Joe Biden vs. Paul Ryan.
This debate will be amazing political entertainment.
Here we are again: debate night in America, the one and only debate meeting between the two vice presidential nominees.
But this debate will be a little different than the Obama vs Romney presidential variant. Expect a lot more rhetoric and one-liners, and a lot less real policy (complete updates below).
In one corner, gaffe-prone, Joe “this-is-a-big-f*cking-deal” Biden will be expected to avenge President Obama’s poor debate performance from last week, and will likely assail the Republican ticket on everything from the Romney-Ryan tax plan, to Big Bird.
In the other corner, conservative wunder boy Paul “P90x” Ryan will be expected to say the shameless things Romney isn’t allowed to say in a presidential debate, as he un-relentlessly trashes the Obama presidency (i.e. Obamacare, Libya, the economy, etc. etc. etc.)
It’s being billed the “Thrill in the’Ville” (it’s being held in the small town of Danville, Kentucky), and it’s sure to be a slug fest.
Ryan has the edge in tonight’s debate: By a 42% to 25% margin, more independents expect Ryan to do better than Biden in the debate single VP debate between both candidates.
When’s its broken down along party lines, most Republicans and Democrats predict victory for their party’s candidate, but Republicans are more confident than Democrats. Nearly eight-in-ten (78%) Republican voters say Ryan will do the better job in the debate. Fewer Democrats (62%) expect Biden to do better.
The momentum, though, may be growing for the Obama-Biden ticket. Romney may be seeing a polling surge, but there are worrying signs for the Romney campaign. The number of “undecided” voters is growing, and that number is made up of more Republicans than Democrats.
The GOP base is unstable, and while Romney may be the candidate gaining the most speed, it looks like the Romney-Ryan ticket will struggle to maintain the gains made in the last two weeks.
The right-leaning Rasmussen Tracking Poll for Wednesday showed, attracting support from 48% of voters nationwide, while Obama earned 47%. One percent preferred some other candidate, while 4% are undecided.
That “4%” is the red flag in all of the data. The number has grown by two points in only three days. More so, 8% of Republicans and unaffiliated voters currently stand in the "undecided" category or plan to vote for some other candidate. Only 2% of Democrats are uncommitted to one of the major party candidates. The 8% number corresponds with Republican enthusiasm in election 2012, which is considerably lower than Dem enthusiasm. Democrats are generally more excited than Republicans for election 2012.
Ryan, of course, can change all that with a thorough drubbing of Biden tonight.
Get your popcorn ready.
The debate is scheduled to take place in the small town of Danville, Kentucky on October 11, Thursday evening. Broadcast live at 9pm on nearly every network (including PBS!) and online at www.2012presidentialelectionsnews.com for 90 minutes.
A live stream can be found here:
Stayed tuned to PolicyMic for all the latest news, updates, analyses, gaffes, jokes, and quotes. Bookmark and refresh this page for the most recent updates.
11:26 p.m. All -- Thanks so much for your support tonight. We had a great VP debate night, setting new view records for us (the site crashed for a bit ... sorry about that)!
This one is for you:
11:01 p.m. Who won?
Of course, you can’t ever really “win” a presidential debate. Stay with me here: There is no point system, there are no game rules (and the rules that do exist are constantly broken), and there is no end game. The audience will be split every time, usually down partisan lines.
But on Thursday night Joe Biden mopped the floor with Ryan. Seriously, it was watching a dad lecture his 13-year-old son.
In the only vice presidential debate, Biden completely dominated all facets of the debate … from foreign policy, the national debt, taxes, and even social issues like abortion … boldly hammering through policy points and the Obama administration's policy decision rationales, and strongly defending his party’s stances on the issues.
Republican rival Paul Ryan looked shaky, out of breath, and out of things to say. Many times he looked down at the table, or the floor, or somewhere else … it was like he knew every word he was saying was wrong.
Already in the early goings of the debate it was all Biden, who held a fierce, intense, and relentless critique of Paul Ryan and the GOP ticket’s policies. Ryan looked very much younger, less experienced, and was frequently getting interrupted by Biden as he tried to string together responses.
In one candid moment of the debate, Ryan addressed the vice president saying, "I know you're under duress." He was addressing Obamacare and Medicare, to which Biden responded, "I heard that death panel debate argument from Sarah Palin." BOOM.
On Afghanistan, Ryan said that more U.S. troops were needed to secure the country. Biden refuted: "We're sending less Americans to fight there ... less Americans ... and more Afghans ... Afghans to do the job."
Even Biden’s closing statement was sound: "We inherited an awful situation. My opponent thinks 47%/30% are freeloaders."
