Speaking of imagining a world led by elves and wizards, Jeffrey Anderson has written up a 2012 Electoral College analysis that is so other-worldly that it might as well refer to the politics of Ansalon:
Among top-tier prospective nominees, Ryan would have the biggest geographical advantage in a race against Obama. To win the presidency, Ryan would just have to win his home state and hold GOP-leaning Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. That would be it: election over, Obama defeated, Ryan’s pen poised to sign the Obamacare-repeal legislation.
Where to start? Ryan isn’t a top-tier prospective nominee. He’s not any kind of prospective nominee. Does anyone seriously believe that the Wisconsin electorate is going to vote for Ryan for President? Assuming that Ryan ran, somehow won the nomination, and managed to run competitively in other swing states (we are once more in elves-and-wizards territory), his identification with Medicare reform would definitely make him unpopular in his home state. This is not a guess. According to a PPP poll from last month, he is increasingly unpopular in his home state after becoming identified with Medicare reform:
The survey finds Ryan with a personal favorability rating of 41%, with 46% unfavorability. In a hypothetical presidential match-up, President Obama leads Ryan by a margin of 50%-43%.
Ryan does benefit a little from being a native, and he runs ahead of some of the other well-known Republicans against Obama, but it isn’t nearly enough to imagine that Ryan could pull Wisconsin into the Republican column. This is one more reason why I don’t understand the enthusiasm in some Republican circles for a Ryan presidential run.
Anderson carefully avoids this problem by citing more favorable numbers from a March PPP poll from Wisconsin:
Ryan’s advantage in Wisconsin as a home-state candidate would fundamentally change the dynamic in that “must win” Democratic state. A Public Policy Polling survey in March showed Ryan having a higher net favorable rating in Wisconsin among independents, among Republicans, and among all respondents, than any other prospective GOP candidate included in the survey. Additionally, Wisconsin borders three other states in play: Michigan, Minnesota, and the important toss-up state of Iowa.
This doesn’t work out very well if there is no advantage for Ryan in Wisconsin. All of this seems to overlook the small problem that Obama will still be from Illinois. There aren’t many modern precedents where the major party nominees hailed from neighboring states, and it’s not clear why putting up a nominee from the same region as the incumbent is actually smart electoral politics.