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50% Now View Paul Ryan Favorably; 43% Say He Was Right Choice

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s favorables are up after the first blush of national media exposure following Mitt Romney’s selection of him as his vice presidential running mate. But as is generally the case with running mates, Ryan gives only a slight boost to Romney.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters now have a favorable opinion of Ryan, while 32% view him unfavorably. This includes 29% with a Very Favorable view of Romney’s vice presidential pick and 13% with a Very Unfavorable one.  Only 13% are now unfamiliar with Ryan, and five percent (5%) are not sure about him. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Just prior to being picked as Romney’s running mate, only 39% viewed Ryan favorably, while 25% held an unfavorable opinion of him.

Forty-three percent (43%) of voters think Romney made the right choice when he chose Ryan to be his running mate. Twenty-two percent (22%) disagree and think it was a bad choice. A sizable 35% aren’t sure.

But 36% now say they are more likely to vote for Romney with Ryan as his running mate. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say they are less likely to vote for the Republican, while just as many (30%) say the vice presidential selection has no impact on their vote.

In the key swing state of Ohio, the initial reaction to Ryan is also modestly positive.

Ryan’s numbers are in line with findings in the early going for the vice presidential candidates in 2008. Voters were slightly more critical of Republican John McCain’s choice of then-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. But Palin’s favorables were a bit higher than Ryan’s, and a comparable number of voters said her selection made them more likely to vote for McCain.

The choice of Ryan  also gets slightly better reviews than Barack Obama’s selection of longtime Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate. Biden’s favorables were comparable to Ryan’s, but voters were evenly divided over whether Biden’s selection made them more or less likely to vote for Obama.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 12-13, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Voters are now evenly divided over whether Ryan is ready to be president if necessary. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say yes, 36% no. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure.

This is comparable to feelings about Biden just after he was picked but far better than initial perceptions of Palin.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of voters regard Ryan as ideologically conservative, including 40% who say he’s Very Conservative.  That’s more conservative that voters think Romney is and puts Ryan nearly as far to the political right as voters think the president is to the political left.

Predictably, there are sharp partisan differences of opinion on most questions related to Ryan. Eighty-three percent (83%) of Republicans view Ryan favorably, and 72% think Romney made a good choice in picking him as his running mate. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Democrats give Ryan unfavorable marks, and only 18% view Romney’s selection as a good one.

Among voters not affiliated with either major party, Ryan’s favorables have risen from 36% in July to 50% now. Thirty-eight percent (38%) of unaffiliated voters are more likely to vote for Romney as a result of the Ryan pick versus 29% who are less likely to do so.

Additional Information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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