Biden's facial expressions were priceless throughout. He had been using his hands dynamically, laughing and smirking to discredit Ryan and Republican ideas, and he simply chuckled as he brushed off Ryan's attacks.
Heading into the debate, more people thought Ryan held the momentum. By a 42% to 25% margin, more independents expected Ryan to do better than Biden in the debate.
I guess polling gets it wrong sometimes.
10:31 p.m. Biden looks tired now, like it's past his bed time. He's so monotone now.
10:28 p.m. On the debt and jobs, Ryan finally finds some footing. Good points on fiscal responsibility.
10:27 p.m. Sorry for the blog delays ... we're seeing record traffic here at PolicyMic. Please weigh in with your comments below ... on anything from Afghanistan, abortion, medicare, tax cuts, and the debt!
10:09 p.m. Biden completely dominating the talk on Afghanistan right now.
10:09 p.m. Ryan tonight said Mitt Romney wouldn’t raise taxes on middle class families, but we know that’s not true. As independent, non-partisan analysts have highlighted, to pay for his plan, Mitt Romney would have to cut popular tax deductions that middle class families rely on, like the mortgage interest and charitable deductions, to pay for $250,000 tax cuts to multi-millionaires and billionaires. Paying for Romney’s tax cuts means the average middle class family with kids would see their taxes go up by $2,000 a year.
10:05 p.m. Biden strongly asserted that President Obama has made it clear he will not allow a nuclear-armed Iran and has increased pressure on the regime through crippling sanctions:
“Facts matter, Martha, you’re an foreign policy expert, facts matter. All this loose talk about them although have to do is get to enrich uranium in a certain amount and they have a weapon, not true, not true. They are more -- and if we ever have to take action, unlike when we took office, we will have the world behind us and that matters. That matters.
“…War should always be the absolute last resort, that’s why these crippling sanctions – Bibi Netanyahu says we should continue and Governor Romney says we should continue, I may be mistaken, he changes his mind so often, I could be wrong but the fact is they are being crippled by them and we’ve made it clear, big nations can’t bluff – this President doesn’t bluff.”
10:05 p.m. On Afghanistan:
Ryan: "We don't wanna lose the gains we've gotten [in Afghanistan]"
Biden: "We are leaving [Afghanistan] in 2014 period."
9:59 p.m. Recent Study: Small-Business Workers Will Suffer Half Of The Job Losses Under Sequestration. “Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D. and director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, testified small businesses workers will suffer more than 50% (51.6%) of the projected 2.14 million job losses due to spending reductions in the Budget Control Act of 2011.”
9:58 p.m. Biden is even crushing the moderator ....
9:56 p.m. According To Ernst & Young, President Obama’s Tax Hikes Would Subject Many Business Owners To Higher Taxes And Jeopardize 710,000 Jobs. “Researchers determined the plan would actually subject 2.1 million business owners to higher rates; specifically, those who pay pass-through taxes, like most partnerships, LLCs and S-Corporations. The result, less capital in the hands of business owners and diminished labor supply, would cost the United States an estimated $200 billion in economic output and 710,000 jobs.”
Vice President Joe Biden is well on his way to a complete and utter destruction of Republican candidate Paul Ryan on Thursday during the vice presidential debate, in a contest that is one-sided in favor of the elder Biden.
In the early going of the debate, it has been all Biden, who has been fierce, intense, and relentless in his critique of Paul Ryan. Biden has been chuckling, looking smug, and thoroughly dominating Ryan on every issue. Ryan looks younger, less experienced, and is frequently getting interrupted by Biden as he tries to string together responses.
In one candid moment of the debate, Ryan addressed the vice president saying, "I know you're under duress." He was addressing Obamacare and Medicare, to which Biden responded, "I heard that death panel debate argument from Sarah Palin." BOOM
Biden's facial expressions have been priceless throughout. He's been using his hands dynamically, laughing and smirking to discredit Ryan and Republican ideas, and he's been chuckling to brush off Ryan's attacks. At times, it seems a bit much, as his colloquial "Regular Joe" style is non-conventional. But Ryan is too passive in this debate, too calm, not rising to the emotional and dynamic level of Biden.
9:51 p.m. Biden is practicly jumping out of his chair. It's like a tiger vs a kitten right now.
9:49 p.m. Biden is being wayyy too passive.
9:47 p.m. The Biden postion on taxes ... helping the middle class.
9:43 p.m. "I think people would be better served of you (Ryan) didn't talk for 4 minutes." #Biden
9:42 p.m. Biden's tax plan:
9:36 p.m. There is already a Twitter account @laughingjoebiden
9:33 p.m. Biden, laughing, destroying Ryan ... the gotcha moment of the debate is B calling R out on R wanting gov't stimulus money in Wisconsin.
