Biden-Ryan Vice Presidential Debate: Who Won?

Vice President candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan squared off in the VP debate on Thursday, Oct. 11, a week after presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney had their first debate. Here's how Massachusetts Republicans and Democrats reacte


Massachusetts Democrats were more enthusiastic about Joe Biden's vice presidential debate performance than Bay State Republicans were about Paul Ryan's performance: that's the major finding of the Red and Blue Commonwealth flash polls sent out to local politicos immediately after the debate ended on Thursday night.

Biden and Ryan faced off on Thursday, Oct. 11 at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, with ABC News' Martha Raddatz moderating the debate that covered both domestic and foreign policy.

Of the 14 local influential Democrats who took the survey, 12 of them (85.7 percent) voted that Biden won by a large margin, with one voting that the current vice president won by a slim margin and one voting "neutral."

Meanwhile, of the 25 local influential Republicans who took the survey, seven of them (28 percent) voted that Ryan won by a large margin, with 13 (52 percent) voting that the congressman won by a slim margin. Five Republicans voted "neutral."

That's a switch from the presidential debate on Oct. 3, when in similar flash polls by Patch, local Democrats were less enthusiastic about President Barack Obama's performance and local Republicans were more enthusiastic about Gov. Mitt Romney's performance.

Asked who would be the consensus "winner" as declared by the national media, Democrats were unanimous in voting that Biden would be declared the winner, with 10 voting it'd be by a wide margin and four voting it'd be by a slim margin.

Republicans were almost evenly divided on who the national media would declare the consensus winner: seven voted it'd be Ryan by a slim margin, seven voted it'd be Biden by slim margin, seven voted "neutral" and four voted it'd be Biden by a wide margin.

What Moment Stood Out? 

Asked for a moment that will stand out in the minds of conservatives in Massachusetts, many of the local Republicans who took the flash poll took issue with Biden's demeanor and behavior during the debate, during which the vice president laughed and smiled during some of Ryan's answers. Several characterized his behavior as "disrespectful" and "rude."

"Biden was incredibly rude and condescending throughout the debate," wrote one Republican respondent. "His demeanor—the smirking and eye rolling—was offensive."

Others focused on Ryan's behavior in contrast to Biden's, which Republicans characterized as "cool and collected," "composure" and "honest, sincere."

Democratic respondents focused on the debate's exchanges on the economy and taxes when asked for a moment that will stand out in the minds of liberals and progressives in Massachusetts. Some chose Biden raising Romney's "47 percent" comment caught on tape, while others focused on Biden's exchange over the economy and taxes, saying "still no specifics" and "the R's math does not add up." 

Two people chose Biden's line, "Now you're Jack Kennedy?" in response to Ryan mentioning tax cuts passed under John F. Kennedy.

A few Democratic respondents expressed concern that Biden's "laughter" and "arrogance" would stand out in the mind of Massachusetts' swing voters, but others characterized the vice president's demeanor as aggressive: "Joe Biden calling out Paul Ryan's malarkey" and "Joe putting Ryan on the defensive" were two respondent's comments.

Other Democrats focused on economic issues, from the "47 percent" comment to Romney and Ryan's tax plan.

Most Republican respondents stuck with Biden's "boorish and bizarre" behavior, as one respondent put it, when asked what moment would stand out for Bay State swing voters.

"Paul Ryan's comments on Romney's bipartisianship," one Republican respondent wrote. "Also, no matter who you were, Biden's smirking was something you couldn't ignore. I don't think anybody liked it."

Two Republicans also focused on Ryan's statements regarding Social Security and Medicare.

Democrats Bullish on Biden's Effect on Mass. Votes, Republicans Lukewarm on Ryan's Effect 

Most of the local Democrats surveyed said Biden's performance would increase the number of votes Obama gets in Massachusetts, with nine strongly agreeing it would increase Obama's Bay State votes and four somewhat agreeing. One somewhat disagreed Biden helped bolster Obama's Massachusetts vote totals.

Republicans were somewhat split when asked if Ryan's performance would increase the number of votes Romney gets in Massachusetts. Two strongly agreed it would and 11 somewhat agreed, while eight were neutral, three somewhat disagreed and one strongly disagreed. 

In closing opinions, Democrats gave favorable reviews to Biden's performance, saying he spoke with "passion and caring," that he "trounced" Ryan and that he "referred more to fact than did Ryan." They also gave favorable reviews to the debate as whole, calling it "thoughtful," "heavy on policy and specifics" and lauding Raddatz's performance as moderator.

