I don’t want to be too optimistic about these numbers, since there’s still two and a half months of Mediscaring to go, and Democrats haven’t even gone full-blast on it yet. Still, this WaPo-ABC News poll (via the Fix) is pretty promising for Paul Ryan:
Grandma isn’t scared of Paul Ryan.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows 41 percent of Americans view the new GOP vice presidential nominee favorably, while 37 percent rate him unfavorably — slightly improved from last week’s polling.
Among seniors, though, the numbers are even better for Ryan: 50 percent favorable and 35 percent unfavorable. Fully one-third of seniors say they have a strongly favorable view of the Wisconsin congressman, while one-quarter have a strongly unfavorable view.
The numbers suggest Democrats’ attempts to turn Ryan’s Medicare proposal against the GOP haven’t stuck yet among the most pivotal group: seniors. If a Medicare attack was working, after all, seniors would likely be the first group to start deserting Ryan.
It’s not just that the attempts have failed to stick. The fact that 33 percent of seniors (a plurality in this poll) say they hold strongly favorable views of Ryan suggests that this group a.) has probably taken time to think about him and made a relatively well-formed decision, and b.) is less likely to be swayed into the negative camp. That will make it more difficult for Democrats to spread misinformation about Ryan’s positions on Medicare.
There are two immediate problems for Democrats. First, Romney and Ryan have been fairly successful at spreading the news that the Medicare reforms wouldn’t impact anyone over the age of 55. As long as seniors know that their own current coverage won’t be touched, they can look at the reforms with much more open minds.
Second, Paul Ryan just isn’t scary. He’s the kind of guy grandparents usually love. Democrats are going to find it hard to convince retirees that he wants to destroy Medicare because he hates the elderly and wants to give all their health care money to rich people. It’s just not believable to any rational person who’s listened to Ryan talk for more than five minutes.