9:32 p.m. The Numbers:
9:31 p.m. "martha" ... that's two drinks for those of you playing at home.
9:31 p.m. Biden has complete control of this debate right now.
9:28 p.m. "The vice president knows well that the words don't always come out right." - ZINGER RYAN
9:26 p.m. Biden cuts Ryan off "That's not how it's going."
9:25 p.m. Biden still bringing the fire, but Ryan looks ready to pounce, this is his area.
Biden is feeding off his own energy.
9:23 p.m. FINALLY, Ryan is saying ... we move to the economy.
9:21 p.m. Biden is pissed this debate is so below him, that he's so much smarter than everyone.
9:16 p.m. Biden completely dominating Ryan on Iran and Iran's perceived nuclear threat. Pretty much giving a chemistry class to Ryan on how to build a nuclear bomb, completely debunking Ryan.
9:14 p.m. Biden after dominating Ryan on foreign policy
9:12 p.m. Ryan on perceived offenses against Islam, i.e. urinating on the Koran by Marines ... we should apologize, but we should not apologize for defending American values.
Crushing ... Ryan is a deer in the headlights.
9:09 p.m. Biden on Ryan's foreign policy: That's a whole bunch of malarkey. Biden starts to rake Ryan over the coals.
9:07 p.m. Ryan gives a muddled, rambling answer to the foreign policy issue.
9:05 p.m. Biden gives a fiery, clear foreign spiel.
"The last thing we need is another war." Great point by Biden ... Romney has been saying that he would up engaging overseas/ in the Middle East.
9:03 p.m. Libya is first! Paul Ryan feeling the heat!
9:02 p.m. AND WE'RE ON! ... I like the intimate settings.
8:58 p.m. Here we go! 2 mins!
8:50 p.m. People in the Danville debate hall are being told NOT to tweet.
8:41 p.m. Only 20 minutes to go!
8:22 p.m. POLLS DU JOUR
NYT/CBS/Quinnipiac: Colorado: Romney 48, Obama 47 ... Virginia: Obama 51, Romney 46 ... Wisconsin: Obama 50, Romney 47
--WSJ/NBC/Marist (graphic on WSJ A1): Florida: Obama 48, Romney 47 ... Ohio: Obama 51, Romney 45 ... Virginia: Romney 48, Obama 47 (margin: +/-3.1 points)
8:05 p.m. VP debate rarely influences voters: The chances that Thursday's vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will have a major impact on the 2012 presidential race are small, according to an analysis of Gallup trends. None of the eight vice presidential debates occurring from 1976 to 2008 appears to have meaningfully altered voter preferences.
7:55 p.m. Then there's this:
7:45 p.m. The VP debate drinking game is out, courtesy of Salon. See you in the morning.
7:30 p.m. Which one are you? More than half of Americans watched the first presidential debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama live. Most watched on television, but 11% were "dual screeners," meaning that they followed coverage on a computer or mobile device while also following television coverage. Another 3% say they followed the debate live exclusively online.
7:20 p.m. Why Joe Biden will win the debate, from PM Pundit Matt Rozsa: Some opening thoughts on the upcoming vice presidential debate:
- Just as Mitt Romney benefited from low expectations in the first presidential debate, so too will Joe Biden likely walk away as the declared "victor" in this contest by simple virtue of being the perceived underdog. His main obstacle will be his chronic case of foot-in-mouth disease - i.e., he will need to avoid making any of the gaffes for which he has become particularly notorious during his vice presidency. Should he sidestep that potential pitfall, however, he is likely to impress by simple virtue of the other qualities which he possesses in spades, including his intelligence, sharp wit, and general persuasiveness as a debater (the man did spend more than half of his life as a Senator, after all).
- I anticipate that Paul Ryan will break even. Like Biden, he has a great deal of experience as a debater, and while his intellectual bona fides are a tad overrated (he is bright, but hardly an innovative conservative thinker in the line of a Ron Paul or Jack Kemp), he is smart enough that he should avoid embarrassing himself as GOP vice presidential candidates have been wont to do (think Dan Quayle or Sarah Palin). Because expectations for him aren't particularly high or low, it's unlikely that a great deal of attention will be paid to his performance one way or the other. The only significant challenge he'll have is that of not being painted as an extremist. One of Romney's triumphs in the first debate was the manner in which he sloughed off the aura of radicalism that Obama's campaign had effectively associated with him. Because Ryan has some genuinely controversial views (particularly on economic policy), he'll need to avoid making statements that could reinforce that image so soon after Romney managed to wriggle away from it.