"Biden owned this debate. Paul Ryan came across as evasive, dogmatic and amateurish," one Democratic respondent wrote.

Some Republicans weren't as happy with Raddatz's job as moderator, saying she "allowed so much interruptions by Biden" and that her "raising abortion issue appeared to be a 'set-up.'"

Others praised Ryan, saying he did a "great job of sticking to the issues that matter the most," that he "gave a sincere, factual debate" and was "very gentleman-like and much better spoken than I anticipated."

One Republican respondent said that Biden "probably succeeded" in bolstering the Democratic base.

"But Biden’s statements will not survive a thorough fact check," the respondent continued. "Ryan was polite, he made his points despite being interrupted, he said the things he needed to say to continue making the case that the Obama administration is a failure. Ryan was a bit too deferential, nevertheless he held his own and succeeded preventing the tide which is definitely moving in the Romney/Ryan direction."

Who do you think won the debate? Tell us in the comments below.

Red and Blue Commonwealth Surveys

Our surveys are not a scientific, random sample of any larger population, but rather an effort to listen to a group of influential local Republican activists, party leaders, candidates and elected officials in Massachusetts. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in Massachusetts' Patch's surveys, although not all responded to this story's questions.

Patch will be conducting Red Commonwealth and Blue Commonwealth surveys throughout the 2012 election season in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in Massachusetts. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in periodic surveys that last just a few minutes, please contact Associate Regional Editor Daniel DeMaina at danield@patch.com.

