Election 2012

Is Paul Ryan boon or bane to Romney campaign?

on . Posted in Election 2012

WASHINGTON (PNN) - August 15, 2012 - Paul Ryan is best known for his proposed budget, which would dramatically reform Medicare. In a June 2011 CNN poll, 58% opposed Ryan’s plans for Medicare with only 35% in support - and a tremendous 74% of seniors opposed it. That same month, a Pew Research Center survey found that Amerikans disliked Ryan’s plan to change Medicare into a voucher system by a margin of 41%-36%; and for adults over 50, the margin was 51%-29%.

The New York State 23rd district special congressional race last year, which Democrats made into a referendum on the Ryan plan, further illustrates the political problems with Ryan’s views. Democrat Kathy Hochul used campaign ads showing a Paul Ryan lookalike pushing a wheelchair-bound granny off a cliff - and she ended up capturing a safe GOP seat.

It bears remembering that Republicans won the 2010 midterm elections in part by arguing that Obamacare would gut Medicare. In that election, senior voters favored Republicans by a 21-point margin. Now, however, Republicans have a vice-presidential nominee who wants to dramatically alter Medicare. It seems hard to envision senior voters responding well.

To be sure, while the polling on Ryan’s Medicare proposal is bleak for Republicans, the polling on Ryan personally is more mixed. According to Public Policy Polling, Ryan’s favorable-unfavorable rating in Wisconsin was 44%-39% as recently as last month. On the national stage, Rasmussen found that Ryan has a 39%-25% favorability rating.

However, Gallup found the public’s response to Ryan’s selection was one of the worst in the recent history of vice-presidential nominations: 39% said Ryan was an excellent or pretty good selection while 42% felt he was an only fair or poor selection.

Given all this, Romney may have no choice but to distance himself from some of Ryan’s views. Otherwise, it seems very possible that Ryan will end up hurting rather than helping him in November.

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