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. Melissa

    Biden was condescending and disrespectful with his smug grin and giggling. Ryan was very impressive as he calmly stated his arguments and also was the only one to thank his opponent at the end. I've been undecided thus far, but Ryan impressed me with his class tonight and Biden turned me off completely.

    October 12, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  2. jesse

    Everyone i have talked to has said they thought Ryan did the better job, Biden acted like a fool, and just for the record i'm still undecided.

    October 12, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  3. JSFlorida

    Biden is a typical slick politician. He thinks the old "trust me", flash the pearly whites and then spout off a slogan about being for the middle class wins people over. Do you want someone with class like Ryan or "They gonna put y'all back in chains!" Biden representing the country? Anyone picking the later is probably part of the crass, government teat suckers that represent Obama's base. The middle class doesn't support you, jerk! We want jobs and people to take care of themselves. Not an open tax-payer vault for the welfare class!

    October 12, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  4. craig

    Interesting that the "un-decided voters"...presumably those who watched with the idea of learning more about their options found the outcome so very different. I suspect their responses are more realistic than those already on one side or the other.

    October 12, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  5. JPAT3721

    You know how some people just come across strange...or very fake even. You can tell by watching their mannerisms that the moment they get away from people they will become somone else completely. In other words, everything they're doing is an act, which is by nature deceitful. Joe Biden was that person tonight. They're debating Iran getting nukes, or our embassy workers getting murdered...and what's Biden doing? Smiling from ear to ear. Now have some more kool aid and go back to sleep!!!

    October 12, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  6. RillyKewl

    Biden came out much, much stronger than Ryan. It wasn't really very close at all.
    CNN polling is the outlier tonight.

    October 12, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  7. Denise

    Y'all must all live in NY and CA because I dont know A SINGLE PERSON who thinks Biden won, He is a worthless creepy expense on the US payroll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    October 12, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  8. awg

    Biden did well, Ryan was better.

    October 12, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  9. Joe

    BIden would have won if he didnt make such an ass of himself. Overall it was pretty much a draw.

    October 12, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  10. Sara

    Stephanie Cutter is a true ass. They need to take up a collection and buy her a Bird Bird bucket and shovel to scoop her lyin' poo poo outta the sandbox. Obama and Biden are the Burns and Shrieber of the political world (look THAT one up, smart ones...)...Comedic, but truly just not that damn funny. I say cancel their sitcom and put some real men on the job and see if they can get the job done. At least we won't have to put up with the anger and the pain of just not being real bright. That goes for the number one and the number two. There were a lot of people who believed in them in 2008. Now, they are just ridiculous. See a WHOLE lot more lying on that side of the fence. When you throw a bag of feces at your opponent, make sure the wind isn't blowing in your direction : )

    October 12, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  11. Tom Truthteller

    Ryan won on both style and substance. Biden had to resort to gutter-level signs of disrespect.......the kind that someone who is desperate resorts to.

    October 12, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  12. cthrurlies

    So where was this poll to vote? Did CNN get bought out by Bain Capital? Biden cleaned Lying Ryan's baby faced clock! He demonstrated that Romney and the GOP's plan is as solid as the wind. Go team Obama!

    October 12, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  13. sheepguts68

    If I was Ryan after the 47% comment I would have brought up the Obama 2007 video in New Orleans.

    October 12, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  14. kay 1

    I cannot not believe this poll of yourS i might as well watch FOX.

    October 12, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  15. R Burns

    Biden won in my opinion, hands down! Ryan sidestepped the questions and launched his own pre-programmed spiel with each turn, while Biden answered directly and didn't abuse his turn. I would have like a little less smirking from Biden, but that's frivolous compared to sidestepping. Between avoiding issues and being unpredictable if not scary with policies that don't make much sense, the Romney team doesn't look like one that would improve or even keep American life above water. I've been leaning a bit more toward Obama in the last couple of weeks and this debate was decisive for me. I'm willing to give the current admin another stretch to finish the job they started.

    October 12, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  16. AH

    Mr. Biden has been rude, condescending, even juvenile in this debate. Malarky? interrupting with bbbbbuuubbbuubb (a version of yada yada yada) laughing, "oh god's" in condescension. Even if Mr. Biden was correct in his view, his actions negate any validation of said view. He is an embarrassment to politics. Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney acted in a professional manner throughout their debate. That Mr. Ryan was able to keep his temper and continue to act honerable and as a gentlemen while being treated in such a manner, deserves this win.

    October 12, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Joe Biden... You're a disgrace, and I'm embrassed for you. I was actually going ot vote for Obama, again, until I watched you this evening!

    October 12, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  18. ldfana

    Biden should have been aborted as a fetus. Enough said

    October 12, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  19. alien

    Ryan does chickens and sheep

    October 12, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  20. Margie

    I so agree will Mike that CNN is more like foxs. What Happened to the old CNN. Maybe this the reason your rating are going down. What happened to being fair and balanced? Also why do you have these people after the the debates. Sorta Stacked the deck.

    October 12, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  21. Jim H

    For those who say Biden was "disrespectful" - well, when a politician comes on and tries to peddle a load of rotten fish and pretend facts, it's time to call him out. The president has been called a Kenyan, a Marxist, an angry black man, and everything under the sun. Listen every darn morning to Rush Limbaugh or any right-wing talk station. If you can't be told you're full of malarkey, then take your ball and go home, because "malarkey" is about the most genteel word you can use for Paul "Ayn Rand" Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  22. Andrew Nordine

    Nobody won. In fact, we all lost. The issues were obscured behind Biden's filibustering. He went into this knowing that Republicans expected Ryan to wipe the floor with him, so his strategy was simple: don't let Ryan talk. And the moderator did nothing to help the situation. Biden was downright disrespectful and belligerent, not just to Ryan, but to the American people.

    October 12, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  23. Rob S in Lincoln, NE

    Maybe CNN/ORC should challenge their "polling director" to do his job. Look at the PDF of the press release – the survey group was +21 favorable toward Ryan PRE-DEBATE, and -1 (unfavorable) toward Biden. You might have had a plurality self-declare as independents, but obviously your independents were nearly all conservative-independents. When 60% of them like Ryan and only 47% like Biden from the outset, shouldn't that raise a red flag that you need to tweak the study group? Big surprise that the CBS poll looks completely different – they actually tried to capture a representative sample.

    October 12, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  24. pattypatty

    Our country and the world is facing very difficult times. I'm unsure what in the **** could be so funny given the seriousness of our times (including gas being $5 per gallon in CA. Biden doesn't seem to have a care in the world. He usually looks and sounds toasted and out of touch with reality.

    October 12, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  25. Avi

    Biden really did a great job, hammering Paul and Romney team for all fakes bogus plans they are proposing(which they themselves know will never work). I DON'T buy that Biden was disrespectful, by that fact Romney acted totally like a jerk the other day asking about problems without offering any alternative better solutions.What Biden did is really awesome, just punching right on face. Who cares of respect here.. it is not your bedroom anyway. BIDEN WON by a large margin. Paul's face showed several times totally awkward and speechless!

    October 12, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
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