George Lewis October 15, 2012 at 02:49 PM
So far jobs and the economy seem to be on track to recovery. I believe many people would like to know how Romney stands on some of what you refer to as less important issues. To some these are not less important issues. Ok, so lets go to immigration. Four years ago Romney supported president Bushes policy as well as McCains. Where does he stand now? Has he flip-flopped on this also??
Bob Samson October 15, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Obama and democrats seem to have forgotten about 23 million people. No work for them I guess.
JG October 15, 2012 at 03:19 PM
George... Repeating the same old talking points is not going to work this time. You need to face reality, Obama is going to lose. Leave the house and get some fresh air. Things will be okay..
George Lewis October 15, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Hi JG Haven't you heard - Romney is out of touch with the real world. Just hold on to your wallet if he gets elected, because he'll increase government fees like he did in Massachusetts. Just look at the increased taxes, I mean penalitiies, for Romneycare! Didn't he increase corporate fees also?
Paul J October 15, 2012 at 03:59 PM
@ George Lewis For you and others, why not just go to Romney’s site and read about his positions. I am not going to be your research assistant or going to try to be your interpreter. http://www.mittromney.com/issues I have looked and both of Obama’s sites, the one for White Americans and the One for African Americans. http://www.barackobama.com/ http://www.barackobama.com/african-americans It is apparent you just wish to argue and have nothing better to do than agitate unconstructively. Your have made your decisions, I have made mine and neither will change, so deal with it.
Beachmaster October 15, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Paul J - thanks for your thorough research and comments. I agree, George has already drank the kool-aid and so will continue to believe the lines he's fed.
Beth Gardner October 15, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I think it is hilarious that Romney's bullying, interruptions, general rudeness and lack of debate etiquette was totally ignored by the republicans, but as soon as Biden acts in a similar manner, they're all over that. Give me a break!
Steve Marino October 15, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Poor George, all the free stuff will be gone soon! I quess we really should feel bad for him because it really is quite an adjustment to get stuff for free and then be told you really have to work for it! Leave him alone to ponder his upcoming grief! The Free Ride is over in January! Back to work everyone!
Cassie October 15, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Doug, it doesn't matter what side of the spectrum you're on, anyone paying attention to that debate could see that the moderator was clearly biased in Biden's favor. Sure Romney interrupted Obama a few times in the first debate but what Biden did to Ryan was on a completely different level and how did Martha Raddatz react? Most of the time she allowed Biden to finish speaking and then would move on to another topic when Ryan tried to respond. Fox is ONE news channel and I would argue the only one with conservative inclinations. CNN & MSNBC, not to mention almost all of Hollywood clearly leans (that's putting it lightly) towards the left. That's a whole other debate though. You may dislike Ryan and think he's an idiot but don't try to pretend that republicans are throwing unfounded accusations when it comes to Raddatz. Anyone who paid attention to the debate with an open mind could very clearly see Raddatz was being very unfair and the fact that so many articles were praising her moderator skills is proof in and of itself that there is a liberal bias in the media. The fact that she is moderating tomorrow's 2nd presidential debate is a travesty.
Anne Sweeney October 16, 2012 at 05:34 AM
George, why do you waste your time writing all this crap ? Massachusetts has only about 13 % republican representation, voting which matters. Obviously Obama is going to take Massachusetts. Warren will win and Tierney will lose, after all we the people do not aspire to the Seinfeld rule on lying. Although I am sure you bought into Tierneys delusions. Don't worry George, your EBT card is safe, go down to Harrigans, buy a case of DUFF and enjoy the debate tonight. If all your people get in on November 6th, you can celebrate by submitting your Social Security Disability Retirement. Under Obama, Tierney and Warren, you're a shoe-in George.
George Lewis October 16, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Hi Anne,Steve,and Beachmaster. The reason I write this stuff is because people have short memories. They don't remember Romney campaigning on bringing jobs back to Massachusetts and then while Governor becoming 47th in job creation! They don't remember that he increased fees by $240 Million. They don't remember that he cut services in fire police and education and for some reason managed to increase the state budget by 25%. They don't remember that he outsourced jobs to India. Hardly a record to be proud of! And now he is running for president, and trying to fool the American Voter. Let me ask you -were you better off after 4 years of Romney as Gov? And sorry Anne there are some people in the other 53% that think Obama is doing a great job, and I'm one of them! He would be doing a much better job if the do-nothing republican congress got off their duffs!
JG October 16, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Georgey poo...you seem to leave out the fact that in Obama's first two years he had control of the House and Senate. Instead of focusing on the economy he rammed Obamcare down our thoughts and tried to get Cap and Trade through. He told John McCain in a budget meeting that elections have consequences and basically alienated the Republicans going forward. The American people didn't approve of Obama's leadership and showed him during the historic 2010 elections. Obama still didn't get it (unlike Clinton) and instead of moving to the center went even more left. George, your guy said if he didn't turn this around in his first term them he wouldn't be re-elected... Duh?... He said that Bush was unpatriotic for borrowing so much money and raising the deficit.. Your guy is the worst president ever when it comes to borrowing and spending... In 2010 we sent a message, as usual Obama didn't listen...
Beachmaster October 16, 2012 at 04:32 PM
George - you can keep repeating the same liberal lies, but it still doesn't change the facts. Yes, MA was in much better shape fiscally when Mitt left than when he came in. But don't take my word for it. Venture outside your moonbat websites and maybe you'll learn something.
