Pollster Schoen: Ryan Could Be 'Game Changer'

Sunday, 12 Aug 2012 11:50 AM

By Paul Scicchitano and David A. Patten

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Author and Democratic pollster Douglas E. Schoen tells Newsmax that Mitt Romney’s choice of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate may be “a game changer,” and could alter the outcome on Election Day.

He added it also may have an unintended consequence – motivating high turnout and enthusiasm among both party’s bases.

“We’re looking at something that has a chance to stimulate and mobilize a dispirited Republican Party and at the same time mobilize a Democratic base that has had a tough time getting excited about President Obama,” Schoen told Newsmax Saturday in an exclusive interview.

Editor's Note: Will Obama Be Defeated? Vote Here!

He added: “Paul Ryan could be a game changer. He could perhaps help mobilize a declining Romney campaign. On the other hand, the Ryan candidacy, if not properly explained and articulated, could result in a Democratic victory of proportions that could not have been expected or anticipated at any point in the last few weeks or months.”

Democratic strategists have said Ryan is the choice Obama hoped Romney would make, because the chairman of the House Budget Committee has dared to lead on budget-deficit issues. The incumbent president, by contrast, has followed the more traditional political approach of kicking the can down the road past the next election.

Even Republicans have criticized the Romney campaign for its tendency to play it safe in recent weeks, saying he had to be more assertive in laying out his specific plans for fixing the economy. Obama and liberal PACs, meanwhile, hammered away with swing-state ads that literally accused Romney of a series of felonies.

Serious observers on both sides of the political aisle dismissed those ads as outrageous, but recent polling suggests they’ve begun to take their toll on the former Massachusetts governor. A Fox News poll Friday showed Obama opening up a 9-point advantage, 49 percent to 40 percent.

Now, with the Ryan announcement, the election will focus more on the specific policies of Obama versus Romney, opening up a national debate over the future course the nation should take.

“It will make for a more robust debate about the issues facing our country, particularly our budget and entitlements,” said Schoen. “At the same time you can expect that the campaign will get more nasty, divisive, and bitter. The degree of polarization increased and the number of negative ads and attacks exponentially expand.

Editor's Note: Will Obama Be Defeated? Vote Here!

Schoen pointed to the upset election of Democrat Kathy Hochul in New York District 26, which followed a series of ads suggesting House Republicans were trying to throw “grandma over a cliff” with their serious proposals to address spiraling entitlement costs, as evidence that Americans still oppose significant reforms.

“If this election becomes a referendum on the Ryan plan and ending Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security as we know it,” Schoen said, “the American people are clear and unambiguous: they’re not for radical reform now.”


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