Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has made a name for himself during multiple terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
And to respondents Saturday in our latest Red Palmetto survey of influential conservatives across South Carolina, the man chosen to be Mitt Romney's GOP running mate can be summarized in a couple of words:
Those were the terms that came up time and time again among the 36 respondents to a quick Saturday poll following Romney's announcement of Ryan as VP choice.
Romney's choice is a longshot to have any bearing on South Carolina's role in the 2012 presidential election. The Palmetto State is as red as they come on the electoral map.
But our Red Palmetto respondents suggest that the choice will "galvanize" South Carolina Republicans, sway SC independents and could not only impact the race in Wisconsin, but also Florida and Ohio as well.
Here is a summary of the survey's findings:
1. Nearly 92 percent of respondents either "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree" with the following statement: "Mitt Romney's decision to choose Paul Ryan as his VP candidate will galvanize South Carolina Republicans." More than 58 percent said they "strongly agree."
2. More than 80 percent either "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree" with this statement: "Mitt Romney's decision to choose Paul Ryan as his VP candidate will help win over South Carolina's undecided voters."
3. More than 80 disagreed with the idea that Democrats could gain ground by running against Ryan's stance on entitlement programs, including Medicare.
Nothing ground-breaking there.
But in the open-ended questions, some interesting themes arose.
In one question, asking what was the No. 1 advantage to having Ryan on the ticket, Republicans in South Carolina kept coming back to the same issues: "Fiscal Conservative," "Leadership on budget issues," and "strong on economic reform" were mentioned in one form or another by nearly all of the respondents. Other ideas mentioned included his strength in "messaging," energizing "the base," and "placating the Tea Party."
According to one respondent: "Paul Ryan solidifies the image of the ticket as reformers who are willing to tackle tough issues and turn Washington around. That said, he is a risky choice that shows Mitt Romney couldn't play it safe with a more conventional choice like (Tim) Pawlenty or (Rob) Portman."
When respondents were asked for any additional thoughts on Ryan, most responded with some critique of the electoral map and where he would gain the most ground for the GOP.
Some suggested his pick would lock up Wisconsin, which has recently been a Democratic presidential state. Some thought it would also help in Ohio and Pennsylvania. And another thought it could help as far away as Florida.
"I believe it will deliver Wisconsin, as well as blue collar state of Ohio and even Florida because of the Ryan plan," the respodent said.
The Red Palmetto 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 Republican activists, party leaders and elected officials in South Carolina. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this week's questions. Surveys were conducted on Aug. 11, 2012.
Patch will be conducting Red Palmetto and Blue Palmetto surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in South Carolina. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in a weekly survey that lasts just a few minutes, please email Regional Editor Chris Winston at email@example.com.
Red Palmetto Roster: Aubry Alexander (Charleston City Council-District 9), Thomas Alexander (State Senator), Dean Allen (Tea Party Activist), Charm Altman (President Sea Island Republican Women), Todd Atwater (S.C. Rep. Dist. 87), Preston Baines (conservative activist), Rep. Nathan Ballentine (SC House Dist. 71), Bill Banning, Sr. (Vice-chair, Lexington County Council), Bob Barnwell (Richland Co. GOP Spring Valley), Joseph Bates, Jr. (Committeeman/ Richland Co. GOP Dutch Fork), Gresham Barrett (Former U.S. Congressman, current consultant), Eric Bedingfield (State Rep/Congressional Staffer), Rick Beltram (Former Spartanburg GOP Chair), Lin Bennett (Chair, Charleston County GOP), Rich Bolen (Chair, Lexington County GOP), Andrew Boucher (Business consultant and political advisor), Phillip Bowers (Chairman, Pickens County Republican Party), Dan Bracken (President, The Auction Co. & Real Estate Inc.), Edward Britt (Engineer), Joe Bustos (Former town councilman), Jay Byars (Dorchester County councilman), Bob Call (Berkeley County Councilman), Tim Callanan (Berkeley County GOP Chairman), Earl Capps (Blogger), Ed Carter (Small business owner), Erica Christian (Chairwoman of Young Upstate Republicans) Ben Coakley (Investment adviser), Edward Cousar (Executive Director, Black Republican PAC), M. Todd Cullum (Lexington County Council member), Rep. Joe Daning (Statehouse rep.), Patrick Donlon (Chair, Northern District, Lexington County Republican County), Dana Eiser (Lowcountry 9.12 president), Linda Eiser (9/12 conservative), Scott Farmer (Richland County GOP Committeeman), Chip Felkel (Political Consultant), Will Folks (Editor, fitsnews.com; spokesman for former Gov. Mark Sanford), Leland Glen (Author), Chris Godbey (Political Consultant), Susan Grady (Republican activist), Randy Halfacre (Mayor of Lexington), Dan Hamilton (State Representative), Larry Hargett (Dorchester County Council chairman), Gaye Holt (4th District Director for the SC Federation of Republican Women), Kathy Hughes (President of Mt. Pleasant 912), Val Hutchinson (Richland County Council), Johnny Jeffcoat (Town of Lexington Economic and Community Catalyst; Lexington County Council member), Debbie Jones (9.12 Board Member), Joanne Jones (Republican activist), Grayson Kelly (Fundraiser), James Kinard (Banker, Chair, Lexington County Council), Todd Kincannon (Lawyer/former executive director of SC Republican Party), Bob Kouvolo (President/ MaxPt), Jim Lee (S.C. Senate candidate), Mickey Lindler (Chairwoman for Republicans of Lexington and Richland Counties), Chris Mann (City Councilman), Karen Martin (Organizer/Spartanburg Tea Party), Larry Martin (State Senator), Taft Matney (Conservative Political Consultant), James Metts (Lexington County Sheriff), Matt Moore (Executive Director for SC GOP), Susan Morris (Nonprofit executive director), Mike Murphee (Charleston Tea Party chairman), Deborah Myers (Political activist), Brent Nelsen (Professor of Political Science/former candidate for Supt. of Education), Don Nye (Bank employee), Allen Olson (Former Chairman of Columbia TEA Party), Walt Owens (University Professor), Randy Page (President,South Carolinians for Responsible Government), Gregory Pearce (Richland Co. Councilman), Kathy Perry (Charleston County Republican Women), Adam Piper (SC GOP 3rd Vice Chairman & political director for Huntsman campaign), Zach Pippin (GOP Media Consultant), Barbara Pulicicchio (Political activist), Rick Quinn (S.C. Rep. Dist. 69), Jeff Reuer (Vice Chair Goose Creek 9-12), DeLinda Ridings (SC GOP State Secretary/Huntsman campaign), Robby Robbins (Lawyer), Emily Rudolph (Sea Island Republican Women), LaDonna Ryggs (Spartanburg GOP Chair), Michael Sally (Hanahan City Councilman), Dennis Saylor (Chair, Aiken GOP), Lanneau Siegling (State Executive Committeeman), Billy Simons (Conservative activist), Garry Smith (State Rep), John Steinberger (Fair Tax activist), Alex Stroman (SCGOP Political Director), Shell Suber (VP for Public Affairs and Business Development at The Felkel Group, a political public relations company), Mary Ann Taylor (Charleston County Republican Women/Charleston County School Board), Hope Walker (Member Services Director, SCGOP), September Wellborn (State GOP Delegate), Jennifer Willis (County Councilwoman/ V.P. One Tree Hill), Henry Wilson (conservative political activist), Kerry Wood (Consultant, former SC Campaign manager for Rick Santorum) Cheryl Woods-Flowers (Former mayor, Republican official), James David Woodard (Professor of Political Science, Clemson University).