The Obama campaign is predictably gleeful, and held a conference call Thursday to highlight the polls – including a YouGov poll that showed Mr. Obama picking up a percentage point since the Ryan news. But it’s early in the season, and many voters are still tuning in to this new figure on the national stage.
In fact, some analysts suggest that Romney was not even aiming for a splashy debut of his running mate. Making the announcement on a Saturday morning on the final weekend of the Summer Olympics more than two weeks before the start of the Republican convention was not a typical rollout. Perhaps the goal was to wow activists, who already know about Ryan and his bold conservative vision, and let the rest of the electorate get to know Ryan over time.
At the introductory event in Norfolk, Va., last Saturday, Romney emphasized character and leadership in describing Ryan. He also invoked key touchstones: Ryan's Catholicism, his father’s early death, his wife and children, his Janesville, Wis., roots.
“In a city that is far too often characterized by pettiness and personal attacks, Paul Ryan is a shining exception,” Romney said. “He does not demonize his opponents. He understands that honorable people can have honest differences.”
Likewise, Democrats are not trying to demonize Ryan personally. They are granting that he is personally likable – a quality that Romney has struggled to project – and instead are zeroing in on his budget plan.