California Democratic insiders are crowing about Mitt Romney’s choice of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, saying the pick helps the Obama campaign, according to a Patch snap poll conducted over the weekend.
Republicans, meanwhile, said adding Ryan to the ticket could refocus the presidential campaign on economic issues and sway undecided voters—though not enough to turn the tide in true-blue California, some said.
Patch sent survey questions to 79 Republican and 63 Democratic party activists and elected officials within 48 hours of Romney’s announcement. Twenty-one Democrats and 21 Republicans responded.
More than three-quarters of Democratic respondents said Romney’s choice of Ryan—the chairman of the House Budget Committee and a strong advocate for cutting taxes and domestic spending—would galvanize California Democrats.
The pick “cements the image of Romney as ideologically committed to dismantling public support for middle class needs (education, health, broad based employment),” one Democrat wrote.
Eighty-one percent of Democrats strongly or somewhat agreed that Ryan’s presence on the GOP ticket would help Obama win senior citizens’ votes in California, while 90 percent agreed with the statement: "Now that Ryan is on the ticket, Democrats can win by running against Ryan's existing budget plans and particularly his proposal for Medicare."
Republicans: Choice Will Energize GOP Base
Republicans who responded to the unscientific survey cited Ryan’s fiscal conservatism and ability to appeal to the GOP base as strong selling points.
The pick “shows Romney is serious about addressing fiscal and economic issues,” one Republican wrote.
“It provides a theme for the Romney campaign that didn't exist before,” added another. “It also hopefully moves the dialogue away from Romney's personal finances and experiences at Bain Capital.”
Forty-eight percent of Republicans agreed that Ryan could help win over California’s undecided voters, while 43% disagreed and 10% were neutral.
“It will definitely energize the GOP base, but him on the ticket doesn't suddenly put California in play,” one insider commented. California hasn't gone for a Republican presidential candidate since favoring George Bush over Michael Dukakis in 1988.
Regardless of California’s fate, more than three-quarters of Republicans disagreed that the Democrats could win nationally by attacking Ryan’s budget plans, while only 10% agreed. And some even expressed hope that Californians could learn from the VP pick’s tough talk on budgeting.
“The pick of Ryan will help educate voters in California about the importance of limited government and how we cannot spend our way into prosperity,” wrote one Republican.
Insiders from both parties characterized Ryan as smart and charismatic.
“Whether or not someone agrees with his politics, the Paul Ryan VP candidacy provides a worthy adversary to the Obama-Biden campaign and a clear distinction between the two tickets,” one Democrat wrote.
Patch’s Red and Blue California Surveys
Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican and Democratic activists, party leaders and elected officials in California. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this weekend's questions.
Patch will be conducting Red California and Blue California surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in California. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in weekly surveys that last just a few minutes, please email Sandra.Oshiro@Patch.com.