Over Half of Americans Have No Opinion on Ryan

by Katrina Trinko

Despite all the Beltway brouhaha over the Ryan budget, many Americans don’t know enough about Paul Ryan to have even a favorable or unfavorable view of him, reports CNN:

Polls show Americans are largely unsure of Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee. A CNN/ORC International survey taken August 7-8 showed 54% of those polled saying they didn’t know enough about Ryan to form an opinion. Twenty-seven percent said they viewed the Wisconsin congressman favorably and 19% viewed him unfavorably.

Among Republicans polled, Ryan’s favorability was higher – though 45% still said they didn’t know enough about him to form an opinion. Ryan was viewed favorably by 49% of Republicans and unfavorably by 6%.

Twenty-seven percent of independents surveyed viewed Ryan favorably, compared to 22% who said they had an unfavorable opinion of him and 54% who were unsure.

And the Democrats are looking to take advantage of that, and start feeding people negative impressions of Ryan. From a fundraising e-mail sent by DCCC executive director Robby Mook this morning:

[I]n a poll this week, only 46% of Americans even had an opinion of Ryan (38% had never heard of him). These next hours are critical. We need to contact key voters immediately and make sure they know about the Romney-Ryan plan to put millionaire tax cuts over Medicare for seniors.

One of Ryan’s best qualities is his ability to defend his own plan, and make the case that under the circumstances, what he’s proposing is a reasonable solution. But the overall Romney campaign rollout of Ryan is going to prove critical — Ryan can’t on his own swat back all of these attacks that are coming, and there are going to have to be compelling surrogates who can eloquently explain what he stands for.