For those of you who read yesterday’s post, the 2012 VP debate could be best described as a combination of a one and a three.
Paul Ryan landed some blows, as did Joe Biden. But Ryan was wonkish yet deliberate, and Biden was bombastic and quite frankly rude. In short, the first and only VP debate of the 2012 cycle was full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
While I at first thought Joe Biden actually won (because he was so much more aggressive), audiences at home were split. A CBS poll had Biden winning handily, 50% to Ryan’s 37%. But another poll from CNN had Ryan the winner by a meaningful margin – 48% to 44%. I guess I was just desensitized to Biden’s guffaws and condescension – most people at home thought Joe lost for sure on style because of his continued interruptions. On substance, the same viewers rated the bout as a draw.
This means that for the most part, nothing changed. Nevertheless, I observed some interesting things.
Both candidates got nearly equal talking time – about 40 minutes each. Ryan failed to offer more specifics on loophole closures, an opening which Romney must close. Biden at times looked less fit to be president than Ryan, a man 27 years his younger.
Ryan consistently got higher marks from women in a CNN live debate-watching meter running at the bottom of the screen. Biden seemed to play directly to the base, and Ryan went after the undecideds. Both accomplished their goals in that respect – I think Ryan built a small extra cushion for Romney in the swing states, and I think Biden fired up Democrats in tears over the President’s “wilting flower routine” last time ’round.
In that respect I think the draw was most meaningful for Romney-Ryan. But Democrats got a nice backstop out of it too. Call this one a tie.