Steve Marino October 16, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Lets face the truth George, 16,000,000,000,000.00 in dept, 7.8 percent colecting unemployment, another 7 percent have given up or are greatly underemployed, record high gas prices, businesses bracing for a record high taxation, no confidence in leadership, middle class about to get crushed by tax increase on the company's they work for, food prices killing the middle class and poor, Americans killed overseas due to incompetance, our enemies see weakness and attack our citizen abroad,making enemies with our allies and friends with our enimies! Mickey Mouse could do a better job! Why is it that all you do is bash Obamas opponent with some facts, a lot of fiction, and try to belittle a man that has hired more people in the businesses that he has run, then Obama has while running a country that has 23,000,000 without work? No one takes what you say as serious and you sound like an ass. I challenge you to list all of the positive things Obama has done for this country! I know it will be near impossible, but why don't you give it a try instead of trying to do nothing but put down Romney.
Steve Marino October 16, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Oh, and by the way, congress has passed more then 40 bills that would have us well on our way out of this financial mess created mostly by Obama, but the Democratically controlled senate will not even vote on these bills! We sent these people to congress to change the direction of this administrations fiscal irresponsibility in record numbers and the senate and Obama have said,(it's our way, or the highway) Time For A Change!
Greg October 16, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Wow...Steve. Can you really say with a straight face that the financial mess the country is in was mostly created by Obama? Really?!? If that's the case, is he also responsible for the trouble in Europe and the Greek financial crisisl? Hell, your on a role so you might as well blame him for breaking up the Beatles too. Your statements make you look like a partisan fool. Over the last decade we fought 2 wars & enacted significant tax cuts that we put on a charge card. Not to mention that we significantly scaled back any regulation on Wall St. that lead to the single biggest fraud ever to occur. Listen, I'm not a huge Obama fan, but I think I'm fair enough to recognize he was dealt a raw deal. Has he fallen down along the way, yeah he hasn't been perfect, but he has done a pretty decent job. He passed a healthcare bill that 20 years ago was a Republican proposal, he killed Bin Laden, he did the right thing in Libya, he enacted crippling sanctions on Iran, he saved the domestic auto-industry, and it does seem as if the economy is headed in the right direction. If we've learned anything over the last 30 years is that trickle-down economics doesn't work. It never worked. Any proposal for debt reduction that doesn't include tax increases isn't really debt reduction.
Sean Ward October 16, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Greg, I own a small business. I can tell you that trickle down does work. I make less money than many of my employees and in fact less than median income for the past 3 years. When I have to send more money to the government it doesn't go to my employees. I end up sending more than 1/3 of what I have left in profits to the government. If I could keep some of that I would hire a few more people because we have too much work for our current staff level to handle. We were also forced in 2009 to reduce the employer share of their health insurance plans in an effort to prevent more layoffs. If I could keep some of what I send to the government I would bring back the higher employer contribution we used to offer. Sure, some rich people might make out if Romney gets into to office but so would my middle-classed self and my middle-classed staff. If Obama gets in me and my staff lose. Also, after Obama took office I looked in every nook and cranney to see if they would help us in any way before I had to layoff 1/2 my staff. They were unwilling to help in any way shape or form unless I could prove I was a minority or some other disadvantaged group. Democrats are not in favor of the middle class or the wealthy.
john October 16, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Romney will tear Obama a new one on Libya alone. Americans dying all over the world and the administration lies about it?
Steve Marino October 16, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Greg, Obama does not understand how a capitalist democracy works which is the problem. Capitalism is nothing more then trickle down. Company's do well and so do its middle class employees. The poor have greater opportunity to become middle class and so on. Tax the crap out of business and you end up with higher unemployment and hardship among the middle class and poor! As far as addressing the other democratic talking points, it just a bunch of crap! Instead of fixing the economy, Obama chose to pass Obama care that America didn't want and we have yet to see the overwhelming cost of this unpopular legislation. If he had tried to fix the economy, we would not be facing the mess we are in. The problem is, he does not know how!
Steve Marino October 16, 2012 at 08:54 PM
By the way Greg, I did say mostly responsible and not entirely responsible which is a fact!
George Lewis October 16, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Hi Steve Are you all there? Bush Jr increased the debt over 100%, Bush Sr 50% Reagan 200% Imagine if Reagan were president now that would be a debt of 30,000,000,000,000.00. Remember the debt clock started during Reagan! Those numbers are far far more than the 52% increase Under Obama! Where did you learn your math? Probably the same private school Romney went to! Don't you look at the stock market. Up 100% since OBAMA took office! And you are obviously smoking something when you say taxes went up! Taxes are at the same level as when Bush was there and even lower since OBAMA decreased payroll taxes and instituted some work credits! And yes unemployment is high but Obama has brought it under the numbers that he started with. Created over 4 million jobs in 4 years - significantly better than the other guys meager 60,000 in 20 years. Positive things OBAMA has done Ended or will shortly end 2 Wars - No President has ever done that! Saved the auto industry which Romney would have let go belly up! Brought the value of peoples 401K that are investeds in the market back from disaster. Put in place OBAMACARE which has eluded all presidents in my lifetime! Kept us from going into a depression. Got OSAMA BIN LADEN when Romney said it was a waste of resources to go after him We haven't had a terrorist attack on our soil! Took out the Somali pirates, Supports Big Bird! OBAMA is the GREATEST PRESIDENT We Ever Had ! ! !
