Noam Scheiber points out something that was very predictable, that the nomination of Paul Ryan as the Republican vice-presidential nominee has done enormous damage to Mitt Romney’s ability to appeal to senior citizens. He says that while the 47% tape hurt him, Paul Ryan’s views on Medicare have done far more damage:
But it’s worth pointing out another dynamic that’s been overlooked here: The escalating disaster that is Paul Ryan…
This week the New York Times released a set of polls, conducted by Quinnipiac, assessing the state of the race in Ohio and Florida. The top-line numbers were jaw-dropping enough: Obama’s lead in Ohio grew from six to ten over the last month, and from three to nine in Florida. (It’s better to focus on the change here than the magnitude, which is highly sensitive to polling methodology.) But once you look at the internal numbers, they’re even less kind to Romney. More to the point, they suggest Ryan has done enormous damage to the ticket.
Back in late August, Obama led Romney on the question of who would handle Medicare better by 8 points in Florida and 10 points in Ohio; now he’s up 15 in Florida and 16 in Ohio. And the problems are especially acute among senior citizens, a group Obama has traditionally struggled with. A month ago, Obama was down 13 points in Florida among people 65 and older; today he’s up 4. On the specific question of Medicare, Obama was down 4 points among Florida seniors in August; today he’s up 5 points…
The numbers for Ohio are similar: In August, Obama was down 8 among seniors in the state; today he’s up 1. A month ago Obama was down 6 points among Ohio seniors on the Medicare issue; today he’s up 6. The turnaround here is simply breathtaking.
Other polls have found similar results. Let me ask the obvious question: How did they not see this coming? It was my very first reaction to the Ryan nomination, that Romney was going to put seniors in play for Obama in a way that they rarely are for Democrats. Elderly voters have been one of the most consistent constituencies for the Republican party for decades and now Obama is likely to win a majority of that vote in November, especially in key states like Florida.
This only reinforces what I said at the time of the nomination, that Ryan was as much of a Hail Mary pass as Palin was in 2008. The only way Romney makes that pick is if he’s convinced by his advisers that they have little chance of winning the election without shaking up the race. But it’s done exactly what any half-observant person would have predicted.