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Where’s Romney’s Ryan ‘bounce’? Polls give weak report

Paul Ryan's presence on the GOP presidential ticket has given Mitt Romney a slight boost in the polls – less than Sarah Palin or Joe Biden did for John McCain and Barack Obama four years ago. But Ryan has put new spring in Romney's step, and he's helped loosen Republican wallets.

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Addressing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s provocative suggestion that Romney might not have paid any taxes in recent years due to offshore accounts and other tax-avoidance schemes, Romney finally declared that he had paid a federal income tax rate of at least 13 percent in each of the past 10 years. Still, he refuses to release more than two years’ of tax forms (2010 and 2011).

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The impression left is that Romney has something to hide.

So has Ryan’s presence given the ticket the typical bounce in the polls?

Apparently not, or at least not much.

Gallup’s first cut shows 39 percent of those surveyed rating the Ryan pick as “excellent” or “pretty good” with 42 percent saying it was only “fair” or “poor.”

“In comparison, that’s one of the lower ratings on that scale that we’ve obtained,” says Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor-in-chief. Four years ago, Sarah Palin (46-37 percent) and Joe Biden (47-33 percent) did better when their selection was announced, and the (as it turns out) controversial former governor of Alaska initially had a better favorability rating than Ryan has today.

Polling guru Nate Silver, who writes the FiveThirtyEight blog at the New York Times, notes that a set of 11 new polls gives Romney a net gain of one percentage point potentially attributable to Ryan’s joining the ticket.

“This is a below-average ‘bounce’ for the selection of a vice presidential candidate,” he wrote this week. “In past elections, the bounce has averaged in the neighborhood of 4 percentage points instead.”

By definition, any “bounce” is temporary. And while Romney’s position in most polls pitted against Obama has been improving since he nailed down the GOP nomination, he’s still the underdog, according to Mr. Silver’s calculation: 238 predicted electoral votes to Obama’s 300 (270 needed to win), and a 30.4 percent chance of winning compared to Obama’s 69.6 percent.

But it’s just been a week since Paul Ryan became Mitt Romney’s running mate. A lot can happen in the nine days between now and the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., and a lot more can happen between then and Election Day.

IN PICTURES: On the campaign trail with the Romney/Ryan ticket

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