Obama continues to struggle after Ryan VP pick

| August 16 2012
Hannah Thoreson

Team Obama is working overtime to paint Paul Ryan as an extremist who wants to destroy social programs aimed at seniors, but so far it appears that has not really impacted Romney’s numbers.  Purple Strategies, a bipartisan polling outfit, has released a massive amount of data related to Romney’s VP pick.

In the immediate aftermath of Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, the GOP ticket has drawn even with the Democratic ticket.  Today, Romney and Ryan lead the Obama-Biden ticket by a point (47% to 46%), an improvement from July when President Obama led Romney by 2 points, 47% to 45%.

The Romney-Ryan ticket is fueled by an 11-point advantage among independents. This represents an increase from July, when Romney held a 5-point margin over Obama among that key group.

It will likely take 3-4 weeks for the full impact of the choice of Ryan to be seen in the polls.  It’s still early, and it’s hard to say how many voters are aware of the details of the Ryan plan.  This could be a plus or a minus for Romney.  The specifics  aren’t the horror the Democrats are making them out to be, but it’s an issue that has been handled with a high level of risk aversion by voters and politicians in the past.

Right now Romney-Ryan is leading Obama-Biden in Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.  Those states are almost always tough battlegrounds and this election is proving to be no exception.  However, it’s worth noting that Paul Ryan has the highest favorability rating right now of any of the four politicians currently on the national ballot.  That is why every effort will be made to trash him and drag him down into the gutter with Joe Biden, who is currently viewed unfavorably by 48% of the population.

Paul Ryan’s popularity in his home state has helped buoy the Romney-Ryan ticket to a narrow one-point led in his home state of Wisconsin.  Ryan hit the campaign trail in Waukesha over the weekend, and crowds were huge and enthsiastic to see their hometown hero back as the Republican VP candidate.  Well over 10,000 people attended.

The biggest reason for all of this is that the Obama campaign continues to claim that the economy is “doing fine”, or that “we tried our plan, and it worked”.  Voters aren’t buying it.  An overwhelming majority – 60% – disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy, according to the latest Gallup poll.  On related issues – the federal budget deficit, job creation – his numbers are also abysmal (64 and 58% disapprove).  It’s clear that voters already believe Obama’s record is one of failure and disappointment.  Romney and Ryan just need to persuade them that they offer the promise of better future and an economy that grows.

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