October 11th, 2012
11:25 PM ET
9 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. Whats New

    Well good ole Joe carried the party line. Blaming others for the administrations failures. I'm surprised that he blamed the intelligence community for Obama's line on the video instead of President Bush. Even after both the state deparment and the intelligence community are saying that they knew almost immediately ("in real time") that it was a terriorist attack. How can anyone trust an administration who would so blatently try and mislead the American People. Its time for a change. We have to be able to trust that our elected leaders will be truthrul with us. And truth counts in a debate. Go Romney Ryan!!

    October 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  2. David

    So the fact that the Vice President told a flat out lie at the end (we didn't know they needed more security) after 2+ weeks worth of testimony stating that requests for additional security in Benghazi were denied is completely lost on some it seems.

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  3. Mike

    No doubt about it at all BIDEN won – NO CONTEST!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  4. Mateo in Utah is Lame

    Mateo...keep reaching buddy...keep reaching

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  5. Ken

    Biden could have on this contest but he made an ass out o himself.

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  6. Carly Schoen

    Several thoughts from a swing state, undecided mom: 1. I remain undecided; 2. While our Vice President sounded forceful, he looked and acted angry, agitated, and out right odd. I couldn't imagine an actual President with a demeanor like that; 3. It was a nice, pleasant introduction to Congressman Ryan. His politeness, respectfulness, and calm was somehow reassuring.

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  7. lali dnube

    Folks, Biden contradicted the state department's testimony in Benghazi. Also he showed very very poor debate etiquette. You don't laugh or interrupt while your opponent is speaking.
    Have we gotten so far away from decorum to think this is winning behavior?

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  8. Shelley

    Honesty, without any partisan bias....Biden was incredibly unbecoming of his office, the smiling, ;laughing, rolling eyes, huffs, etc. it was so unprofessional for someone in his office! If he had been one of my employees, he would have gotten a write up for his behavior, embarrassing, really.....this is the VP of the US! He acted like a High School Bully! Obviously, something was bothering him so much he couldn't control his emotions! Welcome to the real world, hello, we all have to deal with people we don't agree with on a daily basis, why was this so difficult for someone of such a high office, I mean really?!

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  9. Rasheed

    Folks, stop blaming CNN. The decision has been made that republicans will win this election because Obama doesn't get along (respects enough) B B Netanyahu. Israel controls the US, like it or not.

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  10. Woman In California

    Ryan needed something much stronger than a glass of water and it showed.

    Biden was clearly the winner.

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  11. Steve

    CNN is becoming more and more irrelevant somehow.

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  12. paulo contis

    BIDEN waa so full of it like OBAMA. Go Romney/Ryan!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  13. Ned

    CNN, you really need to put your MAJOR DISCLAIMER much more prominently:
    SPECIAL NOTE OF CAUTION #2: The sample of debate-watchers in this poll were 31% Democratic and 33% Republican. That indicates that the sample of debate watchers is about eight points more Republican than an average CNN poll of all Americans, so the respondents were more Republican than the general public.
    For real folks, go to http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/pollingcenter/polls/3262 and read the very fine print.

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  14. drake remoray

    CNN and other media outlets are trying to manufacture a story about a republican comeback. Uh...whatever. Biden SMOKED Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  15. Narendra Bansal

    Very strange. People more concerned about how somebody is speaking. Who is better orator rather than looking at the issues. I am very concerned about Mitt Romney's tax plan. How can he cut taxes, keep all programs going, increase military expenses, not increase deficit, and not raise middle class taxes. There is a lot of lies here. This is just one thing which can kill America - even more than George Bush.

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  16. robert

    a lot of hypocrites in the republican party who thought biden was plain rude. When romney was rude to obama.

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  17. Emily

    Ryan obviously won. I dont get why some people want an old scrooge for a vp. all Biden could do was smirk and smile as Ryan danced circles around him. 48 to 44 Ryan with 381 reg voters. you guys must be getting CNN mixed up with CBS or cnbc ^sillys

    October 12, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  18. Raena72

    CNN is the new FOX. They have been so biased! where is Donna B and Roland M???

    October 12, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  19. Dee Mann

    Ryan kept going over his time – even the moderator was interupting him.

    October 12, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  20. Anonymous

    I'm sorry CNN, but this poll is totally biased. Biden won the debate by far and made Ryan look like a naive VP. Poor Ryan was so nervous that he drank water more than 20 times during the debate :))))

    October 12, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  21. calvin

    democrats said biden gop saod ryan me ryan and i am a indep.

    October 12, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  22. agsn

    I am a little surprised myself at the way CNN is commenting on the debate. They are interested only in the style and not the substance or facts. Even during fact checking they wont list all the lies that were told by rayn and countered by biden. Isnt fact checking supposed to focus on those to tell who was right? Do I belive that CNN has become like fox.. NO.. But I belive they donot want Obama to win because of his tax plan is going to affect all these people.

    October 12, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  23. Christian in Austin


    October 12, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  24. DCPaul

    Bye CNN. I'm calling my cable provider tomorrow and canceling CNN channel. Same way i cancelled Fox. I'm not paying to watch impartial journalism.

    October 12, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  25. Rogue351

    Biden won, Ryan lost No matter how you look at it. Biden, more facts and truths. Ryan has no plan othet that for another war . That and to cut Medicare and Socal Security. I guess who won and who lost also depends on how much they payed the networks.

    October 12, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
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