Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Romney Falling Behind in Polls. Will Paul Ryan Help?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Romney Falling Behind in Polls. Will Paul Ryan Help?

Article excerpt

Recent polls have Mitt Romney slipping behind President Obama - including among men and suburbanites. Running mate Paul Ryan could help, but so far he's largely unknown to voters.

Less than 48 hours after Mitt Romney tapped Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate, Americans are on a steep learning curve about what pundits unanimously call a "bold" choice.

Public opinion polls unwind before our very eyes.

The most recent CNN/ORC International poll, taken a few days before Saturday's announcement, gives Mr. Ryan a 27-19 favorable/ unfavorable rating with a whopping 54 percent saying they're unsure or have never heard of him. That's in line with earlier polls by CNN/ ORC, Bloomberg/Selzer, and NBC/WSJ.

One online poll being conducted right now asks, "Do you think Paul Ryan was the right running mate choice for Mitt Romney?" Of 1,340 votes cast so far, 46 percent agree, 44 percent disagree, and 10 percent aren't sure.

Unless you're a partisan player, a pundit, or an amateur political junkie, in other words, Ryan remains largely an unknown quantity, a blank slate on whom both parties seek to portray their particular image - and probably will remain so until the Republican convention in Tampa at the end of the month, which is when most Americans begin tuning in to the campaign.

But for Mr. Romney and President Obama - both much more well- known - recent polls are more definitive. And while things could change dramatically between now and election day, the trend at the moment is not particularly encouraging for Romney.

A Fox News poll has Obama ahead by nine points (49-40 percent). Reuters/Ipsos and CNN/ORC give Obama a seven-point lead - 49-42 percent and 52-45 percent respectively.

"A bumpy overseas trip and a month of pummeling by Democratic ads depicting Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch plutocrat and possible tax evader appear to have taken a toll," the Washington Post reports. "The surveys of registered voters, all conducted sometime between Aug. 2 and 8, also have Romney's unfavorable ratings headed north. …

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