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Romney falling behind in polls. Will Paul Ryan help?

Recent polls have Mitt Romney slipping behind President Obama – including among men and suburbanites. Running mate Paul Ryan could help, but so far he's largely unknown to voters.

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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, (r.), with his newly announced vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., standing behind him, during a campaign rally in Manassas, Va., Saturday.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

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Less than 48 hours after Mitt Romney tapped Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate, Americans are on a steep learning curve about what pundits unanimously call a “bold” choice.

Public opinion polls unwind before our very eyes.

The most recent CNN/ORC International poll, taken a few days before Saturday’s announcement, gives Mr. Ryan a 27-19 favorable/unfavorable rating with a whopping 54 percent saying they’re unsure or have never heard of him. That’s in line with earlier polls by CNN/ORC, Bloomberg/Selzer, and NBC/WSJ.

One online poll being conducted right now asks, “Do you think Paul Ryan was the right running mate choice for Mitt Romney?” Of 1,340 votes cast so far, 46 percent agree, 44 percent disagree, and 10 percent aren’t sure.

Unless you’re a partisan player, a pundit, or an amateur political junkie, in other words, Ryan remains largely an unknown quantity, a blank slate on whom both parties seek to portray their particular image – and probably will remain so until the Republican convention in Tampa at the end of the month, which is when most Americans begin tuning in to the campaign.

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