Team Obama: Ryan 'falls flat' with voters, like Palin and Quayle

The Obama campaign issued a memo on Thursday saying Mitt Romney’s announcement of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate had fallen “flat” with voters. 

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In a memo called “The Announcement Without a Bounce: Romney’s Choice Falls Flat,” Democratic pollster Joel Benenson cited data he says put Ryan’s selection “on par with the selections of Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle.”

“The announcement of a nominee’s running mate has typically led to a measurable bump for a ticket,” Benenson wrote. “Since 1996, Republicans have received an average 4.7-point gain in the polls, according to Gallup.”

According to Wednesday’s national daily-tracking poll from Gallup, Romney’s standing in the presidential race has not changed since he announced Ryan as his running mate.

Romney led Gallup’s tracking poll 46 percent to 45 over President Obama in the four days prior to the Ryan announcement. He has led Obama 47 to 45 percent in the four days since. That’s a bump of 1 percentage point for Romney, although the daily Gallup poll has a 3 percentage point margin of error.

The findings are consistent with a poll Gallup released on Monday, which found a plurality of Americans were not enthusiastic about the Ryan pick.

According to Gallup, in 2008 Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) saw a 2-point bump in the immediate aftermath of his selection of then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Obama lost 2 points after unveiling then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) as his running mate.

In the four elections prior to 2008, the challengers saw bounces of between 3 and 9 percentage points after making their vice presidential picks.

Romney campaign pollster Neil Newhouse attributed the low marks to Ryan not being widely known outside of Washington or his home state of Wisconsin.

“All these numbers indicate is the simple fact that Congressman Paul Ryan was not a nationally known figure prior to being named as Gov. Romney's vice-presidential pick,” he told USA Today.

Benenson pushed back at this line of reasoning in his memo.

“A more likely explanation is that for his running mate, Romney has chosen a leader from the most extreme wing of the least popular institution in America, congressional Republicans,” Benenson wrote.

Benenson argued that 39 percent had never heard of Ryan, compared to 51 who said the same of Palin after she joined the GOP ticket.

Benenson also pointed to Bob Dole (R) running mate Jack Kemp, who was unknown to 55 percent of voters at the time of his selection in 1996. Dole saw a 9-point bounce, although he trailed then-President Clinton badly at the time.

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