With all eyes on politics now until November 6th, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been front and center in the media, with most publications and TV networks reporting on campaign updates daily, if not hourly. As the presidential candidates sprint towards the finish line, the vice presidential candidates are also hard at work and on the campaign trail, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan are promoting their running partners and pushing their respective party’s agenda before Election Day.
Despite the shortage of media attention, the Vice President of the United States plays a vital role in the inner workings of the administration. Not only does the vice president assume the responsibilities of president in the case that something happens to the Commander in Chief, he or she has the deciding tie breaking vote in an equally divided Senate vote. The vice president also acts as an advisory member of the president’s cabinet. Like the president, the vice president holds significance symbolically, representing the United States at home and abroad.
In the final weeks of the election, the Obama-Biden campaign’s focus is to “persuade voters to vote early and undecided voters to break for the Democratic ticket.” Biden’s role, then, is to campaign in battleground states, appealing to undecided and independent-minded voters.
Described as a “magnet,” Joe Biden recently dropped in to an Ohio campaign office on Tuesday night, armed with a stack of pizza. He will spend today campaigning in the battleground state, speaking at an event at Marion Harding High School in Marion, Ohio. Vice President Biden is scheduled to make a campaign stop in New Hampshire next Monday, October 29th in what is reported to be his seventh visit to the state this year.
Recognizing the importance of the battleground state of Ohio, Rep. Paul Ryan will also spend today in the state. Earlier this afternoon, he focused on upward mobility and the economy at a Cleveland State University event. In his speech, he laid out his vision for the poor, touching on the government’s role in the debt crisis:
“It’s not just the abuses of government that undermine civil society — it’s also the excesses of government. Look at the road we are on, with trillion-dollar deficits every year. Debt on this scale is destructive in so many ways, and one of them is that it crowds out civil society by drawing resources away from private giving.”
He addressed the crowd with compassion, linking the debt crisis to poverty.
“In recent years, we’re still trying to measure compassion by how much government spends, not by how many people we help escape from poverty.”
He will visit Cincinnati and Defiance on Thursday, and will hold a campaign rally in Albemarle County, traveling across the swing state through Friday.
So where does the elusive independent voters’ support lie? Pew Research Center reveals that loyalty lies with Republican nominee Rep. Paul Ryan by a margin of 7 percent. Vice President Biden is viewed unfavorably by 52% of independents, while as many independent voters view Ryan favorably (42%) as unfavorably (42%).
After the Vice Presidential debate on October 11th, sentiment remained favorable towards Ryan. Out of the six-in-ten voters who watched the vice presidential debate, independents preferred Paul Ryan to Joe Biden by an 11-point margin. Specifically, 50% of independents reported that Ryan did a better job in the debate, compared to 39% that favored Biden.