Vice presidential debate expected to increase viewership
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
After the scrutiny of the first presidential debate, the upcoming vice presidential debate is rigging up criticism even prior to its airdate.
On Oct. 11 running mates, Congressman Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Bidden—who are known for their blunt public speaking style—will go against each other in the debate at Centre College in Danville, Ky. The debate will be moderated by ABC News foreign correspondent, Martha Raddatz.
The two candidates will be covering various issues focusing on foreign and domestic affairs.
The University Democrats and College Republicans are anticipating the debate and looking forward to hear the candidates speak.
“He (Biden) has always been a guy who is not afraid of speaking his mind and that’s what we need right now,” said Matt Leahy, president of University Democrats. “In terms of the re-electing campaign we need someone who is going to tell the truth.”
Louis Southard, former chairman of College Republicans on campus, believes that Ryan will be the stronger candidate.
“Paul Ryan is going to hit on the economy, but it depends on what the questions are going to be,” he said. “Congressman Ryan is a very smart man and he knows the budget probably better than almost anyone at Capitol Hill, Democrat or Republican, and with that knowledge it will be another decisive win for the Romney-Ryan ticket.”
The first presidential debate on Oct. 3 between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney had a viewership of an estimated 67.2 million, according to Nielsen, a ratings company. For the vice presidential debate four years ago between Sarah Palin and Biden, Nielson reported a viewership of 69.9 million.
Richard Pineda, professor in the communication department who teaches a special topics communication course that focuses on the 2012 election, said he believes the viewership for the second debate will increase.
“A lot of people are interested because there is a certain novelty to it,” he said. “Paul Ryan is pretty good when it comes to policy and when it comes to detail, and people are concerned with what Biden might say that is off the cuff. So there is a lot of attention being paid to the debate because of that.”
Although the debate will focus on foreign and domestic issues, Pineda said he believes that students will be interested in border issues regarding immigration policy.
“For students from UTEP, they might be interested in what’s going on in the border,” he said. “Listening to how the vice presidential candidates talk about the future of immigration policy, I think those will be interesting because of the region.”
Pineda said that both candidates might have good arguments and will generate a good debate.
“I think in the case of the foreign policy issue, the advantage favor is the incumbent because they have dealt with those issues,” he said. “But then there is always the possibility to tap into people’s concerns that not enough has been done, which then you have the benefit to the challenger.”
Both Leahy and Southard said that it is important to watch the second debate despite the fact that the presidential candidates won’t be speaking.
“I would hope (students) tune in,” Southard said. “It is very important for us as young people to inform ourselves on who will lead this country…we need to watch all of our future leaders and listen to what they have to say.”
Leahy said he believes the vice presidential debate is just as important as the presidential.
“I hear a lot of people say ‘Oh, it’s just the vice president,’ but this is the guy who is just a heart beat away from the presidency,” Leahy said. “It’s important to hear what they have to contribute to the debate.”
Leahy said he believes the second debate will have a good percentage of interested viewers.
“I think every election is the most important election since the last one,” he said. “I think there will be more interest as a result of natural progression. I say this will be a highly watched debate.”
Alejandro Alba may be reached at email@example.com.