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Paul Ryan’s selection to the GOP presidential ticket has sent the Democratic spin machine into overdrive. Democratic pollsters and partisans alike have been at pains to claim that the Ryan pick has brought no political “bounce” to the Romney campaign, that his addition does not put a single new swing state in play. Obama pollster Joel Benenson went so far as to claim that Ryan has “had virtually no impact on Romney’s position in the polls.” It’s a flattering reading of the political map, one that has already influenced media coverage of the presidential campaign.
Unfortunately for the Obama camp, it’s also false. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that Ryan has done nothing to boost Romney’s standing, the latest evidence suggests that he is already helping the campaign seize the advantage in key swing states while increasing its appeal to the Republican base and boosting its fundraising fortunes.
Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin is a case in point. In its first poll since the Ryan announcement, Democratic polling form Public Policy Polling (PPP) finds that Romney now has a small lead over Barack Obama in the Badger State. After being down 50 percent to 44 percent to Obama as recently as last month, Romney now has a small but significant one-point lead over the president. That represents a remarkable 7-point swing for Romney. While the race remains close, it’s now clearly competitive. Wisconsin is no exception. Since Ryan joined the campaign, Romney has seen his poll numbers rise in battlegrounds like Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Michigan.
Credit for the turnaround is due to Ryan. With Ryan’s addition, the Romney campaign is beginning to unite Republicans in a way that previously it had failed to do. PPP’s poll finds that Romney now wins support from 88 percent of Republicans, as compared to the 78 percent he was winning before Ryan joined the ticket. If part of the logic of the Ryan pick was to shore up the GOP base, it seems to be working.
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