Vice presidential candidates by the numbers

By Gabriel Debenedetti
October 9, 2012

The vice presidential candidates who will take the stage for a debate at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky this week are just as polarizing as their running mates, according to Reuters/Ipsos polls. “Very unfavorable” was the most commonly held view of both men.

According to data collected last week, Vice President Joe Biden is seen “very unfavorably” by 22 percent of respondents, in line with President Barack Obama’s “very unfavorable” score of 27 percent.

U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, the Tea Party darling and Republican budget master, has a corresponding figure of 25 percent. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s “very unfavorable” score is, like the president’s, 27  percent.

When the answers are collapsed into basic “favorable” and “unfavorable” categories, however, Biden looks to be the more popular of the two. “Favorable” responses of some sort — “very favorable,” “lean toward favorable,” “somewhat favorable” — totaled 53 percent for Biden and 47 percent for his counterpart from Wisconsin.

In a head-to-head matchup, Biden came out on top. Respondents said the 69-year-old former senator from Delaware was more qualified to be president than Ryan, 42, by a margin of 39 percent to 33 percent, with 28 percent saying they did not know.

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