A strong majority of Democrats think both Virginia Democrats and President Barack Obama can win their elections in November largely by running against Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plans and his proposals for Medicare, according to a weekend Northern Virginia Patch "snap poll."
On Saturday morning, Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, announced he had chosen Ryan as his running mate, , former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and others presumed to be on the short list. Romney made the announcement in Norfolk and spent the day on a .
After the announcement, Patch sent surveys to more than 75 key Republicans and Democrats, including elected officials, state and local party leaders, bloggers and politically influential people across Northern Virginia who agreed to anonymously give their opinions in a series of surveys between now and November. More than 10 Democrats responded, but only three Republicans responded to Patch's survey.
Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population, but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local political activists, party leaders and elected officials in Northern Virginia.
Would McDonnell have been a better choice?
More than 90 percent of Democrats who responded to the poll also said Gov. Bob McDonnell would not have been a better choice for Mitt Romney’s running mate. However, Republicans who responded to the survey agreed McDonnell also would have been a good pick for Romney.
One Republican wrote in his survey response, "I think Gov. McDonnell also would have been a good pick. But Ryan is better known throughout the country, better vetted in dealing with the media, and will be better at defending his budget, which was going to be a hot topic in any case."
Senior Citizens in Play
A majority of surveyed Democrats also strongly agreed with the statement, "Mitt Romney's decision to choose Paul Ryan as his VP candidate will help the Obama-Biden campaign win the votes of senior citizens in Virginia."
Northern Virginia Democrats indicated the Ryan selection may push some on the fence seniors toward Obama. "Ryan's budget plan should terrify anyone dependent upon Medicare or Social Security," one Democrat who responded to the survey wrote.
A Republican who responded to the survey wrote, "His call for reduction of [Social Security] might not help with the age 50-plus voters who depend on it." But Ryan as a potential vice president "will help bring in more conservative voters that are concerned with Romney as a moderate."
In the 2008 election, senior citizens favored John McCain over Obama by 53 percent to 45 percent nationwide. According to the 2010 census, 12.2 percent of Virginians are senior citizens (age 65 or older).
Republicans: Ryan Pick Energizes the Ticket
Republicans who responded to Patch’s survey said picking Ryan is a positive development.
One Republican who responded wrote that adding Ryan to the ticket was "a bold pick" and this makes Romney and Ryan "the true hope and change team."
Another Republican wrote, "[Ryan] is the leading budget hawk in Congress and understand the debt situation our country faces and has a plan to solve it."
Democrats: Romney Campaign Makes a Right Turn
In anonymous written responses to Patch's questions, several Democrat respondents noted Romney's choice of Ryan effectively pulls the ticket to the right, highlighting and clarifying the differences between the two candidates. Romney's pick may also pull in more tea party supporters, who many pollsters noted have only been lukewarm about the Romney ticket before this weekend, one respondent surmised.
This "makes the conservatives more likely to support Romney," one survey respondent said in his survey comments. Another respondent wrote, "Ryan is far right of far right."
Another Democrat wrote Ryan is "young, charismatic [and] substantive ... even if I don't agree with his substance."
However, one respondent noted the Ryan pick could actually hurt Romney with some voters: “Ryan's radical, survival of the fittest views on the economy, Medicare and Social Security will hurt Romney with moderate Republicans and independents.”
More coverage from Mitt Romney's announcement and visit to Virginia:
About Red and Blue NoVa Surveys
Patch will be conducting Red NoVa and Blue NoVa surveys throughout 2012, asking both Republicans and Democrats about their thoughts and feelings on local, state and national elections and issues.
All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all of those (listed below) who received surveys responded to Saturday's questions.
If you are interested in participating in future surveys, which should take just a few minutes to complete, please email Senior Regional Editor Beth Lawton at email@example.com or Local Editor William Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following individuals have agreed to take Red NoVa or Blue NoVa polls from Patch, though not all who have agreed to take polls responded to this survey taken Aug. 11–12, 2012. Participants are listed in no particular order: John Cook, Michael Kane, Mark Gibson, Chris Perkins, Bryce Thorpe, Garrett Jones, Scott Cooper, Ken Plum, Janet Howell, John Farrell, Mac Cannon, Cathy Hudgins, Richard Anderson, James Phelps, Mike May, Martin Nohe, Frank Principi, Scott Surovell, Jeff McKay, Jack Dobbyn, Mark Cannady, Tom Rust, Bettina Lawton, Bob Haley, Rachel Rifkind, George Burke, Mark Itzkoff, Frank Anderson, Susan Valentine, H. Lillian Vogl, Steve Hunt, Catherine Read, Mark Keam, John Jaggers, Dak Hardwick, Rob Krupicka, Charlie Jackson, John Whitbeck, Evan McBeth, Erin Smith, Gerarda Culipher, Tom Fulton, Penny Gross, Gerry Connolly, Jim Scott, Dick Saslaw, Suhas Naddoni, Frank Jones, Jeanette Rishell, Phil Duncan, Larry Roeder, Adam Washington, Lawrence Webb, Luke Torian, Patrick Forrest, George Schwartz, Frank Fannon, Jerry Carman, Patricia Richie-Folks, John Chapman, Allison Silberberg, Gail Gordon, Tim McGhee, Anne Little, David Speck, Dave Butler, Marty Martinez, Kelly Burk, Ken Reid, Ann Robinson, Bob Wood, John Lawrence, Chris Marston, Alane Callander, Bill Cinnamond, Tina Hone, Ken Feltman, Pat Hynes, Sharon Annear, Adam Cook.