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Rasmussen: Ryan Could Help Romney in Several States

By    |   Saturday, 11 August 2012 11:20 AM

Mitt Romney’s bold choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate opens up multiple states to GOP inroads at a time when President Barack Obama’s job-approval rating has plummeted to its lowest level so far this year, according to pollster Scott Rasmussen of Rasmussen Reports.

At the same time, Rasmussen in an exclusive interview with Newsmax, cautioned that the importance of vice presidential picks is often overstated.

“This race is still primarily about President Obama. His job approval this morning is at 43 percent, that’s the lowest level of 2012,” he said. “And consumer confidence this week fell to its lowest level of the year. Those are the factors that will determine the election far more than the dynamics of the vice presidential pick.”

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Rasmussen said picking he Wisconsin congressman could tighten the race in the state, although he still believes Obama probably has the edge. But even if the House Budget Committee chairman can’t carry his home state for the Romney campaign, the pollster believes he could make a critical difference in the meighboring swing state of Iowa.

“It’s feasible,” the pollster told Newsmax. “We did some polling we released yesterday, before the Ryan announcement came out. Romney was up 2 points [in Iowa, 46 to 44 percent]. It is certainly in play, certainly very competitive.

"And getting a Midwesterner on the ticket may have some impact there. There is great concern in Iowa about spending and deficits.”

The critical issue for Republicans, Rasmussen states, is how the election is framed in coming weeks. The Ryan announcement and presentation, conducted with the Wisconsin battleship moored dockside in Norfolk in the swing state of Virginia, received strong reviews from both Republicans and Democrats.

“This is a strong pick,” said Weekly Standard editor William Kristol on Fox News. “It’s a bold pick, it’s a daring pick, it shows they’re not going to run away” from conservative House budget proposals.

But the Obama administration tipped off its strategy by quickly releasing a statement trying to define Ryan as “the architect of the radical Republican house budget.”

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Whether American voters are ready, as Ryan believes, to face the somber realities of a national debt that has spiraled to over $15 trillion could well determine the outcome of the election.

“We’re in a world where government spending in America has gone up every single year since 1954,” says Rasmussen. “If somebody can convince people that they are serious about changing that trend, it will be a huge plus in the campaign.”

Pundits expect the Ryan pick will touch off a flurry of efforts by both sides to reframe the election.

“It shifts the whole debate,” said commentator Charles Krauthammer on Fox News. “It’s a dynamic one about the future ideas, and change.

“Change is now on the side of the Republicans, whereas it was obviously on the side of Democrats in 2008,” he said. “And they can make a coherent case of that, as we heard Ryan do it in his introductory remarks.”

Democratic campaign adviser Joe Trippi called Ryan’s speech “one of the better performances I can recall.”

But he said that in the Ryan pick, the Obama campaign got the opponent they wanted.

“During the summer, things didn’t go too well on trying to make this a referendum [on Obama’s performance]. It wasn’t working. Romney stayed close, but Obama started drifting away. Ryan makes this sort of a tip to the hat, that it’s going to be about a choice now.

The Obama campaign got what it wanted, this campaign is going to be about a choice. Now what they’re going to try to do is make this campaign a referendum. Not the referendum Romney wanted, but a referendum on the Ryan budget.

"So we’ve gone from Romney wanting it to be a referendum on Obama, to the Obama campaign going to try and make this a campaign about the Ryan budget.

“In the end, we finally get a choice. I think that’s the real thing about the pick today, and what Ryan on that stage means.”

Rasmussen notes that “most people will learn more about Paul Ryan in this coming week, than they have ever before in his 42 years on this earth.” He says only one in three Americans has a strong opinion about him.

He adds: “It is very important to reframe the debate. If the framing takes the line that this is an indication that Mitt Romney is serious about reducing federal spending, it will be seen as a plus. Two out of three Americans believe the best thing the government can do for the economy is to cut spending.

“So if that comes through — that this is a commitment to making the hard choices and cutting government spending — it would be very positive.

“On the other hand, before Paul Ryan introduced his Medicare plan, Republicans had a huge edge on the issue of healthcare. They had a 14 point lead. After the Ryan plan came out last year, that lead disappeared. If that becomes the focal point, this could become a modest negative.”

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