Joe Biden was not fooling around tonight. The vice president brought the smack-down to the VP debate in Kentucky and put Congressman Paul Ryan squarely on the defensive. While some outlets are calling tonight’s display a draw, or even a Paul Ryan win, to Democrats it reads loud and clear that Biden brought all that was missing from Obama’s performance last week: passion, vigor, and vision. Biden hit the debate floor without a moment of hesitation; Ryan came in looking like exactly what he is, a newbie.
Already, eager internet searchers are wondering what happened to the polls over this 90-minute battle. Did Biden win the hearts of the waffling independents or did he, as Nicholas Kristof tweeted, make those “middle of-the-road voters” cry rude.
Prior to the debate, CNN polling showed that despite Biden’s experience-edge, CNN polling showed that 55% of respondents expected Ryan to win the debate. After the 90-minute showdown it definitely feels like those respondents were wrong, though polling numbers are surprisingly calling this a much closer battle.
The debate show-cased an extreme difference in ideology between the two candidates on issues ranging from foreign policy to abortion. If viewers were looking for a clear choice between party platforms, they were given one tonight. Peter Baker of the New York Times tweeted, “Suspect this will be remembered as the Biden debate – either you loved his feistiness or hated his dismissiveness but it’s all about Joe.”
As the poll numbers trickle in from the evening, it is clear that some viewers were off put by that Biden feist. CNBC is reporting that Ryan crushes Biden by 20 points; 56% believed Ryan won to Biden's 36%.
If these numbers are accurate, then the evening might not be the game changer that immediate social media reactions made it seem to be.
CBS poll numbers tell a different story, giving Biden 50% approval amongst undecided voters.
Similar CBS polls show indicate that viewers found Biden more relateable as well as more fit to be president.
The real surprise comes from CNN who is saying that the evening went to definitively to Ryan. CNN political analyst David Gergen tweeted out that Ryan won according to 47%.
I have to wonder if we were watching the same debate. The numbers over the next few days will tell the real story.