California Democratic insiders are crowing about Mitt Romney’s choice of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, saying the pick helps the Obama campaign, according to a Patch snap poll conducted over the weekend.
Republicans, meanwhile, said adding Ryan to the ticket could refocus the presidential campaign on economic issues and sway undecided voters—though not enough to turn the tide in true-blue California, some said.
Patch sent survey questions to 79 Republican and 63 Democratic party activists and elected officials within 48 hours of Romney’s announcement. Twenty-one Democrats and 21 Republicans responded.
More than three-quarters of Democratic respondents said Romney’s choice of Ryan—the chairman of the House Budget Committee and a strong advocate for cutting taxes and domestic spending—would galvanize California Democrats.
The pick “cements the image of Romney as ideologically committed to dismantling public support for middle class needs (education, health, broad based employment),” one Democrat wrote.
Eighty-one percent of Democrats strongly or somewhat agreed that Ryan’s presence on the GOP ticket would help Obama win senior citizens’ votes in California, while 90 percent agreed with the statement: "Now that Ryan is on the ticket, Democrats can win by running against Ryan's existing budget plans and particularly his proposal for Medicare."
Republicans: Choice Will Energize GOP Base
Republicans who responded to the unscientific survey cited Ryan’s fiscal conservatism and ability to appeal to the GOP base as strong selling points.
The pick “shows Romney is serious about addressing fiscal and economic issues,” one Republican wrote.
“It provides a theme for the Romney campaign that didn't exist before,” added another. “It also hopefully moves the dialogue away from Romney's personal finances and experiences at Bain Capital.”
Forty-eight percent of Republicans agreed that Ryan could help win over California’s undecided voters, while 43% disagreed and 10% were neutral.
“It will definitely energize the GOP base, but him on the ticket doesn't suddenly put California in play,” one insider commented. California hasn't gone for a Republican presidential candidate since favoring George Bush over Michael Dukakis in 1988.
Regardless of California’s fate, more than three-quarters of Republicans disagreed that the Democrats could win nationally by attacking Ryan’s budget plans, while only 10% agreed. And some even expressed hope that Californians could learn from the VP pick’s tough talk on budgeting.
“The pick of Ryan will help educate voters in California about the importance of limited government and how we cannot spend our way into prosperity,” wrote one Republican.
Insiders from both parties characterized Ryan as smart and charismatic.
“Whether or not someone agrees with his politics, the Paul Ryan VP candidacy provides a worthy adversary to the Obama-Biden campaign and a clear distinction between the two tickets,” one Democrat wrote.
Patch’s Red and Blue California Surveys
Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican and Democratic activists, party leaders and elected officials in California. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this weekend's questions.
Patch will be conducting Red California and Blue California surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in California. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in weekly surveys that last just a few minutes, please email Sandra.Oshiro@Patch.com.
Red California Survey roster: Richard Adams (Studio City Neighborhood Council safety chief); Gary Aminoff (San Fernando Valley Republicans president); Michael Antonovich (Los Angeles County supervisor); Steve Baric (California Republican Party vice chair); Tony Beall (Rancho Santa Margarita City Council member); Susan Blau (Studio City political activist); Dion Bracco (Gilroy Council member, mayoral candidate); Daniel M. Brown (San Francisco GOP Central Committee member); Sue Caro (County GOP chairwoman); Scott Carpenter (Orange County political blogger); Tamara Colbert (Tea Party member); John Colbert (Former Republican candidate for Congress); Dylan Conroy (Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council representative); Irene DeBlasio (Republican activist); Steve Detrick (Elk Grove City Council member) Ben DiBenedetto (Studio City Neighborhood Council board member); Jane