- As a rule of thumb, vice presidential debates rarely have a major impact on the outcome of a presidential election. Even the most noteworthy case in which one candidate was routed - that of Dan Quayle being humiliated by Lloyd Bentsen in 1988 (the famous "You're no Jack Kennedy"quip was but one example) - didn't significantly help the front of the ticket that year (Michael Dukakis was decisively defeated by George H. W. Bush that year). This is because, no matter how the prospective vice presidents perform, debates are scheduled in such a way that they have always been followed by additional presidential exhibitions. At best, this winds up diminishing the potency of whatever impressions are left by the vice presidential contest; at worst, they're eliminated completely.
That last point notwithstanding ... while the chances are indeed slim that anyone will be thinking about the Biden-Ryan event on November 6th, there is a strong possibility that this will effect the momentum of the race for the next week. If Ryan is perceived as the clear winner, it will add fuel to the fire of Romney's growing strength, while if Biden is viewed as having won, it could stop or even begin to reverse that trend. Of course, if either candidate makes a spectacle of himself - or allows his opponent to demolish him, Bentsen-style - this could indeed shape the course of the election. After all, one of the reasons Bentsen was unable to really help the Democratic ticket in 1988 was because Dukakis committed major campaign errors in the following month. If Ryan "wins" and Obama is unable to recover his campaign, or if Biden "wins" and then Obama runs a smooth ship, tonight's debate could be an exception to the rule.
6:42 p.m. Where can I have a conversation with other viewers in real-time? Well, No. 1, PolicyMic. Then there will be a lot of conversation on Twitter, the micro-blogging platform allowing users to send messages with 140 characters or less. Tag your debate tweets with #debates and #VPdebate.
6:20 p.m. 5 critical things to expect during the debate, courtesy of PM Pundit Adam Jutha:
1) Age vs experience
There's more than a quarter century between Biden and Ryan. It will be interesting to see if 69-year-old Biden can keep up with Ryan at age 42. Quick fun fact: Ryan is the same age as Biden's oldest son. But Biden's engaging and able to connect well with the average American. He's done it before, and can do it again.
2) Biden picking up the pace
Polls definitely show Romney came out strong to debate last week, and put Obama back to the drawing board for debate prep. We're sure to see Biden try to pick up the energy and build up some lost momentum from last week's poor showing.
3) Ryan: polished or wonky?
On Thursday, we'll see the Wisconsin Congressman take his first step into the national debate spotlight. He's been preparing for quite some time and has a lot to prove (a recent Gallup poll gives Ryan a 44% unfavorable vote). He knows his tax and federal policy facts, but will he get choked up on national security and foreign policy?
4) Relatable or some more wonky talk?
Biden will try to jump to the offensive and criticize Ryan's controversial proposed spending cuts and Medicare plans. There's the high chance that this can fall into a very narrow policy wonk debate that disengages the average voter. But Ryan and Biden will probably stick to their VP roles as aggressive and offensive advocates for their presidential candidates.
5) Lehrer step aside
Big Bird was a winner last week. And you could even say Obama and Romney both pulled out wins (at least when you compare them to Lehrer's moderator performance). But don't worry, we'll see how well ABC's Martha Raddatz keeps Biden and Ryan on task.
5:30 p.m. Ryan's reputation as a brilliant economist and budget hawk is misrepresented by his voting record. Paul Ryan voted "yea" for the following: the $700 billion bank bailouts, Medicare Part D ( the biggest expansion in Medicare's history) and the auto bailout. Whether one agrees or disagrees with his voting record, it is hardly accurate to characterize Paul Ryan as being keen on the problematic deficit.
5:20 p.m. According to a phone interview on with a Wisconsin reporter yesterday, Paul Ryan is ready to be called a liar.
And he'll definitely be called such, as the Dems ramp up their "lies, all lies" campaign against the GOP ticket.
A pre-debate e-mail sent by Obama for America campaign manager Jim Messina calls GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan a liar on Medicare and a number of other issues, Breitbart.com reported Thursday.
"For his whole career, Paul Ryan has made an art of obscuring the facts. He's done it on big things -- like the fact that the Ryan budget that he championed in Congress, later adopted by the Romney-Ryan campaign, would actually end Medicare as we know it for our seniors and turn it into a voucher program," the email reads.
"Don’t you love it when the Obama campaign accuses Romney/Ryan of ending Medicare as we know it? That’s the point. Medicare as we know it is headed for bankruptcy. The voucher program actually gives Americans a choice. But then, if you’re the Democrats, you don’t like Americans to have a choice. Unless it’s to murder babies," William Bigelow wrote at Breitbart.
