5 Things the Polls Tell Us about Paul Ryan

Aug 29 '12

On the eve of Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention, here is a recap of several key findings:

  1. When he was picked, a large fraction of Americans did not know who Paul Ryan was, or at least could not evaluate him.  Among those that could, unfavorable views were more prevalent than favorable views.  This was true among undecided and independent voters as well.
  2. Among the politicians discussed as possible vice-presidential picks, Ryan stands out as being relatively less popular, given Americans’ familiarity with him.   Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio were all about equally well-known to Americans, but somewhat more popular than Ryan.
  3. If the goal of picking Ryan was to mobilize the conservative base of the Republican Party, then picking Ryan was pretty much unnecessary.
  4. A large number of people do not know Ryan’s plan for Medicare.  But among those who do, most oppose it.
  5. Since he was picked, Ryan has become somewhat less popular.  As more Americans have developed an opinion about him, those with unfavorable opinions have increased faster than those with favorable opinions.  Gallup’s data show that opinions are slightly more favorable than the YouGov data in the linked post, but they also show that those with unfavorable opinions have increased faster in the past few weeks — up 19 points — than have favorable opinions (up 13 points).