Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Jonathan Bernstein has the first poll numbers out today after Paul Ryan's selection as Willard "Mittens" Romney's running mate, and the overall public reaction is "meh." Paul who? Romney’s choice lags in first polling:
The first polls are out on Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan for running mate, and the reaction isn’t very positive. A USA Today/Gallup poll finds a plurality of Americans think Ryan is a “fair” or “poor” choice, while only 48 percent believe he’s qualified to be president.
According to Gallup, the overall evaluation is the worst since Dan Quayle’s selection in 1988, while the number believing Ryan is qualified is lower than all but Quayle and Sarah Palin in 2008 (from polling that goes back only to 1988; via Nate Silver).
A Washington Post/ABC News poll found an immediate jump in Ryan’s positive ratings — but only to a lukewarm 38 percent favorable, 33 percent negative plurality. This does not appear to be a pick that’s getting immediate rave reviews from voters.
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Team Romney is wrong if it believes that low name recognition makes the polling irrelevant. It’s the opposite: Picking someone unknown — and someone who is very young and doesn’t have the conventional credentials (whether reasonable or not) for presidential nominations — is very much a potential problem for the team. Specifically, if Ryan stumbles early on, he could easily solidify a reputation as unqualified or unready for the presidency. It’s true that Ryan has one asset that neither Quayle nor Palin had: He’s well-known and generally well-liked by the political media. [See previous post.]
But then again, Quayle did have normal presidential credentials. And for what it’s worth, while Quayle was not nearly as important in Congress as Paul Ryan, he did have morelegislative accomplishments than Ryan.
At any rate, the one thing you surely don’t want to be doing after announcing your running mate is having to make the case that he’s more qualified than Dan Quayle or Sarah Palin. And if there are a couple more polls like this one, that might be where Mitt Romney will find himself.
Steve Benen makes the important point that One never gets a second chance to make a first impression:
The [Gallup] poll asked whether Ryan is qualified to be president -- a relevant consideration given that the VP is "one heartbeat away" -- and the Budget Committee chairman fared better, with 48% saying he is qualified. That's the good news. The bad news is, there have only been three VP nominees who failed to reach 50%: Paul Ryan, Palin, and Quayle. That's not good company.