John Zogby, founder of the Zogby Poll, called the selection of Wisconsin Mitt Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate a ‘lightning rod’ for the Republican Party.
But he cautioned that the Midwesterner’s hardline approach to fixing Medicare may be a tough sell with senior citizens.
“This is revealing that he would go with someone who can be a lightning rod, go with someone who was clearly favored by — let’s say — the conservative intelligentsia within the party and then also the fact that here’s a guy who’s got a button-down shirt image,” said Zogby in an exclusive interview with Newsmax following Saturday’s announcement.
“Announcing on a Saturday morning is really kind of offbeat and suggesting that he is going to try to make this as interesting as he possibly can.”
House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan has said that his budget plan would save Medicare while President Obama’s would kill it. Even so, some seniors may be turned off by his selection, according to pollster Zogby.
“It’s going to be a problem no question about it,” Zogby predicted. “This is a down-and-dirty, nasty campaign already. And while voters by and large do understand that something has to be done about entitlement spending, the fact of the matter is that Medicare, like Social Security, is a holy grail.”
Zogby said that senior citizens are a core constituency for the GOP challenger. “If you look at the polls one of the groups that’s clearly in favor of Mitt Romney’s candidacy and let’s say not particularly enamored, by and large with an African-American as president are seniors — those over 65, clearly those over 70, many of whom are dependent on Medicare,” he said.
“This could be very, very controversial, possibly even hurtful among senior citizens and their support for Mitt Romney.”
Moving forward, Zogby said that the Romney/Ryan team will need to be positioned like the Clinton/Gore team of the 1990s.
“Two attractive candidates, two all American images — the gifted CEO and business planner, picking the heir apparent . . . turning this into an exciting campaign about America’s future, choosing a 42-year-old who has different ideas,” Zogby observed.
“Democrats are going to pound away on Ryan because of his stance on Medicare and draconian cuts.
"But at least it shows something about Mitt Romney and his governing style.”
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