end. Biden spoke with detailed facts off the cuff, Ryan threw out more baseless rhetoric. How is this even a question? Is this media hype?

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  20. joanie

    This is ridiculous. Biden clearly outshone Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  21. only me

    I think it's funny how some people on here question the results. Just because you don't like them or agree with them they must be wrong? I laughed out loud when I saw CNN's own poll showing Ryan as the winner. I wonder if you clink your heels 3 times and wish, will it change the results?

    But if CNN poll had Biden ahead, of course it would be accurate.

    I don't care who "won" I only care about the real issues in this country. I am not better off than I was 4 years ago. I don't presume to be doing better next year. I don't like the road we are on.

    I thought Biden acted immaturely and rudely. Ryan was respectful-way more than Biden deserved. Ryan was well informed on foreign policy. I knew Biden would be. I did love Ryan's zinger about saying things that you didn't really mean...Biden is good at that..the open mouth insert foot thing that Biden does so well.

    all in all, a good debate despite Biden's rudeness and constant interrupting.

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  22. Kate

    Biden looked and acted like an immature and unprofessional fool. It was all an act to distract viewers from the facts. I give Ryan a lot of credit for his restraint and professionalism. And, the moderator was CLEARLY biased towards Biden.

    October 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  23. Cbus

    The issue with this debate was Biden would not let Ryan give a complete answer. Biden cut him off 82 times. If you look at the voter on fence, this did not sit well. My guess is you will see more bounce for Team Romney.

    October 12, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  24. DCPaul

    CNN...do you honestly believe that at this point you are still sampling truly undecided voters? Also, try and have some diversity in your so called independent debate watchers.

    October 12, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  25. Anonymous

    CNN needs to evaluate their poll numbers before they publish such ridiculous claims

    October 12, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
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