But Ryan's plan does not "end Medicare as we know it for our seniors and turn it into a voucher program" as Democrats claim.
5:07 p.m. Yes:
5:02 p.m. What should we expect tonight? From PM Pundit Lindsay Novis:
It will be intersting to watch the two tonight. Much has been made of Biden's frequent gaffes, but those moments have happened primarily as he's out on the campaign trail, in a much less controlled and rehearsed environment. No doubt he's been spent most of this week refining and practicing (again and again) his talking points to ensure no such slipups will happen tonight. Plus, he's a good public speaker. Often underestimated, he has great skill in story-telling and relaying things to the public in ways that make sense to everyone. He also has 36 years of experience in the Senate, and though not an intellectual, it certainly has given his knowledge some good depth.
On the other side, of course, is Paul Ryan, and while certainly a smart man, he has a tendency to get into the knitty-gritty details. His supposed strength is his skill with budget numbers, but here (as in many other areas) he won't be defending his own policies, rather those of Romney. Even if he does venture into a passionate discussion on this topic (defending a much more ambitious plan), if he gets too far into the weeds, as he has in the past, he's going to lose a big chunk of the viewership (most of us aren't into digging through numbers, let's face it).
In public statements, Romney's team has been trying to set low expectations so as to ensure Ryan can only exceed them. Romney even stated that this was Ryan's first debate (outside of high school), which is false. Ryan has had a good deal of experience debating during his fourteen years in Congress, but no doubt tonight will be the most watched.
Topics will be both domestic and foreign policy. With the tragedy at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi still fresh on everyone's minds (especially with the hearings going on now), Ryan will most likely try to attack Biden on foreign policy, putting him on the defense.
On the domestic front, it would be beneficial for Obama if women's issues were brought up during this debate. Not only is the moderator female (Martha Raddatz, of ABC News) this time around, but the topic was entirely skipped during the presidential debate. We'll see two Catholic men pitted against one another, both taking starkly different stances on the issues, and probably giving a pretty good representation of the differing voices (unfortunately, often very quiet) within the church's congregation.
4:45 p.m. When Paul Ryan and Joe Biden face off at their debate tonight, "the form of address the vice president is supposed to use with his opponent is "mister" instead of "congressman," Politico reports.
"The form of address is part of the detailed memorandum of understanding between the two camps, according to the sources familiar with the document. Such MOUs detail specifics ranging from how footage of the debates can be used to podium placement, and so forth."
4:40 p.m. Why the heck are we having this VP debate in Kentucky? I mean, try and point to Danville on a map. That’s right, you can’t. Not many people can.
Full disclosure: I am a proud Kentuckian. I attended two of Kentucky's finest universities. I consider Lexington, Kentucky to be one of the most beautiful little corners of the world.
I am baffled at why Danville is the host of tonight's vice presidential debate.
The VP debate, of course, will be held at the liberal arts Centre College, about a 30 minute drive from Lexington, the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass region.
It’s a quaint little town, with a population no bigger than 1,600. Centre College pretty much makes Danville … other than that … well there’s an Applebees.
But of all the places in America, Centre College in Danville, Kentucky was the best they could come up with? We’re not talking about a vital swing state or a booming media center here.
Kentucky does hold some political appeal: it’s a red state, but has only had one Republican governor in the last four decades. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is, of course, one of the two senators representing the state (he’s a big deal) along with rising libertarian star Rand Paul. Kentucky can be considered a Southern state and a Midwestern state (though Kentuckians consider themselves full-fledged Southerners) … so the presidential commission killed two geographic birds with one stone there. Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky, a point both Joe Biden and Paul Ryan in tonight’s debate would do well to bring up to fire-up the Kentucky crowd.
But why Centre College? Why not one of the state’s bigger name schools like the University of Kentucky (8 NCAA national basketball championships, thank you) or the University of Louisville (one of the best political science programs in the nation, thank you)?
Well, Centre actually held the VP debate in 2000 — becoming the smallest town to hold a presidential series debate — and it turned out really, really nice for everyone. Commission Executive Director Janet Brown said that Centre’s selection was based on several factors: “First, Centre did an outstanding job of hosting the 2000 vice presidential debate. Second, Centre’s principal players from that debate are still at the College, and we value that experience. Finally, Centre’s facilities, as good as they were in 2000, are vastly improved now.”
Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges, at 42nd in the nation, and ranks 27th for best value among national liberal arts colleges.Forbes magazine ranks Centre 34th among all the nation’s colleges and universities and has named Centre in the top five among all institutions of higher education in the South for three years in a row. The 2010 Open Doors Report, published by the Institute for International Educational, ranks the College second in the nation for percentage of students who study abroad.
Centre enrolls more than 1,300 students on a 160-acre campus.
As a University of Kentucky alumni, I used to visit friends at Centre often. It’s a nice little place, but it is smaller than my high school, so it’s also a pretty tight-knit —group (which get annoying).
I went to a couple of Centre parties — most notably the “air guitar” party, where you literally air guitar to songs in front of 100 students or so … mildly to heavily buzzed, of course.
There were a few other parties that were NSFW. One guy tried to give me a shot of pure grain alcohol from a fire extinguisher once ....
Centre has a tradition — "the flame" — where students run around one of their campus statues naked. I did not participate in this event.
Centre is a fine educational establishment, but, (again, speaking as a University of Kentucky and University of Louisville alum) the students can be a little too proud. In Kentucky, Centre students hold a reputation, one where they consider themselves to be some sort of Harvard of Kentucky, which is very debatable (and which, for the record, the University of Louisville actually is).
This debate and the 2000 debate have been a boon for the college. Applications from would-be students rose about 20% in the year after the 2000 debate, and out-of-state applications have steadily increased since.
The same is expected to happen after tonight's Biden-Ryan battle royale.
The small school in Danville, Kentucky, is about to get some significant media exposure.
Some 3,200 media outlets/ personnel will be in attendance in Danville. Check this out, from right outside the debate:
One thing is clear after this VP debate: Centre College, not Biden or Ryan, will be the big winner on Thursday night.
3:35 p.m. Young people in elections 2012: As reported by PM Pundit Emily Podmore, a recent study surveying young millennials provides interesting insight into the values and political preferences of young Americans, aged 18-25.
Our generation is often criticized for our apathy and ignorance. It's lamented that we are too focused on our smartphones and social media sites to be properly informed about the issues. But a new survey may explain why we "young millennials" appear to be less engaged politically.
The Millennial Values and Voter Engagement survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs has created quite a stir over the past week. The results were based on interviews with just over 1200 younger millennials, with a margin of error of 4.3%. “Young millennials" refers to those of us who are aged 18-25, born between 1987 and 1994. The study examines not only our reported voter engagement and political preferences but also our values, worldviews, and our schema of society in general.
In this unprecedented report, some interesting results were discovered, many of which will play a large role in the upcoming election. Obama has long touted the support of the young voters, and this survey shows that young millennials prefer Obama to Romney at a margin of 16%.
Furthermore, the majority of young millennials view social issues (including legalizing same-sex marriage, the DREAM Act, and marijuana legalization) liberally, supporting all three. It is clear that we are more receptive to liberal views on such social issues than our older counterpart generations, yet we still feel as though we don’t have a voice when it comes to politics.
There may be more behind our disappointing voter participation numbers: 66% of younger millennials report being currently registered to vote, and only 50% of younger millennials are certain that they will vote in the 2012 presidential election.
While many cite misinformation, apathy about and boredom with the electoral process and politics as reasons that young people don’t vote, another part of the survey, which revealed a widespread pessimism about politicians and the government in general, caught my attention.
We are the generation that spent much of our formative years in the post-9/11 era: the era of a Bush presidency, two wars, and the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Many of us are finally old enough to vote, but we have little to be optimistic about. We have grown up hearing from our elders that Social Security will run out by the time we are old enough to benefit from it, and that we will be paying for the war on terror for the duration of our working lives.
We feel disillusioned by our government officials. Over 80% of young millennials feel that elected officials in Washington are out of touch. Nearly 2 out of 3 believe that “people like us” have no say in the government, and that it isn’t structured for the benefit of all people. It is statistics such as these that cause me to question whether we must take sole responsibility for our lack of interest in the system or whether the system as simply failed us.
Either way, now is as good a time as any to ignite change, as the 2012 election season draws to a close in November.
And so, even taking the numbers with a grain of salt (as should be the case with most surveys), let this survey be a call to action. Vote. Let your voice be heard. Run for office. Rid yourself of the pessimism. Remember the mantra you’ve heard for much of your life: we are the future.
2:50 p.m. A BIG BATCH OF FRESH NUMBERS shows polls movement toward Romney in the states that matter
INTERNAL OBAMA POLLING data show that all swing states have tightened up and that Romney is within the margin of error in Colorado, Florida and Virginia," Major Garrett reports. "In Ohio, the gap has closed from what was an 8 to 10 point Obama lead to just outside the margin of error." The initial version of the story said Ohio was also inside the margin of error, but National Journal has corrected their story.
