How much of a 'bounce' has Paul Ryan given Romney?August 17, 2012 1:07 PM
CNN billed it as a "major" political development.
The cable news network, which is often consumed by American politics, moved the state of Wisconsin into the all-important "toss up" category, making the home state of the newly named Republican vice-presidential pick one of the handful of states that could help decide who wins the presidency in November.
If true, that may be the biggest "bounce" so far from Mitt Romney's selection of Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his Republican running mate.
Bouncing a state that Barack Obama won by 14 points in 2008 into at-play territory signals something may be happening in a few key locales.
But national polls are showing that Romney's VP choice hasn't really moved the needle very much at all. Gallup, for example, shows a one percentage point change in Romney's favour in the days immediately following the announcement.And other polls have been equally anemic.
Truth is, that fits the modern historical pattern of vice-presidential picks and mirrors essentially what happened in both campaigns in 2008 in the early days following the selection of a running mate.
But as is so often the case in elections, polls only tell part of the story.
The Romney campaign points out it has pulled in $10 million in donations in the week since the Ryan announcement, which suggests his tax-cutting, government-cutting message is finding an audience.
Social network traffic for the campaign is also up and so, campaign strategists say, is the general energy of the team.
In fact, Politico reports today that the plan to have Romney and Ryan campaign separately until the Republican convention in Tampa at the end of the month has been altered to bring the two together sooner because Romney simply campaigns better with Ryan at his side.
The campaign team feels Romney is less stiff and more energized by his running mate.
The Obama campaign also claims it has benefitted from Ryan's presence in the race.
The debate over the country's cherished but underfunded entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid has catapulted noisily into the electoral conversation.
Democrats believe Ryan's plans for opening up Medicare to private options and offering Americans a voucher system instead of a pure public plan will help them - especially in critical swing states like Florida where seniors account for almost 20 per cent of eligible voters.
Still, it is probably too soon to assess Ryan's real impact on the race.
The national media has only just begun its work dissecting how his voting record stands up against his words.
There are many weeks and one, sometimes,key vice-presidential debate to come.
But bounce or no bounce, Paul Ryan has already made the race more interesting.