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. billy

    Biden just made a fool out of himself, he claims the GOP are lying but yet all I heard come out of bidens mouth were lies.

    October 12, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  2. Brian CA

    Biden lost. He was rude and overly aggressive. I'm sure there are a fair number of independent women voters who just got creeped out by the VP.

    October 12, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  3. Anonymous

    I would give Ryan an "A" for effort, but Biden, understandably, has a far better command of the issues and was able to provide more effective solutions as a result.

    October 12, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  4. 1111111

    CNN you disappoint me in every way, were you even watching the same debate that the rest of America was watching? Joe Biden by far, was the better debater here, he not only came off as agressive, but also at the right moments eased back and had a more sensitive side to him. Unlike Dracula's look alike Paul Ryan, Joe Biden showed character and emotion, and had passion in every argument that he engaged in. When i heard Paul Ryan speak I thought I was listening to robot; he had no emotion or character what so ever, and it felt like he was reading off of a teleprompter the whole time.

    October 12, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  5. john

    It was a close debate with most watchers falling along their party lines. However tomorrow nobody is going to be talking about who won but rather Joe's rude/bazaar behavior and his outright lie on the embassy attacks. His lock down must of prevented him from watching the hearings over past couple of days.

    Net net, Joe certainly didn't help Obama and in all likelihood cost him some of the independent vote as Ryan came off far more likable.

    October 12, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  6. Nutcase

    Ryan won of course. Hands down your pants he won and thats after your wife puts a pill between her legs and your kid gets a job as a custodial and Ginrich's high school.

    October 12, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Way to go Biden! You did what Obama needs to do next week.

    October 12, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  8. Sweethome

    Biden was funny.. I thought Ryan is younger and smarter and more on top of things. But Biden was a great sport and laughed when he was caught in traps. I like Biden more now then i did 4 years ago.

    October 12, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  9. kingswoodroad

    Put your partisans on the side for a moment. I am a Dem and I can tell you that Biden reminded me of Gore in 00'. Gore sighed at everything Bush said then during their debate and it hurt his election and Biden (tonight) tried to interrupt and force the points that Obama didn't make during his. He came off as rude and desperate. I think this was the final straw for many. Obama is done.

    October 12, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  10. nobuyuki

    Ryan was like the T-1000 this debate, stone cold. His job when he walked onto that stage was to terminate his opponent, full stop. Biden should've realized that earlier on and taken him more seriously. The laughs and smiles Joe made when congressman Ryan was being deadly serious probably cost him a few points in the court of public opinion. It took him about 30 minutes in to realize this and start fighting back.

    October 12, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  11. DJ

    I agree with Mike in NV. You folks look more and more like Fox everyday !!

    October 12, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  12. Paul

    Biden ran all over the snotty little Ryan . Nothing rude about Biden. About time someone got heated with these republican liars . Biden was presidential and tough. No Mormon should be in the white house

    October 12, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  13. Darth Mortis

    Anyone thinking that Biden lost because he was disrespectful obviously didn't mind that Ryan was completely unable to define a single policy he and Romney held, but Biden could, and did, answer every single question put to him, and he did so overwhelmingly truthfully if the fact checkers are to be believed. Manner mean nothing when it comes to the first manic the line of succession, only a cool head and decisiveness...both of which Biden had, and both of which Ryan looked like he was still waiting for Romney to make his mind up on.

    October 12, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  14. DJ

    I agree with Mike in NV. You folks look more and more like Fox everyday !!

    October 12, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  15. RapidOne

    Biden mopped the floor with Ryan. Republicans, you lose - America wins.

    October 12, 2012 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  16. jv

    There wasn't enough water in that glass for the "numbers" man!!!!!! Biden 2016. ha ha ha ha!!

    October 12, 2012 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  17. Angie

    CNN are you for real? Joe Biden won the debate.. Are you people at CNN Blinds and Deaf!! Ryan a LIAR like Romney..JOE BIDEN WON!!

    October 12, 2012 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  18. Machiavelli

    Biden appeared to win to me and everyone I know that saw the debate. Especially in foreign policy.

    October 12, 2012 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  19. J.T.

    Finally, posted a towel over left part of TV screen to block the smirking, grinning, laughter and disruptions from Biden towards Ryan....purposely done to distract from what Ryan was saying. Elementary schoolboy bullly Joe.... Neat trick?

    October 12, 2012 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  20. skylab76

    CNN is at it again. Trying to get your ratings up?

    Biden mopped the floor with Ryan. Biden evicerated him.

    October 12, 2012 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  21. Name Moe

    CNN is very partial to Republicans...I'm side eyeing Candy as a moderator in the next Presidential debate. We know Candy carries water for republicans, she tries to be subtle with it but I see right thru her like a piece of glass. Watch her, she will softball Romney and go hard with Prez Obama.

    October 12, 2012 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  22. lokc johl

    Wow this would make a great RNC ad... Biden laughing while Ryan talks about the dead in Libyis.. and medicare going broke... unemployment... wow... great job Bident for giving the RNC some great ads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  23. sheepguts68

    I have a way for debates to NEVER be so rudely interrupted in the future, with people such as Biden. Give them a clock and if it goes over their 2 minutes then the other candidate gets an extra 2 minutes. And so on.

    October 12, 2012 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  24. Alex

    Let's put it that way: Biden was tough, but he behaved just too disrespectful to win!

    October 12, 2012 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  25. Dan

    Biden did not show the character that I expect from a leader. Disappointing.

    October 12, 2012 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
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