“[O]n August 11, the day Paul Ryan was announced, Mitt Romney trailed by almost 5 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average of polls,” Kristol observes. “Two weeks later Romney had pulled to within 1 point — his strongest rally of the general election season.”
The addition of Paul Ryan to the Romney ticket has indeed produced a smallish, and apparently fading, bump, according to Nate Silver. In addition to Silver’s caveats, it’s worth noting this: A recent CNN/Opinion Research poll shows President Obama leading Romney by two points among likely voters, but by nine points among registered voters. That’s in line with the most recent Rasmussen daily tracking poll with Obama up by two over Romney, and helps explain the intuitive misapprehension of a Romney-Ryan “surge.”
What these results suggest is that recent polls where Obama held healthy, outside-of-the-margin-of-error leads over Romney were probably illusory. The race has been tight all along, with Obama nursing a narrow advantage (even in weekend polls showing a tighter national race, there are totemic good signs for Obama: his approval rating hit 50 percent).
Paul Ryan has done little if anything to change this fundamental reality.