Could the selection of Paul Ryan be a means to escape blame in defeat?

There are two ways to think about Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan this morning. The first is how it affects Romney’s prospects for winning in November. The second is how it affects the internal struggle between conservatives and moderates within the GOP.

Regarding the first question, the Ryan pick is, of course, lunacy. Ryan’s claim to fame is a long-term budget blueprint that would massively cut Medicare over the coming decades while essentially zeroing out domestic spending oneverything else but defense. It would pair this unprecedented austerity with enormous tax cuts for the wealthy. All of these things are, to varying degrees, wildly unpopular. Which makes it hardly surprising that the only time the Ryan budget actually came before voters—in a 2011 congressional special election in upstate New York—it was a political disaster, handing a safe Republican district to a little-known Democrat. 

Noam Scheiber — Just One Reason to Pick Ryan: Blame the Loss on Conservatives

Are swing voters as crucial as they are made out to be?

"The important factor is not where voters’ inclinations started out, but the fact that their inclinations were changed at all. The act of persuading a swing voter has traditionally been thought of as moving a given voter from more likely to vote against a given candidate to more likely to vote for him—say from 55 percent likely to vote against to 55 percent likely to vote for. But it could also mean moving that voter from somewhat likely to vote for a candidate to very likely to support that candidate (say from 55 percent likelihood to 65 percent)—or, for that matter, from very likely to almost certain (65 percent to 75 percent). All three of these examples are mathematically equivalent—and it makes sense to think of them all as swing voters."

- Rut Teixeira, Why There Are Many More Swing Voters Than You Think

Photo courtesy of Flickr

President Obama’s new rhetoric is starting to convince even the pickiest of voters. 

And Independents, too, now favor Obama on jobs, by 44-31, a big shift from 37-42 in September. And not only do Democrats support Obama’s jobs plan and believe it will improve the jobs situation, but so too do independents, by margins of 47-38 and 52-44, respectively. Moderates, meanwhile, are even more enthusiastic—support figures among this group are 5-9 points higher than among Independents on all these questions. As for raising taxes on the rich: Bring it on! By 65-28, Independents favor raising taxes on households with over a million dollars in income.”

-Ruy Teixeira, “Obama’s New Populism Isn’t Alienating Moderates.”

Poll courtesy of CBS News.