PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans have mixed views of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who will be confirmed as the GOP's vice presidential nominee on Wednesday night, with 38% saying their opinion is favorable, and 36% saying it is unfavorable. About a quarter of Americans say they have never heard of Ryan or don't know enough about him to have an opinion.
Ryan has become significantly better known since Mitt Romney selected him as his running mate on Aug. 11. At that time, a one-night, quick-reaction USA Today/Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans (58%) did not know enough about Ryan to have an opinion about him. Now, that "don't know" percentage is down to 26%. At the same time, while Americans' first reaction was to view Ryan slightly more favorably than unfavorably (25% to 17%), their opinions have now essentially evened out, with only a two-percentage-point positive gap.
Republicans' views of Ryan heading into his convention speech are overwhelmingly positive, with 73% rating him favorably and only 9% unfavorably. In contrast, a majority of Democrats have an unfavorable view of Ryan, although more Democrats than Republicans can't rate him. Independents are split right down the middle in their assessments of the soon-to-be Republican vice-presidential nominee, mirroring the national average.
Ryan has basically the same type of mixed image among Americans as does Mitt Romney, although Romney at this point is better known. Voters' reactions not only to Ryan's Wednesday night speech but to his campaigning and his performance in the lone vice presidential debate in October may change his image for better or for worse in the days before the Nov. 6 election.
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Results for this USA Today/Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 20-22, 2012, with a random sample of 1,033 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
View methodology, full question results, and trend data.
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