George Lewis October 16, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Hi Steve Maybe you can explain that if we are taxing the crap out of Business, GE pays no Income Tax? And why do you think OBAMA got elected - he ran on OBAMA CARE so quit saying the people didn't want it. You are spreading falsehoods!!
George Lewis October 16, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Hi Sean If trickle down does work, What happened to it at the end of Bushe's era. when unemployment skyrocketed and corporations lost half their value ???????
Paul J October 16, 2012 at 10:32 PM
@ George Lewis •Obamacare never had “the consent of the governed”. It was passed via a 60-vote majority in the Senate that the electorate never intended the Democrats to have. In the 2008 elections, the voters wanted to deliver the maximum possible jolt to the Republicans, in the hope of shaking up that party, and bringing forth new leaders, with better ideas than those of George W. Bush. However, the electorate was not counting on the Democrats being able to steal the Senate election in Minnesota. Horrified by what had happened, the voters corrected this at the earliest opportunity by electing Republican Scott Brown to fill Teddy Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, the Democrats were able to exploit their narrow window of opportunity to pass Obamacare. The electorate has been mobilizing to get rid of it ever since. Their first step was the spontaneous generation of the Tea Party. The second was the 2010 elections, which wiped out huge numbers of Obamacare supporters in both the House and the Senate, and ended Pelosi's reign as Speaker.
Sean Ward October 16, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Well George, As I understand it the issue began with Barney Frank spearheading an effort to get home ownership for more Americans. Mostly those who by previous standards were not qualified to be home owners or were too high a risk. This put billions of dollars worth of mortgages out there on 5/1 ARMS which the financial institutions started leveraging around and doing risky things with like that have done for decades. The difference this time was that the mortages themselves were too high risk. When the ARMS started to expire in the mid 2000s the high risk home owners started to default in droves. Banks had this money leveraged to hilt and didn't have anything they could do with their growing default balances. Then the press started making a big deal out of this in 2008 and put the whole nation in a panic. All the rest of the high risk home owners jumped on in a sort of "run on the bank" situation. Companies like the ones my company works for in real estate started to suffer. They stopped sending us work so we started to suffer. This trickled down to other industries and led to the current recession. That is what happened at the end of Bush's term. Bush was an idiot, I don't think he caused it but he certainly failed to prevent it. This recession was a bi-partisan failure.
Sean Ward October 16, 2012 at 11:07 PM
GE is a publicly traded corporation. Each and every employee pays taxes on their earnings from GE and each shareholder pays capital gains taxes on their dividends. Keep in mind that most investors in GE are middle-class people who used their after-tax savings to purchase shares of GE. What do you hope to accomplish by taxing GE itself? In my estimation it would accomplish several things: A) Earnings per share for the shareholders would drop which would also drop the capital gains tax they are paying on those earnings and also leave less money in their pockets to spend in the economy. B) GE would likely have to lay off some workers resulting in less employment tax revenue, more people on unemployment, more defaulted mortages and loans and again, less money for them to spend in the economy. C) GE would likely have to cut funding to their charitable programs like the $150 million they spend on their "Developing Futures in Education" program or the $25 million a year they spend to fund their "Developing Health" program. I don't have enough room to go on here but look at their other disaster relief, international, and employee matching donations programs. D) and this is my favorite. Like any other company in the world they would have to raise the prices of their consumer products which once again puts the cost back on the middle class who consume those goods (i.e. washing machines, dish washers, etc.).
Steve Marino October 17, 2012 at 12:06 AM
George, by repeating false crap continuously over and over again doesn't make the crap true, it's still just crap! How is it possible that a sitting president running for a second term is down in the polls, running against such an incompetent fool? You may want to ask Jimmy Carter that question because people like you were saying that Reagan was unqualified to be president and was just plain stupid.( I know, I lived thru it, ) and he turned out to be the greatest president in our life time! Carter had most of the same policies as did Carter and how did he make out? Americans are not stupid, the have eyes and ears and will speak loudly in November! As for Obama care, what percentage of Americans are in favor of it? As for GE, have they made a profit in the last decade? You actually have to make a profit to pay a tax! Thank God Obama hasn't figured out how to tax the losses of a business! By the way, I will repeat, if Reagan had a line item veto, we would have had a balanced budget! We had a balance budget in the 90's under Clinton because he and the republican led congress did this together. How's that my way or the highway working out for Obama and the democratically controlled senate? Time to get rid of the bums that will not show bipartisanship in the White House and in congress!
Steve Marino October 17, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Dept is caused by over spending of Big Government! The auto industry is not General Motors! They are just one company that made bad decisions and had to be bailed out because of it. This will happen again because they were not left to fail for making such decisions. Why hasn't Obama done the same for the thousands of failed businesses in the last 4 years under his watch? Would it have something to do with the fact that the unions at General Motors are huge supporters of Obama?
Steve Marino October 17, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Corection to post at 8:06: Carter had most of the same policies as Obama and how did he make out?
Jay Burnham October 17, 2012 at 09:34 AM
john...How'd that work out for you last night in the 2nd debate?


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