FOX NEWS national - Romney leads by 1 (46-45) among likely voters. "That's a six-point turnaround and a three-point 'debate bounce' for Romney." Interviews were conducted Sunday-Tuesday.
NBC/WSJ/MARIST-Taken Sunday through Tuesday with a 3.1% margin of error-
Virginia: Romney up 1 (48-47). Obama was up 2 the week before. Independents broke from statistically tied to +8 for Mitt.
Florida: Obama up 1 (48-47). Held steady.
Ohio: Obama up 6 (51-45). He was up 8 in their pre-debate poll.
NYT/CBS/QUINNIPIAC-Taken from last Thursday through Tuesday:
Wisconsin: Obama up 3 (50-47), down from 6 last month.
Colorado: Romney up 1 (48-47), a flip from a l-point Obama lead last month.
Virginia: Obama up 5 (51-46), holding steady from last month. NYT A1 story on what to make of these numbers.
2:20 p.m. Based on looks alone, who do you think will win the debate?
Or this guy?
Or this guy?
Probably this guy:
(Paul Ryan did a beefcake photoshoot. TIME magazine released the photos Thursday morning. The photo shoot happened last year, when Ryan was a runner-up for the magazine's Person of the Year. The macho poses are, of course, a reference to Ryan's affinity for P90X.)
2 p.m. What exactly is going to happen at the vice presidential debate tonight? PM Pundit Nathan Stringer explains: "If all goes well, tonight should feel like a college sophomore finally confronting his wacky uncle about politics.
"The nephew, Paul Ryan, is both intelligent and promising — but he’s also a college sophomore. The uncle, Joe Biden, has always seemed just a bit off from the rest of the family and frequently makes inappropriate comments and shares embarrassing family stories."
12:37 p.m. This:
12:22 p.m. The Romney-Ryan Tax Plan, or the Obama tax plan ... which is better? Great analysis from PM Pundit Victor Zhao:
The 2012 election was supposed to be a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the country’s future. With mounting national debt and trillion dollar deficits, the debate over the size and scope of government took on added importance. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, has portrayed President Barack Obama as a free-spending liberal unwilling to make harsh cuts to entitlements and under whom deficits have ballooned. Obama, meanwhile, has fought back by claiming that Romney’s plan would do nothing to reduce deficits besides enforcing draconian cuts to critical government programs and entitlements, all while protecting defense spending and cutting taxes for the wealthy even further. The reality is that both sides are right about the other but wrong about themselves.
Of the two, Mitt Romney has been more recalcitrant in his ideas, although whether that is simply a result of having to survive through a tough primary battle remains to be seen. He has repeatedly called for the restoration of the cuts to defense spending under the so called “sequester” provision of the debt ceiling deal reached last year. More famously, he joined with other Republicans in rejecting the hypothetical “ten-to-one” deal proposed in one of the primary debates, in which each dollar of tax increases would be matched with $10 of spending cuts. By selecting Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate and adopting certain elements of his budget proposal into his own plan (now called the Romney-Ryan Plan), Romney has further committed to $5 trillion of tax cuts with a 20% rate cut across the board. How he would pay for this remains nebulous, although he has recently floated the idea of capping total tax deductions at a certain level. The fact of the matter remains that any tax savings he finds will be used to pay for the tax cuts, and thus not for deficit reduction. Under the Ryan Plan, in fact, the budget is not projected to be balanced until 2040, and even then, only with massive cuts to government spending and drastic changes to Medicare and other entitlements.
Obama, meanwhile, has been similarly unrealistic in his proposals (although once again, it remains to be seen how much is a result of election-year posturing). The biggest driver of budget deficits is entitlement spending, an area that Obama largely shields while marginally cutting around the edges. Ironically, the reductions in Medicare spending that he has proposed – $718 billion under the Affordable Care Act – have been used as political fodder by Romney. Moreover, Obama has promised to preserve Bush-era tax cuts for everyone but those making over $250,000 a year, a move that is a good first step but brings in a mere $1 trillion in revenue over 10 years. For comparison, the deficit in fiscal year 2011 was $1.3 trillion. Nevertheless, Obama has made an effort to work across the aisle on a plan for deficit reduction. Last summer, at the peak of the debt ceiling crisis, Obama and Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner were close to a $4 trillion “grand bargain” of spending cuts and revenue increases before negotiations ultimately fell apart.
