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. Heff

    What a jerk Biden was! Made me want to get out of my chair and stuff toliet paper in his mouth to shut him up....That's what's wrong with the government now....It's a joke just as Biden showed us tonight! We need young blood!

    October 12, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  2. jojo

    I thought Ryan won. I was listening to it on the radio and Biden's odd behavior , arrogance , rudeness came through. I usually see people behave like this when they are on the losing end of an argument but want people to believe otherwise.

    October 12, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  3. Tyler Tubbs

    Ryan won?! I think not. I'm a Republican and I'll admit that Ryan looked like a frightened schoolgirl. THIS is the guy you want making decisions if Mitt gets laid up?

    October 12, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  4. Anonymous

    CNN is going faux news. Biden was the clear winner.

    October 12, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  5. Joe

    Biden was rude.... don't like him.

    October 12, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  6. Johnny

    Take it from an old gay man who has traveled the world and voted for many Presidents.....Ryan won and I hope to God or Obamas Allah that Romney will be our next leader.

    October 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  7. Kenny Laz

    what I don't get is CNN had a poll that state that Biden won 62-35, now CNN is saying Ryan won something does not add up. I think CNN is taking a page from Fox news.

    October 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  8. Oscar

    I'm not sure what they were watching or wh was polled, but Biden won this debate.

    October 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  9. Monica

    Ryan was courteous, responsive, calm and well prepared. Joe Biden was rude, constantly interrupting, out of control and a bully. I think that gave Ryan an edge. Ryan is more of VP material than Joe Biden.

    October 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  10. Srini

    wow.. only fox and cnn says ryan win. nbc, cbs, abc, msnbc ..all etc channels says biden won. Even cnn poll by the people says 65 percent for biden. What kind of polling is this from the cnn. Am bit surprised at the kind of people cnn is polling...

    October 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  11. Vic

    I'm afraid Biden only appealed to those who are hoping and looking for some redemption for Obama in the last debate. Any independent thinking person was totally turned off by his rude, condescending behavior. We saw way too much of his teeth and he talked over Ryan when it was his time to express his views. Rudeness is never victor!

    October 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  12. Corndog

    If you factor in Biden's content, interruptions, disrespectful laughter & looks, and out right lies then I would agree that Ryan won easily!!!! Biden disappointed me on how childish he was!!!

    October 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  13. Mike Moriarty

    Wow a sample of 381 registered voters! Wow huge survey CNN held... to cap it off, I bet they all happen to be from Texas. CNN is the new FOX.

    October 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  14. Babs in PA

    CNBC and AP polls also have Ryan winning, and they're pretty non-partisan, I would tend to think CNN is right on the mark here.

    October 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  15. laughingstock

    Here's what's sticking in my memory from the debate:

    Biden – Gigantic toothy rat-like smile while discourteously disrupting constantly spewing liberal talking points.
    Ryan – Courteous and respectful while sticking to the subject.

    October 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  16. reasonablebe

    I guess people believe what they want, or wish to be true, despite factual evidence to the contrary of their beliefs. Ryan most definitely played fast and loose with republican and romney stands, tried as hard as he could to totally evade direct answers to some very direct questions– about whether women should be concerned that a romney lead gov. would try to make abortion illegal (they would– romney has so stated, clearly and unambiguously) and whether they would jump into war in the middle east– that is, start one (seems they are thinking they will, in Iran and Syria).

    hope the fact checkers do get out there and point out the inconsistencies– this is not a run for class president in HS, where it is just fine to exaggerate, promise, and mislead since it's just a popularity contest. this is real life. this is bigger than anything ryan has imagined in his wildest dreams--

    and he's had a lot of those.....did he tell you about the big fish that got away- or was it a shark? or how about how he ran a marathon in under 3 hrs, err, maybe under 4 hours, yah, that's the ticket!

    October 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  17. libertydwells

    Interesting, Mike in NV, because I have yet to see or hear a single person claim Biden won except on news sites like this and leftist sites like HuffPo and DemocratUnderground. Everything on the right and in the middle, as well as the dominating opinion on Twitter, is either Ryan won or it was a draw. Largely because Biden was so completely obnoxious. The long and short of it is Biden needed to convince people to vote Obama. That's it...and he failed. The debate appears to have had little effect and what impact it did have is stronger for Romney than Obama.

    October 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  18. Zallen

    Yes, like another poster mentioned, why do you not have a poll on your Politics page for the whole country in which to vote? Certainly less skewed then only those that have land lines, of which myself and none of my friends still own.

    October 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  19. Chris

    Walter Cronkite is spinning in his grave. Ever since Trump slammed CNN's low ratings, CNN has been selling out to the Fox News crowd. They even have a spin room. Next up will be Glenn Beck with his chalkboard as an anchor.

    October 12, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  20. what?

    are we talking about the same debate? cnn, hello?

    October 12, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  21. Settle down there big fella

    Biden was a national embarrassment. Is this really what we should expect from a sitting vice president who is a heartbeat away from being commander-in-chief? He usurped "command" of the debate as "interrupter-in-chief" to the detriment of the American people who could not hear the comments of his opponent. If one is confident of one's message and the ability of the American people to reason for themselves, there is no need to sabotage the debate.

    October 12, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  22. Tom

    Biden was the clear winner. Ryan came across as being inexperienced and evaded direct questions.

    October 12, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  23. GoGreen

    Each time Biden smirked and laughed was because he saw Ryan's nose growing longer and longer.

    October 12, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  24. MBucciarelli

    The substance of the debate was a draw... both candidates laid out their positions well... Biden won some, Ryan won some... however, regarding demenor and professionalism Ryan won hands down... AND I"M A DEMOCRAT! C'mon folks, you are lying when you say Biden was awesome... he needs to take notes from his boss on how to act presidential... he hurt us badly tonight.... the poll results make sense.

    October 12, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  25. LM in NV

    Biden was rude, disrespectful. Ryan won because he was respectful of Biden, and kept his cool, when Biden kept cutting him off, and smirking/laughing.

    October 12, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
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