While Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate has been an obsessive topic for political reporters and pundits, the pick has had little effect on the preferences of voters, according to two new polls whose results are virtually unchanged from a month ago—with both showing Obama with a slight lead.
According to the AP-GfK poll, Obama was beating Romney, 47 to 46 percent, a small change from last month’s poll that had Obama leading 47-44 percent.
In the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Obama’s lead was larger, 48 to 44 percent—about the same as it was a month ago.
As for the public’s view of Ryan, who is the subject of a furious contest by both sides to paint of picture of him in the minds of voters, he was seen favorably by 38 percent of adults and unfavorably by 34 percent. Among registered voters, it was 40 percent favorable and 34 percent unfavorable. He was unknown to about 25 percent.
In the Wall Street Journal poll, 22 percent of voters said the Ryan choice made them more likely to back Romney, while 23 percent said the opposite—an even split. More than half said it would make no difference in their vote.
Looking at those numbers, the conclusion seems to be that Ryan’s choice had little effect on the voting decision of most Americans—though some observers say that it is helping Romney with fundraising because of the excitement his selection ignited among the Republican base.
Romney chose Ryan on August 11, while both polls were conducted August 16-20.
As for the crucial question about who voters trust to handle the economy, Romney wins 48-44, and who would do more to create jobs, Romney wins 47-43. Among independents, Romney’s lead is much bigger on that question, 46-27.
But on handling social issues such as abortion, Obama leads 52-35, and Medicare, 48-42. Of course Medicare has dominated the news as both sides claim the other would substantially reduce Medicare benefits for seniors. Among respondents those who said Medicare is an extremely important issue, Obama leads 49-44.
Then there’s the first lady factor. Michelle Obama is viewed favorably by 64 percent and unfavorably by just 26 percent—down slightly from her 70 percent favorability rating in May. As for Ann Romney, she’s viewed favorably by 40 percent and unfavorably by 27 percent. A third didn’t offer an opinion of Mitt Romney’s wife.