Posted at: 10/12/2012 12:17 AM
Updated at: 10/12/2012 9:41 AM
By: Dan Levy
ALBANY - Most political pundits say Governor Mitt Romney was the big winner in Denver last week for the first presidential debate, but on Thursday night, a roomful of admittedly left-leaning college students at the College of Saint Rose in Albany were saying after the vice presidential debate, Joe Biden had Barack Obama's back.
Even though historically speaking vice presidential debates have done very little to sway American voters, this year might be different.
"I think the vice presidential debate matters very much," said David Devine, a College of Saint Rose senior, " Obviously the president is the president but God forbid something happens to the president, it's very important to have a number two man or woman whose very strong."
Very strong is not the way most people have described President Obama's performance in last week's presidential debate.
"I'm actually one of those people that felt like President Obama took a day off," said Saint Rose senior Shamara Bailey. "He didn't seem to be enthusiastic about being there and I think Biden is doing an amazing job."
Even though virtually every one of the students from the College of Saint Rose watching the debate says they've already made up their mind who they'll be voting for, a few were undecided, like Brian Goepfrich.
"The issues Paul Ryan brought up were kind of shocking to me," Goepfrich said. "Saying the United States is going to overpower other countries and make decision (for other countries), when we should be working towards a more community environment with other countries around the world."
Statistically, most young Americans vote democratic, and the small sample (about 16) of Saint Rose students were no exception.
"Biden really took it to Ryan," opined Joseph Conway, a Saint Rose junior from Guilderland, "Biden was way more aggressive and Obama was a little mellow last time and Biden was willing to stand up to Ryan's lies."
"Vice President Biden has been scoring a lot of points," said Christopher Losee, a senior political science major from Schenectady. "He mentioned the 47% comments and also Ryan's 70%/30% comments. He's landing major points and I think the American people will listen.
Even though the consensus on campus seemed to point to a Biden victory, next week's presidential debate number two carries increased significance.
"Everybody is going to be watching to see if (Obama) changes his demeanor and responds with what a lot of people feel is a stronger emotional tone in his responses to Governor Romney," said William Husson, a communications professor at the University at Albany.
"President Obama has a bit of a demoralized and despondent constituency," Husson continued, "They will vote for him, but he needs to kind of get their spirit up after that first debate (so that they'll come out and vote)."