Since Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate over the weekend, Democrats have been excited about the prospect of using Ryan's budget proposal as a weapon against Republican candidates up and down the ballot this fall, even as the GOP said it could neutralize those attacks. Polling conducted for one Democratic group provides a snapshot of what has their side so animated.
A new memo from House Majority PAC - the Democratic-aligned, House-focused super PAC - outlines what messages we can expect to hear deployed against vulnerable Republican incumbents this fall. In GOP Rep. Allen West's Florida 18th District, for example, House Majority PAC found the Ryan budget to be the top-testing negative against West, according to a late June survey conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group. Fifty-seven percent of voters had "major concerns" after hearing the following statement about West. From the memo:
West voted for a budget plan that that would slash Medicare spending and cripple the economy. John McCain's economic adviser has even admitted that the Republican plan would result in one point seven million fewer jobs over the next two years. Moreover, it would turn Medicare into a voucher program, bring back the donut-hole in which seniors pay more for prescription drugs, and make older Americans pay an additional six thousand four hundred dollars a year for their health care.
This is not a measure of either West's or the Ryan budget's popularity right now, but rather a signal of what Democrats hope to say about the Ryan budget to convince voters that it - and by extension West and his fellow Republicans - is bad news. Having more than half of poll respondents rate a statement as a "major concern" means it is prime fodder for a TV ad and other voter persuasion efforts, and you can bet parts of that statement will show up in future House Majority PAC ads this year.
From National Journal on August 14, 2012.