Bill Kristol gushes over the “Romney-Ryan rally”

Everyone knows vice presidential candidates don’t matter. Except that on August 11, the day Paul Ryan was announced, Mitt Romney trailed by almost 5 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. Two weeks later Romney had pulled to within 1 point​—​his strongest rally of the general election season.

Nate Silver reminds us:

What’s clearer is that Mr. Romney did not get as large a bounce in the polls from his vice-presidential pick as most past candidates have [bold mine-DL] — a fact that can arguably be read as a bearish sign for him.

To the extent that there was a “Romney-Ryan rally,” it already seems to be fading. The Palin selection managed to boost McCain and temporarily give him a lead in the RCP average for a week or so in early September. Two weeks later, the Ryan selection has not even managed to do that for Romney. Using the same RCP measure, McCain went from being 3.9 points behind on August 29 (the day of the Palin announcement) to taking a 2.9 point lead in eleven days. Fifteen days after the VP announcement, McCain was fading but still slightly ahead. So far, Ryan has given the Republican ticket less of a boost than Palin. Compared to the position McCain-Palin enjoyed two weeks after their VP announcement, Romney-Ryan has fallen short.

Everyone knows that every nominee receives some sort of boost from the selection of his running mate. Romney’s gain from his selection of Ryan has been below-average. This contradicts the hype and the forced enthusiasm for the ticket that Ryan’s selection provoked, but it seems to be true. Who would have guessed that selecting an obscure House member with a specialty in budget issues was not a cure-all for what ailed the Romney campaign?