Vice presidential debate: Will Ryan-Biden debate help boost Romney, Obama?

Poll shows significant Romney bounce

Published: Monday, Oct. 8 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

Kirk Jowers, head of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics and a longtime Romney supporter, said the best the GOP ticket can hope for is to sustain the bump in the polls from the presidential debate.

“At this point, all eyes are really on the top of the ticket. There’s no way the vice president can be as positive for the ticket as the president,” he said. “Of course, the downside is always huge for either ticket.”

Jowers said no one should underestimate Biden’s ability to connect with voters, even though his folksy stories can lead him into gaffe territory.

Ryan, he said, is smart and “can be very wonky, which at times can be very impressive to people.”

But too much talk about the implications of Ryan’s budget plan, which includes offering vouchers in place of traditional Medicare coverage, could hurt, Jowers said.

Atlanta-based Republican strategist Joel McElhannon said the stakes have escalated for the vice presidential debate.

“I think they are definitely more important this year because what has happened. The race feels a whole lot more competitive for everybody right now,” he said.

Still, McElhannon agreed the debate between Biden and Ryan isn’t likely to be a deciding factor in the outcome of the November election.

“I don’t know if in and of itself, it’s going to drive people’s choices,” he said. “It’s more about enhancing the momentum Mitt Romney has right now or blunting that momentum.”

The Vice Presidential Debate

Time: Thursday, 7-9:30 p.m. MDT.

Location: Centre College,  Danville, Kentucky.

Format: Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan will discuss foreign and domestic policy in the only formal debate between the two candidates. ABC chief foreign correspondent Martha Raddatz will moderate the debate, which will be be divided into nine segments of approximately 10 minutes each.

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