The immediate conventional wisdom from the media in the wake of Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as running mate was that Ryan might make Wisconsin more competitive, but would cost Romney in Ohio and Florida. Rasmussen polled likely voters in Ohio for their initial impression of Paul Ryan and his impact on the ticket, and found that Ryan doesn’t do any damage to Romney — and may boost his chances of retaking this key state for the GOP:
Early reactions to Mitt Romney’s new running mate are modestly positive in Ohio.
Fifty-one percent (51%) have a favorable opinion of the GOP’s Vice Presidential running mate. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Ohio finds that 39% have an unfavorable view. Those figures include 33% with a Very Favorable opinion and 24% with a Very Unfavorable view. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Forty percent (40%) say they’re now more likely to vote for Mitt Romney and 32% are less likely to do so. Among unaffiliated voters, 42% are now more likely to vote for Romney, and 18% are less likely.
However, prior to his introduction by Romney on Saturday, Ryan was relatively unknown. As a result, these numbers could shift significantly in coming weeks.
That’s a fair warning. The race is on to “define” Paul Ryan, but so far, the Romney team seems to be ahead. After all, only 10% of the respondents in this poll were not familiar enough with Ryan to have an opinion on him, and only 29% were unsure whether this was the right choice for the ticket. Among those most unsure in critical demos didn’t have unfamiliarity to blame for their hesitancy:
- Women: 36% unsure whether Ryan is the right choice, but only 13% were not familiar enough to form an opinion of Ryan
- Seniors: 30% unsure, only 8% unfamiliar
- Democrats: 36% unsure, 8% unfamiliar
- Independents: 35% unsure, 17% unfamiliar
The favorability of Ryan among these groups is either good or virtually even, except of course for Democrats (15/76), although 19% of those think Ryan was the right choice for Romney. Ryan’s at a -2 among women (47/49), but a +19 among independents, with 50% already having a favorable opinion, and 33% having a “very favorable” opinion of the new #2. Once again, as in Rasmussen’s national poll in July, Ohio seniors give Ryan his most favorable demographic rating other than Republicans, with 54% favorable against only 38% negative, and 36% of seniors rating him “very favorable.”
How will that impact these demographics? In all but the Democrats, Ryan makes voters more likely to support the ticket. That’s even true with women, albeit narrowly at 35/30, so the initial “women should be frightened of Ryan” hasn’t exactly succeeded yet, at least not in this battleground state. Independents are more likely to support the ticket with Ryan than not by a +24, 42/18, which even outpaces seniors’ +15 at 46/31.
We still have plenty of time for Democrats to demonize Ryan, but their initial efforts seem to have fallen short. Ryan’s off to a good first impression in Ohio, and the numbers indicate he’s making it harder for Barack Obama in the Buckeye State rather than easier.