This time, there was no slam-dunk debate winner.
In a Patch FlashPoll of influential Connecticut politicos taken in the hours after the first — and only — vice-presidential debate in Danville, KY, Republicans and Democrats alike thought their party’s candidate emerged victorious.
Ten of the 12 Red Nutmeg Survey respondents thought Ryan won the day, with two declaring the contentious session a tossup. Despite these sentiments, six GOP respondents thought the national media would consider Biden the winner.
Eight of 10 Blue Nutmeg Democrats thought Biden bested Ryan, while two called it a draw. Seven out of the 10 thought Biden would be crowned the winner in the media.
‘Biden’s Arrogant Smile’
The story of the debate among Red Nutmeg respondents, though, seemed to be not the candidates’ stance on the issues, but Vice President Biden’s aggressive tactics.
GOP respondents were pointed in their criticism of Biden’s strident attitude. One cited the vice president’s “rude, condescending tone, his facial expressions, (his) laughing at Ryan and his self-serving demagoguing” as something that will stick in the craw of Connecticut conservatives. Others noted “Biden’s arrogant smile while Ryan was speaking,” and his “constant interrupting” as clarion calls to the state’s Republican base.
Biden’s aggressiveness, some GOP respondents warned, could backfire among swing voters in the state.
“Joe Biden’s constant interruption of Paul Ryan and the moderator (and his) loud and aggressive tone, I believe, will turn off swing voters who are tired of the partisanship and lack of action from Washington, D.C.,” one said.
Another said “Biden with his irritating smirking and condescending attitude was a turnoff.
Blue Nutmeg respondents, for their part, focused mostly on the issues when describing what would resonate with progressives and swing voters, citing “the discussion about the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan” and “Biden pointing out continuing inconsistencies in Ryan’s voting record and his new statements as a VP candidate.”
One Democrat pointed to the lack of specifics given by Ryan on his tax plan.
“Congressman Ryan wants voters to trust that the math adds up,” the Democrat said.
Republicans’ opinions varied, though, on whether Ryan’s performance would garner more votes for the Romney-Ryan ticket in Connecticut, a traditionally Democratic state. Three strongly agreed that the debate would gain Romney-Ryan votes in the state, while six “somewhat agreed” and three were “neutral.”
One Republican went further out on a limb: “Ryan was very much on point, so much so I think he may be a better presidential candidate than Romney.”
“Ryan stayed composed and made the point that Obama has not kept his promises. Our economy is in trouble, and the present administration has not helped middle-class America.”
Democrats, though, were in lockstep in thinking that Biden’s aggressive tactics would help Obama’s cause in Connecticut. All 10 of them strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that Biden’s performance would help the Obama-Biden ticket.
“(The debate was) virtually a tie, but Vice President Biden brought momentum and made up for President Obama’s lackluster performance last week,” one Dem said.
Still, the overriding sentiment among Republican respondents to the FlashPoll was that Biden’s tone and constant interruptions were disrespectful.
“I was embarrassed for VP Biden due to his smirking, inappropriate laughing and smiling at the wrong times,” one Republican respondent wrote. “I expected more from our vice president. I thought Paul Ryan was a class act.”
Patch’s surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican and Democratic activists, party leaders and elected officials in Connecticut. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to Thursday night's questions. Surveys were conducted between 10:30 and midnight on Oct. 11.
