Try as his might, Romney himself continued to have a tough time getting back on message. Campaign charge and counter-charge on Medicare – something Ryan wanted to turn into a voucher program – got in the way of talking about the economy. And by week’s end, much of the political chatter centered on Romney’s income taxes.
Addressing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s provocative suggestion that Romney might not have paid any taxes in recent years due to offshore accounts and other tax-avoidance schemes, Romney finally declared that he had paid a federal income tax rate of at least 13 percent in each of the past 10 years. Still, he refuses to release more than two years’ of tax forms (2010 and 2011).
The impression left is that Romney has something to hide.
So has Ryan’s presence given the ticket the typical bounce in the polls?
Apparently not, or at least not much.
Gallup’s first cut shows 39 percent of those surveyed rating the Ryan pick as “excellent” or “pretty good” with 42 percent saying it was only “fair” or “poor.”
“In comparison, that’s one of the lower ratings on that scale that we’ve obtained,” says Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor-in-chief. Four years ago, Sarah Palin (46-37 percent) and Joe Biden (47-33 percent) did better when their selection was announced, and the (as it turns out) controversial former governor of Alaska initially had a better favorability rating than Ryan has today.