Neither Obama nor Romney seem capable, or willing, to put forth serious proposals that will effectively reduce the deficit. Both are welded to the idea of tax cuts – Romney for all, Obama for all but the top earners. The Bush tax cuts, remember, were supposed to be temporary, and the higher Clinton-era tax rates presided over an era of economic prosperity. Neither Obama nor Romney seem truly willing or capable to enact entitlement reform either, as evidenced by Obama’s lack of meaningful proposals to address entitlements and Romney’s attacks on the few Obama cuts to Medicare. Sure, some of this may be election-year rhetoric, and both candidates may actually have serious policy proposals to reduce the deficit after they reach the Oval Office (or, in Obama’s case, secured his stay), but they haven’t shown it so far. Besides, isn’t that what elections are for?
11:43 a.m. YES
11:12 a.m. This is kind of how the last debate Biden was in went:
The Format: The 90 minute debate will cover foreign affairs and domestic policy topics. Unlike last Wednesday’s presidential debate where both candidates stood behind podiums on a stage, in this debate, both candidates will be seated at a table, giving a more casual atmosphere to the discussion.
The Moderator: The debate will be moderated by Martha Raddatz, Senior Foreign Affairs correspondent from ABC News. Despite an outstanding record as a well-respected journalist with extensive foreign experience, the choice of moderator has recently drawn criticism after the revelation that Obama attended Raddatz’s 1991 wedding and later appointed her husband, Julius Genachowski as head of the Federal Communications Commission. While representatives of the debate commission have stated that Raddatz was thoroughly vetted and there is no reason to be concerned about her objectivity, the recent criticism may lead her to ask especially hard questions of VP Biden to defend her nonpartisanship.
10:45 a.m. Hear Paul Ryan debate Barack Obama:
10:26 a.m. The big issue nobody is talking about ahead of the debate: who will women vote for?
President Obama needs women. He lost a nine point lead over Mitt Romney among women after last week’s debate, and they’re now tied at 47%. Women not only make up more of the electorate than men, but they also come out to vote in larger numbers. After Obama’s lackluster performance and subsequent favorability drop in the polls, it seems that tapping into this crucial bloc could serve him well. If Biden puts women at the top of his list for voters to win over tomorrow night, he would be up against a great person to do it: Paul Ryan.
The left has been trying to paint Paul Ryan as an ideological nutcase all along. His energetic demeanor and air of cool charisma, though, make it a less powerful strategy than painting Romney as an evil corporate mastermind. Biden should underscore this discrepancy most with Ryan’s voting record on women — particularly a personhood amendment seeking to give a fertilized egg the same legal rights as a person and a House measure in which he changed "rape" to "forcible rape."
If, of course, the vice presidential debates go anything like the first presidential debate (and the campaign in general up until now), Ryan may try to dismiss these issues to instead talk about his budget plan and jobs.
This, though, may be where Biden’s potential strength lies: birth control and abortion. Many women have been begging to be recognized by someone, anyone, who understands that women's issues are financial issues, especially for single women. Unplanned children are expensive, but they can also derail career plans and ruin a young woman’s chance at upward mobility. And the failure to understand this can point not only to the detrimental effects that the absence of women in this election has had, but also to a failure to understand what economics means in the context of the middle class, and in the context of individual and family lives. At least 60% of women who have abortions are women with children already. Why? Because they can’t afford another.
Romney’s corporate success and Ryan’s budget that shot him to Congress stardom both reflect a real aptitude with numbers and a real understanding of economic realities, but neither necessarily reflects an understanding of how those economics factor into most people’s lives. In fact, brushing off women’s reproductive concerns to continually emphasize that only jobs matter is not only condescending, it’s not accurate. Children and reproductive issues are the focal point of women’s issues, and they also happen to be very legitimate financial concerns for families and women.
Women voters have gone Democrat since the 1992 presidential election when younger women, poorer women, and educated upper-middle-class women joined forces behind liberal objectives. But the Romney campaign has done its best to distract from any issues aside from the economy; and, of course, Obama let him do just that in last week’s debate. Obama lost his lead in the polls, and he has, very importantly, lost his lead among women.
Biden’s task is two-fold: he needs to remind women of the regressive stances taken by his challenger in this regard, and also remind everyone of the importance of not separating the economy from just about every other stance the candidates have taken. The Romney campaign has been focusing on the economy from the beginning to rouse fear and portray themselves as the ones truly equipped to bring on a real recovery. Of course, it’s the best strategy a challenger could use during tough economic times. But it’s dangerous to let the economy eclipse any other issues, especially when they’re as damaging to one group as Ryan’s policies toward women are. Whether Biden, who is not known for a flawless delivery, can pull all of that off in one night remains to be seen on Thursday night.