One of the many developments that pleased the Romney-Ryan campaign and Republicans more generally over the weekend was the size, as well as the enthusiasm, of the crowds. The New York Times noted that “the thunderous reception the Republican ticket received at an evening rally in Wisconsin, with thousands of people filling an outdoor park in here in Waukesha, west of Milwaukee, capped a weekend where Mr. Romney saw the biggest and most enthusiastic crowds of his candidacy.”
The gap in enthusiasm between Democrats and Republicans, which has been evident throughout the campaign, was reflected in the latest Gallup poll. “ Sixty-four percent of Americans say they have given quite a lot of thought to the 2012 presidential election, a slightly lower percentage than Gallup measured in July of 2004 and 2008. But Americans are much more engaged in the current election than in the 2000 election.. . . In most prior election campaigns, Republicans have typically paid a higher level of attention to the election than Democrats. However, the current 13-point Republican advantage is larger than Gallup has measured in recent presidential election years.”
But that poll is about a month old and does not reflect whatever impact Ryan will have on the GOP base. Romney is now the beneficiary of a near-perfect rollout for his VP pick. It will take some time, as it does when any major political event occurs, for voters to soak up the coverage, talk to one another and process the new development. So far, the Romney team has managed to pump up the base while getting, for a GOP ticket, extraordinarily positive coverage. The task ahead is to keep the momentum going up until the convention, deliver knockout speeches and then seal the deal in the debates. Republicans should enjoy these few days — not all of the following will be so encouraging.