Ryan, Not Medicare, Helps Romney in Swing States
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Mitt Romney appears to be staging a comeback in the swing states, thanks to newly minted running mate Paul Ryan.
Purple Strategies, a bipartisan public affairs firm, released polls Wednesday that showed the former Massachusetts governor with a slight lead in Virginia, Ohio and Florida.
"I think that what we're seeing, if you take a look at the data combined ... is that there is some improvement for Romney just based on the action of the last weekend," said Doug Usher, managing partner for research at Purple Strategies. "Two to three days of fully positive stories."
Romney introduced his vice presidential pick on Saturday, marking the beginning of a typical honeymoon period when voters get excited about a fresh face in an already brutal campaign season.
The Purple Poll found Romney ahead of President Barack Obama 48% to 47% in Florida, 46% to 44% in Ohio and 48% to 45% in Virginia. The president led Romney in Colorado, 49% to 46%. Overall, the poll showed Romney ahead of Obama, 47% to 46%.
Usher also noted that Romney showed improvement in Ohio -- likely due to Ryan's arrival -- but that Obama had made up ground in Florida (even though Romney was leading).
The 2012 presidential race, which is playing out against a backdrop of poor job growth and a sluggish domestic economy, recently pivoted to a brawl about Medicare as Democrats started to claim that Ryan's House budget proposal would impose severe cuts on the popular entitlement program.
Republicans have rebutted those criticisms by suggesting that Obama's hallmark health care legislation -- Obamacare -- would cut $700 billion from Medicare. Fact checkers have said that the cut would happen over a 10-year period, but would come through adjustments in payments to Medicare providers. Reuters reported that those cuts are effectively meaningless to patients.
Though the Medicare scrum has reached a boiling point, it may not be such a big deal to voters.
"From an optic standpoint for most voters ... voters are not reading the details of the stories about the Ryan plan, they don't know what the Ryan plan is -- seniors in Florida do not yet know anything about who Paul Ryan is," said Usher.
Usher said Romney probably fared better in their polls than he would have if Purple Strategies surveyed respondents before the Ryan pick, because it's generally speaking been a tough month for the former governor.
-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.