Swing state poll: After picking Ryan, Romney now leads in Ohio, Virginia -- and Florida

Via Guy Benson, no self-respecting eeyore would leave a headline as rosy as the above unchecked, so here’s me checking it right off the bat. According to Gallup’s tracker, Romney’s gotten almost no bounce from the Ryan pick — yet. They’ve seen a bit of movement in the last two days, so there may be a “delayed bounce” coming, but little in the two days before that. In fact, here’s Nate Silver scanning across the dial:

So there you go. Now that my pessimistic conscience is clear, here’s some happier news from the Purple Poll, which focuses on Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, and Florida. It stands to reason that Romney’s veep pick might make greater waves there because those voters are already paying closer attention to the election than voters nationwide are. So far, so good:

Romney has seen the largest gain in Ohio, a state we have seen bounce between the campaigns over the last few months. Today, the GOP ticket leads by 2 points (46% to 44%), compared to July when President Obama led the state 48% to 45%. Romney also gained ground in Virginia – today, he and Paul Ryan hold a 3-point advantage in the race (48% to 45%), while Romney trailed by 2 points in July.

However, President Obama has seen improvements in Colorado and Florida. In Colorado, the Obama-Biden ticket now leads 49% to 46%, an increase from a 1-point lead in July. In Florida, the Democratic ticket trails by just 1 point (48% to 47%), compared to a 3 point deficit in July…

Romney’s personal image appears to have improved following the announcement: 45% favorable, 48% unfavorable. While still net unfavorable, this represents a substantial improvement from July, when he was net -8. For the first time in the PurplePoll we tested Obama’s favorability (we have been testing job performance), and we found him to have a very similar rating as Romney: 47% favorable, 49% unfavorable.

Ryan’s the only guy on either ticket whose favorable rating is net positive right now, but don’t read much into that. VP candidates always start out with the benefit of the doubt and then see their numbers dip as the other side goes to work on them. More interesting is the fact that The One’s alleged “likability gap” with Romney is gone in these swing states. What a shame that the Purple Poll didn’t poll his favorables before; I’m dying to know if he’s been unpopular for months or whether the endless attacks on Romney are just now starting to blow up in his face.

Another likely contributing factor to his popularity being underwater? The trendline on the economy (August is the first column on the left):

Match that up with O’s job approval over the same time span:

Here’s how his job approval stands in Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, and Florida, respectively:

Jay Cost has been arguing for months that O’s in deep trouble, his small lead over Romney notwithstanding, because incumbents typically pull in a vote share on election day that’s roughly equal to their job approval rating. Look again at his numbers in those last three states and think hard about that.

As for the Democrats’ Mediscare prospects against Ryan, here’s another verrry interesting result from the four states polled. Again, from left to right, it’s Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, and Florida, respectively, answering the question, “Who is more likely to protect Medicare?” Obama’s on the first line, Romney on the second:

Obama leads by double digits in the first three states, but in Florida, which is supposed to be ground zero for Mediscaring, he’s up by just one thin point. How come? Is it simply that Florida’s a bit redder than other swing states this year? Or have seniors there been paying closer attention to the Medicare debate all along and find themselves ambivalent between Ryan’s plan and Obama’s $700 billion raiding of the program? If it’s the latter, that bodes awfully well for Romney’s strategy of taking the fight to O on this issue. In fact, here’s a deeper breakdown from Florida. Note the second data set:

Lots of messaging work to be done here by Romney and Ryan, obviously, if they want to shrink O’s Medicare lead across swing states generally, but they’re in better shape on Ryan’s budget than the media would lead you to believe. Whew.