By Dave Andrusko
We posted a series of articles just hours ago about the great choice of pro-life Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate by pro-life Mitt Romney, and already there has been delightfully positive feedback. (BTW: if you want to comment on this or any other NRL News Today article, just write to firstname.lastname@example.org.) An exchange in POLITICO.com explains why:
“’Congressman Ryan has a deep, abiding respect for all human life, including unborn children and their mothers, the disabled, and the elderly,’ said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. …
“The National Right to Live Committee scores him as ‘a 100 percent pro-life voting record’ ever since he entered the House in 1999. Abortion rights groups don’t quibble with that assessment
“‘Rep. Paul Ryan’s extreme anti-choice record shows just how serious a threat Mitt Romney’s presidency would be for women,’ said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.“
I’ve been reading stories all day. The Romney/Ryan team is bubbling over with energy and the crowd response has been enthusiasm squared. Pro-abortion Democrats, by contrast, predict the end of the world, as they know it, if the Republican team wins in November. Well….yes.
There are any number of first-impression results that are absolutely fascinating. While they are a “snapshot” of public opinion, they tell you why the Obama re-election machine is ordering mud by the ton.
But before we get to those, the last significant poll before the Ryan selection was conducted for POLITICO by George Washington University of “Battleground” states. The results are almost exactly what they were in the last survey, only this time Obama is up a point whereas Romney was up a point in May. This, mind you, after two national polls last week that supposedly showed Obama up 7 and 9 points, respectively.
Then there is the intensity/interest dimension. The USA Today/Gallup survey found. Seventy-four percent of Republicans said they’re thinking about the election “quite a lot,” compared to 61 percent of Democrats.
“In most prior election campaigns, Republicans have typically paid a higher level of attention to the election than Democrats. However, the current 13-point Republican advantage is larger than Gallup has measured in recent presidential election years,” Gallup wrote.
“Republicans currently are more highly engaged in the campaign than Democrats. If that persists, it suggests Republican turnout may be much stronger than Democratic turnout.” Gallup qualifies that by saying Democratic interest may pick up when the Party has its national convention. Obviously, diminished enthusiasm and lower voter turnout would be the worst possible combination for Democrats.
Two other components. Rep. Ryan is a Catholic, a constituency Obama carried in 2008. I could summarize the first few paragraphs of a story by James Hohmann but they are so good, let me just quote them. Under the headline, “Paul Ryan ramps up fight for Catholic vote,” Hohmann begins
“DUBUQUE, Iowa —— No one doubted the Roman Catholic vote would be up for grabs in November, even before Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan as his running mate.
“Now, the selection of Ryan, only the second Catholic ever nominated for national office by Republicans, all but guarantees a fierce election-year fight for the affections of Catholic voters —— or more specifically, white Catholics, who form the bulk of the Catholic vote here in this corner of Iowa and across the Rust Belt.
“Four years ago, there wasn’t much of a fight. President Barack Obama won Iowa Catholics, about a quarter of the electorate, by what the exit polls showed was an 18-percentage-point margin.
“Yet there are signs in Dubuque, an overwhelmingly Catholic and traditionally Democratic stronghold of 58,000 on the banks of the Mississippi River that suggest the president’s support is much softer than last time.
“In part, it’s a reflection of the general erosion in the president’s support, but it’s also because of tensions between the administration and the Catholic Church over a federal mandate, which went into effect Aug. 1..”
Finally, Rep. Ryan received an immediate jump in ratings following the announcement. According to the Washington Post, “Americans split nearly evenly on Paul Ryan’s selection as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, a divided response that nonetheless represents a sharp gain for Ryan compared with the negative tilt that preceded his pick, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll has found. In weekend interviews 38 percent responded favorably to Ryan joining the Republican ticket, up from 23 percent in pre-selection interviews last week. Positive views rose among independents as well as among Republicans, and among women. And Ryan was notably well-received among senior citizens – a group of interest given his plan to reshape Medicare.”
Naturally the 33% who disapproved (virtually the same before and after) are disproportionately Democrats. “The movement in his favor came among undecideds”—45% disapproved before the announcement, 30% afterwards, according to the Post.
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