WaPa/ABC poll shows Ryan gaining momentum

posted at 10:01 am on August 22, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

That’s not exactly how the Post headlines its official coverage of the latest results from its poll series, but Aaron Blake at the Fix does a little better with the data.  Overall, Paul Ryan and Joe Biden are fairly even in polling, with the incumbent at 43/43 and the newly-minted challenger at 41/37:

Both parties’ vice presidential hopefuls earn lukewarm reviews from Americans, marking a lackluster introduction for Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and a major drop-off in popularity for Vice President Biden as the Republican and Democratic conventions near, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Ryan receives favorable marks from 41 percent of the public, while 37 percent rate him negatively. The outspoken author of the congressional Republicans’ budget plan enjoyed a ratings boost in a Post-ABC poll after appearing with Romney for the first time at a blockbuster rally on the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk. Since then, strongly unfavorable ratings of Ryan have crept up 9 percentage points.

We’ll get back to the trending in a moment.  Blake notices something more significant in the internals, which aren’t readily available for the poll yet:

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows 41 percent of Americans view the new GOP vice presidential nominee favorably, while 37 percent rate him unfavorably — slightly improved from last week’s polling.

Among seniors, though, the numbers are even better for Ryan: 50 percent favorable and 35 percent unfavorable. Fully one-third of seniors say they have a strongly favorable view of the Wisconsin congressman, while one-quarter have a strongly unfavorable view.

The numbers suggest Democrats’ attempts to turn Ryan’s Medicare proposal against the GOP haven’t stuck yet among the most pivotal group: seniors. If a Medicare attack was working, after all, seniors would likely be the first group to start deserting Ryan.

Ryan’s Medicare plan, of course, isn’t designed to affect current seniors; it would turn the entitlement into a voucher program for future beneficiaries, starting in 2023. But that doesn’t mean Democrats haven’t tried to use it for leverage with elderly voters — a reliable and important voting group in the 2012 election — and one that generally favors the GOP.

In other words, the Mediscaring has been a flop for the first eleven days of the Romney/Ryan ticket.  Eleven days?  It’s hard to believe that it’s only been that short a period since the official announcement of Mitt Romney’s choice of running mate.  Ryan has settled well into his role so far, while his direct opponent has stumbled repeatedly.

The polling trend shows that voters have noticed, too.  In a flash poll conducted by WaPo/ABC on August 12th, the day after the announcement, Ryan scored 29/32 on favorability, and down 11/17 on strong favorable/unfavorable results.  Eleven days later, Ryan’s favorability has gone from a -3 to a +4, gaining ten points in the strongly favorable category and only six in strongly unfavorable (now 21/23).  Ryan’s trendline looks good, at least in the first couple of weeks, and without a gaffe or stumble, it’s difficult to see how Democrats can successfully demonize (or Palinize) him.

Biden, on the other hand, has momentum going the other way.  This series hadn’t polled on Biden’s favorability since April 2009, when it was 57/32.  He’s down to 43/43 now, and 17/27 on the “strongly” measures.  Democrats might be well advised to quit highlighting Romney’s running mate and forcing the comparison, and sticking to attacks on the top of the ticket.

With this in mind, Bill Whittle explains why it’s important to have Ryan in the race — not for Mitt Romney or the Republican Party, but for the nation.  Even losing with Ryan and his ideas in play is better than not talking about them at all:

Also, Declaration Entertainment is preparing for the release of their first full-length film, The Arroyo:

Keep your eyes open for more on this launch.


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