Patch will be conducting Red Nutmeg and Blue Nutmeg surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in Connecticut. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in weekly surveys that last just a few minutes, please email Regional Editor Corey Fyke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Red Nutmeg Roster: Mark Gill, Kevin Dombrowski, John Rodolico, Mike Cherry, Mimi Peck Llewellyn, Fred Camillo Allyn Jr., Fran Lowell, Julia Cronin, Bob Beaver, Mark Zacchio, Thomas Harrison, Britta Lerner, Lisa Bigelow, John Shaban, Ward Mazzucco, Dan Carter, Harry Thomas, Don Patterson, Harold Cummings, Brian Motola, William Nicholson, Mark Kalina, Adam Weissberger, Christine Vincent, Jack Scavone, Laura Roberts, Andy Powell, Anthony Candelora, Michael Doody, Rose Angeloni, Vin Candelora, Abbe Smith, Denise Hall, Peter Martin, Steven Adler, Burke Doar, Jay Sarzen, Meredith Trimble, Phil Dunn, Frank Morse, Todd Cusano, Marti Stiglich, Malvi Lennon, Jeff Ingram, Aaron Jubrey, Lisa Boccia, Jason Buchsbaum, Vinny Toscano, David Freudmann, Ric Hossak, Beverly Miela, April Holinko, Tony Lent, Jason Perillo, John Anglace Jr., Ross Mandell, Nathan McKay, Dorry Clay, Wendy Bury, Stephen Bessette, Christopher Davis, Chris Fryxell, David Reed, Sharon McLaughlin, Janet Wieliczka, Jeff Gutman, J.P. Sredzinski, Robert Yamin, Joe Cavo, Mark Boughton, Shay Nagarsheth, Michael McLachlan, Norbert Fay, Dan Steward, Kathleen McCarty, David Lewis, Alan Wilensky, Tim Herbst, Suzanne Testani, Susan LaFrance, Paul Lavoie, Diane Pomposello, Kristin Ingram, Stacy Geist, Jay Berardino, John Szewczyk, Jeremy Renninghoff, Pat Dinatale, Ed Bailey, Scott Kaupin, Patrick Droney, John Kissel, Tom Kienzler, Greg Stokes, Peter Tesei, Livvy Floren, Fred Camillo, Steven Warzoha, L. Scott Frantz, Frank Szeps, Bryan Perry, Ed Munster, Eloise H.P. Killeffer, James M. McLaughlin, Valerie M. Saiz, Nancy Haase, Charles Haberstroh, Avi Kaner, Michael Rea, Jonathan Steinberg, Lisa DiLullo, Mike Digrego, Michael. S. Casey, Pam Staneski, Tom Jagodzinski, Matthew Galligan, Timothy Becker, Mark Tweedie, Cheri Pelletier, Darren Cunningham, Sean Askham, William Stokesbury, Brian Ladouceur Jr., Cathy Durdan, Paul Henault, Len Cahill, Phil Williams, Phil Sengle, Vincent Cimino, Charity Folk, Stephen Walko, Daria Novak, Diane Carney, Linda Davis, Leora Levy, Aundré Bumgardner.
Blue Nutmeg Roster: Wendy Howard, David Peña, Daryl Worobow, Linda Merlin, Michael Freeman, Neal Bobruff, Edward Haberek Jr., Dorry Clay, Corey Sipe, Don Maranell, Dee Dee Martin, Nick Kapoor, Susan Koneff, Alan Vaglivelo, Kelly Plunkett, William D. Saums, Michael Graner, Rebecca Graebner, Kenneth Koe, Stephanie Calhoun, Dave Holdridge, Sheri Cote, J.W. "Bill" Sheehan, Cheryl Larder, Andrea Kanfer, George Peteros, Tony Silber, Roy Fuchs, Mary Beth Thornton, Nancy DiNardo, Richard W. White, Karen Cheyney, Michael Doyle, James McLaughlin, Allison Dodge, Laura Williams, Drew Marzullo, John Blankley, David Rafferty, Anthony R.J. Moran, William Satti, Rich Martin, George "Bud" Bray, Dan Pickett, James Albis, Jack Stacey, Sharon Hightower, Peter Kochenburger, William Ryan, Mark LaPlaca, Toni Moran, Andrea Epling, James Ezzes, Jonathan Steinberg, Jan Rubino, Rick Field, Bob Pagoni, Josh Freeman, James Maroney, Richard Smith, Kim Rose, Richard Roy, Paul Davis, Robert Hoffman, Kathleen Devlin, Francis Devlin, Ted Graziani, Tracey Kiff-Judson, Mike Pohl, Josh Howroyd, Dave Dumaine, Ryan Barry, Mike Farina, Doreen Richardson, Darleen Klase, Bill Herzfeld, Brandon McGee, Al Simon, Kevin Cavanagh, Alan R. Mordhorst, Phil Sylvestro, Bill MacDonald, Frank Farricker, Tom Gugliotti, Jeff Blumenthal, Peter Mahoney, Marie Herbst, Thomas DiDio, Michael Winkler, Ethelene DiBona, Jennifer Wolfer, Dolly Mezzetti, Joe Mezzetti, Jeff Tindall, Hal Schwartz, Kevin Coyner, Craig Nussbaum, Catherine Zamecnik, Jane Scully Welch, Leon Karvelis, Barbara Reynolds, Bob Schrage, Mark Lewis, Gayle Weinstein, John Hampton, Lisa Heavner, Helen A. Garten, Tricia Evans.