Paul Ryan needs to provide a positive jolt to Mitt Romney’s campaign: voters continue to bad-mouth the presumptive Republican nominee, according to National Journal’s latest Conversation Nation poll.
Forty-four percent of discussions about Romney were negative last week, the poll found, while 31 percent were positive. That’s the continuation of a long trend for the former Massachusetts governor, who has been the subject of more ire than praise among adults for 10 of the 11 weeks that NJ has conducted the poll. Conversation Nation began tracking conversations among adults at the start of June. Since July, the split between positive and negative conversations has frequently been larger than 10 points.
Chatter about President Obama, meanwhile, isn’t strongly positive, but it isn’t as bad as the talk about Romney. Last week, 41 percent of adults had mostly positive conversations about the president, according to the survey, while 34 percent talked mostly negatively about him. It’s only the third week in which positive discussion about Obama has outweighed its negative counterpart, although the splits between the two metrics are usually about even.
Romney will have to hope that his newly selected running mate, Ryan, can shift the discussion. The poll found evidence that adults took notice during the days following the pick: 12 percent of adults were talking about the Wisconsin lawmaker by Sunday, a day after he was officially introduced during a campaign event in Virginia. That was more than double the number of people talking about the pick in previous week.
Whether Ryan will be well received among voters remains to be seen. His entrance into the campaign has put a renewed emphasis on the future of Medicare, traditionally a favorable topic for Democrats but one that Republicans and the Romney campaign have embraced.
In the battleground states, signs show that the presidential campaign is beginning to ramp up. Forty-three percent of adults discussed either presidential hopeful last week in the swing states – 39 percent did so in the other states.
The differences were similar when discussion shifted to just Obama or Romney. For the president, 38 percent of adults had discussed him in the battlegrounds, while 32 percent talked about the commander in chief everywhere else. For the onetime Bay State governor, 28 percent of them talked about him in the election’s most pivotal states, and 22 percent everywhere else.
About This Poll:
National Journal and Keller Fay Group, a survey research firm, have partnered to track Americans’ online and face-to-face conversations about the 2012 presidential race. Each week Keller Fay’s TalkTrack® research service interviews a nationally representative online sample of approximately 615 Americans aged 18-69, to determine which candidates and issues people are talking about and the nature of those conversations. Ed Keller and Brad Fay are coauthors of The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace (Free Press: 2012).