A day after presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney tapped conservative Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate, Connecticut Republicans expressed enthusiasm but conceded that the choice would do little to put the Nutmeg State in play come November.
Of the 16 Republican political insiders who responded to Patch’s Red Nutmeg survey on Saturday and Sunday, 13 either strongly agree or somewhat agree that Ryan will galvanize the state’s party members, but only half either strongly agree or somewhat agree that the choice will help win over undecided voters in Connecticut.
Most, however, believe that Ryan will help to clarify the ticket’s message and boost Romney’s appeal to the Tea Party and the party’s conservative base.
“He helps frame the question facing voters: Do we go forward into the European big-government model or do we restore the America based on people being responsible and accountable?” one respondent to the survey, which is not scientific, said.
But, another said, “I don’t know that Paul Ryan being on the ticket helps Romney’s chances in Connecticut. Romney is and was never going to win this state. … I don’t know if there was anyone he could have picked on the ticket that would help him win the state.”
Several respondents expressed admiration for Ryan’s economic expertise, calling him “honest,” someone with a “clear vision for the future” and “a well-defined candidate with a proven leadership record.”
One said his choice would force the focus to return to the issues.
“Paul Ryan’s inclusion on the GOP ticket forces the Obama campaign to return to issues-oriented campaigning and away from smear tactics,” one respondent said. “Ryan’s background and laser-like focus on fiscal and budgetary responsibility will force the Obama campaign to rationalize their policies of spending at any cost.”
Ten of the 16 Republican respondents disputed the notion that Democrats can win the 2012 election by running against Ryan’s budget proposals, which include reforming Medicare.
Respondents to Patch’s concurrent Blue Nutmeg survey of Democratic political insiders, on the other hand, were nearly unanimous in thinking that Romney’s selection of Ryan will boost President Obama’s chances.
Twenty of 22 strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that Ryan’s choice will galvanize Connecticut Democrats, and 17 of 22 strongly agreed that the pick would allow the Obama-Biden campaign to win the votes of senior citizens.
“(Ryan's choice) allows Medicare to become a major issue that will harm Romney in swing states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania," one respondent said.
Most of the Democratic insiders thought Ryan would drive independent votes toward Obama-Biden, one of them saying Democrats should “be able to hang the Ryan budget right around the neck of Mr. Romney.”
One Democratic insider, though, gave the conservative Congressman some plaudits.
“Ryan, at least, has a plan, whereas Romney doesn’t have a clue.”
One area where Republicans and Democrats seem to agree is that Ryan’s selection will appeal to the Tea Party and ultra-conservative members of the party.
“The Romney-Ryan ticket is an extreme representation of right-wing politics,” one of the respondents said. “The extreme, energize-the-base politics did not work with war-veteran McCain, who is probably the most reasonable of the right-wing politicians, (and was) not able to dilute the impact of Palinese … how could it possibly work with a candidate who has chosen to distance himself from the only decent record of public service available to him, clinging instead to a Wall Street narrative that brought the country to the brink of disaster?
“If Democrats cannot easily transcend this polarity, then America is in serious trouble.”
Patch’s surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican and Democratic activists, party leaders and elected officials in Connecticut. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this week's questions. Surveys were conducted between Aug. 11 and Aug. 12, 2012.
Patch will be conducting Red Nutmeg and Blue Nutmeg surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in Connecticut. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in a weekly surveys that lasts just a few minutes, please email Regional Editor Corey Fyke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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