Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

Why Ryan isn’t helping win Wisconsin

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Wisconsin is a battleground state that hasn’t gone Republican since 1984. But after Republican Scott Walker convincingly won the recall election this summer and Romney chose Ryan as his vice-presidential candidate, Republicans began to look up.

Why then, has Obama continued to lead in the polls? Yes, Romney’s polling did improve in August after he chose Ryan, but Obama still is ahead by 2 percentage points. Ryan’s congressional district includes just one-eighth of the state and polls have shown that more than a third of Wisconsinites have no opinion of him. Among those who do, he has high negatives: 38% approve, 33% disapprove.

Ryan is a very “bold” conservative. By Nate Silver‘s measure, which rates members of the House and Senate throughout different time periods on a common ideology scale, Mr. Ryan is the most conservative Republican member of Congress to be picked for the vice-presidential slot since at least 1900. He is also more conservative than any Democratic nominee was liberal, meaning that he is the furthest from the center.

Ryan’s fiscal policy plans to cut a certain amount of funding for Medicare, something very important to those living in Wisconsin. Those in Wisconsin are living with a 7.3% unemployment rate. But most Wisconsinites do not attribute this to Obama; 55% attribute it to George W. Bush. Because of this and Ryan’s radical fiscal plans, the constituency in Wisconsin is having a hard time trusting their fellow Wisconsinite Ryan.

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