Who Won the VP Debate 2012: Paul Ryan Wins the Polls Against Laughing Joe Biden


If you're a liberal or a Democrat, you probably loved Joe Biden's performance last night; if you're an independent or a Republican, not so much.

According to RealClearPolitics.com, the Obama campaign was deeply wounded after last weeks presidential debate. Mitt Romney not only came off as more likable the he ever had previously, but he also came off as more knowledgeable and confident than President Obama. Over the past eight days, the polls have shifted over to Governor Romney's favor.

Biden was sent out to reverse this increasing trend, rally the base and show the American people that the administration still had fire in its belly. There is, however, one word that Vice President Biden forgot, and that word is overkill.

Biden's been here before. All throughout the 2008 Democratic primary season, and during his 2008 VP debate with Governor Sarah Palin, he was calm, collected, even presidential. He was a likable and charming guy. This time, we saw a different Joe Biden. 

Biden smirked, grinned, and waved his hands wildly. Some people would call it impassioned. Others might suggest that he was doing an impression of a southern preacher trying to perform an exorcism. He shook his finger repeatedly in the air, and interrupted Congressman Paul Ryan 82 different times. Paul Ryan maintained his cool, and was polite to a fault. 

As the old adage goes, it's all about how things look. Biden tried to exude strength, but ended up coming across as unhinged, cocky, arrogant and rude. Paul Ryan tried to come across as confident and composed, but may have come across as slightly timid. So who ended up getting the best results for their team in the end? Well, as of right now, it might very well have been vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.

According to the CNN poll of independents, Paul Ryan won the debate, 48% to 44%. The same poll showed that people who watched the debate believed that Paul Ryan expressed himself better than Joe Biden, 50%-41%. An NBC poll of 435 uncommitted voters after the debate showed Paul Ryan winning with 63% to 31%. CNBC had it 56% to 36%, again with Paul Ryan coming out on top. Even the Danville Advocate Messenger had Paul Ryan on top at the end of the day, attracting 56% to Biden's 41%.

So how could Joe Biden's strategy have backfired so horribly? It's quite simple. He did not come off as 'presidential.' He wasn't Joe Biden. He was Malarkey McSmirk. 

One of the reasons that Romney was able to move so many undecided and independent voters over to his side last week was because of how he came off during the debate. On Thursday, Paul Ryan may have accomplished the same thing, although he may have Joe Biden to thank for it. President Obama's smirking and looking down did him in. Biden's frantic arm waving and persistent chuckling may have done the same thing. Independent voters do not like someone that looks like they do not want to be there, and they definitely do not like someone who comes across as an arrogant, interrupting madman. 

A large number of pundits from across the spectrum would seem to agree. Peggy Noonan, Charles Krauthammer, Piers Morgan, and many others.

Like Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume...

Or veteran anchor Chris Wallace...

CNN's Gloria Borger...

And even NBC's David Gregory!

Paul Ryan may not have gotten in any huge shots, aside from his well-timed jab about Biden knowing what it is like to say the wrong thing, but one thing may become abundantly clear. While Vice President Biden may have thrilled Democrats, he may have done more damage to his ticket in the process by pushing independent voters away. Need further proof? Both the Fox News and the CNN focus groups seemed to agree. Mark down the date on the calendar folks, because that might not happen again for a long time.