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. mike

    Biden won it easily. These republicans that are going on and on about rude are nuts. Malarkey is not a profanity. Biden cleaned his clock and you know it.

    October 12, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  2. grannysfarm

    A sample of 381 and other news organizations have samples of 500+ that indicate Joe Biden won hands down...what's up with your sample CNN? Have you been taken over by Bain or rmoney...or maybe Fox?


    October 12, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  3. Linda

    Joe Biden was ridiculous! He was arrogant, obnoxious and had no self control as he made that ridiculous smile every time Ryan said something. Ryan had the decency of self control and kept his composure even though Biden kept talking over him. Biden didn't even respect the moderator. Is someone who can't control himself and listen to another for two minutes a real leader?? Ryan is the real leader and won the debate hands down. Think!!

    October 12, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  4. disenchanted voter

    They must have polled the deep south! No way Ryan won this, you do not get points for congeniality. Ryan what is your plan? Seriously, some of us can do the math and this poll along with your lack of facts and information just do not add up! People are voting party line, not candidate. Sad state of affairs we are in. When more money is spent on a campaign than more poignant and pressing issues addressing this nation, the election really becomes a mockery!

    October 12, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  5. Arcfontis

    Joe Biden KICKED SOME !!!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  6. mp

    Ryan won, Joe....his actions speak much louder than any words.

    If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet. (Proverbs 29:9 ESV).
    I put my kids in time out and discipline them for the type of disrepect Biden showed. This is not only disrespectful to Ryan but to us as Americans.

    October 12, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  7. TR

    Biden, on substance, and it wasn't even close. We had complete non-answers on Afghanistan, Syria, Tax Deductions, and numerous other points from Ryan, while Biden whipped him around with facts and well reasoned conclusions.

    October 12, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  8. Chris

    What I got out of the debate is this. How can you get elected for a second term? Easy question. Keep the majority of voters out of work and on some sort of Govenment assistance. Make them feel like the other guy will take it away because he is rich. Make Beleive you care about people and jobs only for their vote. The reason why no one is working or getting a job is because they wan't you to think that while you are out looking they will take care of you. Well Obama, you didn't help me keep my house, or my car. You have taxed the last few pennies from my pocket. You print money like we are playing monopoly the board game and your VP is so out of touch, laughs at questions about unemployment and came off as a real dip. Truth is I voted for you the last time and you failed me. Time for a change. Ryan won just on the mer facted of being polite and calm. He never sat in that seat and laughed or rolled his eyes about the issues that matter to me. If your so smart and think this is so funny, why the heck isn't any of the things you promissed happened yet? You failed us. Time for a change. And I'm a democrat saying this!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  9. SmilinJoe

    And Joe got caught in two outright lies: there were numerous requests for more security in Libya, and Joe, you voted FOR both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Does anyone care if Joe lies as long as he's smiling when he does it?

    October 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  10. Anonymous

    CNN wants to be on that 1% with Romney and Ryan, You (CNN) guys need to watch the debate again. Obama and Biden 2012!

    October 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  11. Anonymous

    Biden, with enough facts.

    October 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  12. allheartsoul

    Paul Ryan talking about foreign policy next to Joe Biden was like William Shatner talking about space travel next to John Glenn.

    October 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  13. Johnny America

    Biden won. Everyone who is complaining about him being aggressive are full of malarkey. He was pointed and asked questions which ryan couldnt answer. He is a great VP and a very excellent debater. Ryan looked like a little child out there who didnt know who to ask for help.

    October 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  14. wiki

    Biden won the debate !!

    October 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  15. newshound

    The poll is a joke. I couldn't care less about either of the two political parties but Joe Biden was a clear winner in the debate. Ryan looked like a high school student. It was unbelievable to hear him say he agreed with the 2014 pullout from Afghanistan ...and then criticized Obama of setting a date and giving away the date for a pullout!
    As far as his views on abortion and the economy...sounds like Ryan and Romney are still living in the 1950's.

    October 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Good JOB Biden

    October 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  17. Sandy Smith

    Please... Ryan voted against equal pay for equal work for women.. What more do you need to know about this party?
    He also got his hat handed to him by the vice president... Also liked the point of how Ryan asked for stimulous money, even though they have critisized The current administration for using money to stimulate the economy.. I guess its only wrong if the democrates do it... This kid is not ready or prime time.

    October 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  18. rjames1976

    Joe was a disgrace to the whole process. He mocked everyone with his sneers, laughs, interruptions, rudeness, and was very condescending toward Paul. Paul, on the other hand, was calm, cool, and was never disrespectful to the Bully or even Martha. I' m sure he was taught to respect his elders but in this case, I'd say that he didn't owe these two old dogs anything. I am sorry that I didn't hear too much of what he had to say as Biden constantly interrupted. What a waste of time. Did anybody think that that moderator would be fair? I can't decide who she was trying to promote more, Biden or herself.

    October 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  19. ocmonman

    Biden is still unbelievable. No really, how can anybody believe him. In the next few days they'll pick both of their words apart and mark my word, Biden will be the worst liar. Check the facts if you're not too lazy.

    October 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  20. Steve

    Yeah if you are an ultra Marxist lib yeah biden won but he reminded me of a drunk guy in a bar you just wanted to get up and leave!

    October 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  21. Lis

    Biden was disgraceful. If our country respects a leader that is rude like Biden, then we are all going to lose in the long run. "What did Thumper say?" if your not going to say anything nice, don't say anything at all". If Biden would of just kept to facts and was respectful i would think differently of him and his leadership skills. I would HATE to see him lead our county. Ryan is younger but smarter.

    October 12, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  22. libbiec

    I have long suspected that CNN has a Republican slant. After watching that debate tonight and what you are reporting, I now know for sure that this network has a Republican slant. Ryan won? Really? what debate were your poll people watching?

    October 12, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  23. Boohincus

    I think Ayn Rand had a posthumous orgasm tonight.

    October 12, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  24. partyless

    I think there was no clear winner. However, Biden seemed to lack the common courtesy of respecting the moderator and his opponent. If this were a school debate, Biden would have been dismissed after a half hour and deemed the loser.

    October 12, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  25. Bigclange22

    Where do you really get these results, or better yet, who do you poll?
    Biden won this debate by a landslide.
    It really wasn't even close. Biden had facts, figures. Ryan just sat there and got slapped around.

    October 12, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
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