Diehl (Redondo Beach school board member); Chip Dykes (Oceanside City Council candidate); Laura Emdee (Redondo Beach school board member); Heidi Gallegos (Rowland Unified School District Board member); Andrew Gayner Carmichael (Patch blogger); Mike Gin (Redondo Beach mayor); Gil Gonzalez (State Senate candidate); David Hall (Mt. San Antonio College Board trustee); Alex Keledjian (La Canada Flintridge Young Republicans president); Ernest Koeppen (La Canada Flintridge resident); Becky Kolberg (Contra Costa GOP chair); Bob Kowell (Murrieta-Temecula Republican Assembly president); Greg Krikorian (State Assembly candidate); Jim Light (Balanced-growth advocate); Patrice Lynes (Activist); Morgan Martinez (former governor aide); Larry Masuoka (San Juan Unified School District Board member); Brad McGirr (Rancho Santa Margarita planning commissioner) Gina McNelley (Capistrano Valley Republican Women Federated member) Bridget Melson (East Bay Tea Party chair); Mark Meuser (State Senate candidate); Nathan Mintz (Former AD66 candidate); Larry Molton (California GOP member); Roger Niello (Sacramento County Chamber of Commerce president); Gayle Pacheco (Republican Women Federated member); Chris Pareja (Congressional candidate); Al Phillips (State Assembly candidate); Al Restivo (Former La Canada Republicans Club president); Matt Rexroad (Yolo County supervisor); Elizabeth Sanford (political consultant); Scott Schmidt (Former LA Chapter Log Cabin Republicans president); Howard Schmidt (Chief of staff for Sacramento County supervisor); Nick Shih (Activist); Suzanne St. John (Activist); Mary Su (Walnut mayor); Gino Sund (Altadena Town Council member); Peter Tateishi (State Assembly candidate); Brad Torgan (LA Chapter Log Cabin Republicans president); Steve Vaus (City budget review committee member); Bob Walters (Former San Juan Unified School Board member); John Webb (Businessman).
Blue California roster: Armando Gomez (city councilman); Anita Avrick (school board member); Michael Barber (supervisor); Reginald Bronner (assembly candidate); Kathy Bisbee (CMAP executive director); Jennifer Browning (campaign volunteer); David Burruto (county party chair); Ralph Carhart (recreation and parks district board member); Cat Tucker (mayor pro tempore); Nancy Chaires (planning commissioner); Jay Chen (congressional candidate); Norman Chramoff (party member); Ken Cooley (city councilman); Joice Corridori (political activist); Payne Domingo (school board trustee); Don Helverson (teacher); James Donnelly (Democratic Club president); John Duran (city councilman); Pablo Espinoza (media director); Lucas Frerichs (city councilman); Gary Blenner (teacher); Gary Giacomo (Democratic Club member); Joanne Gifford (DNC delegate); Alan Haskvitz (teacher); Lindsey Horvath (city council member); Howard Hwang (party member) Ilona Saari (author); Juliana Inman (city council member); Jeff Kravitz (attorney); John Walker (neighborhood council president); Sarah Johnson (community activist); Jessie Kallman (Democratic Club executive director); Michael Kapp (political activist); Ro Khanna (former Obama administration official); Kris Kingdon (former chamber executive director); Karen Knecht (Democratic Club member); Keith LaMar (activist); Kristina Lawson (city council member); Linda Rubin (party member); Todd Loewenstein (school board member); Mary Ann Mancuso (party member); Marc Perkel (church founder); Marla Hart (party member); Marsha Grilli (school board member); Jennifer Mason Wolfe (teacher); Michelle Garcia (party member); Richard M. Mathews (LACDP vice-chair, Region 1); Gary Miller (county party central committee member); Katrina Morales (activist); Harry Munns (harbor commissioner); Mark Nielsen (former mayor); Don Nottoli (supervisor); Peter Arellano (council member); Jeffrey Prang (mayor); Diana Prola (school board member); Kish Rajan (city council member); Tony Santos (former mayor); Tim Sbranti (mayor); Jane Schafer-Kramer (labor union activist); Bob Schelen (county party chair); Darren Suen (former city council candidate); Joe Terry (talk show host); Robin Torello (Democrat Club chairwoman); James Tsai (party member); Mark van Gorder (supervisor candidate); Vince Monroy (communications director); Jill Wain Meniatis (Democratic Club member); Lee Walkup (party member); Sheila Young (former mayor); Laurence Zakson (convention delegate)
Sandra Oshiro contributed to this report.