TAMPA, Fla. -- Republican vice presidential nominee Paul D. Ryan is approaching the biggest moment of his career: his address to the Republican convention and a prime-time national television audience on Wednesday evening at 10 p.m. EDT. If early opinion soundings are correct, his presentation could help sharpen public impressions of the 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman.
When Americans are asked what single word best describes Ryan, the terms conservative, intelligent, good, unknown, and young get the most frequent responses.
That’s the latest finding from the non-partisan Pew Research Center, which conducts frequent independent opinion surveys. According to the national poll, the public is split, roughly evenly, on Ryan. More than a third of respondents volunteer positive descriptions (intelligent, good, energetic, honest and smart). Another third use negative terms (idiot, extreme, phony and scary). And the rest, just over one in four adults, offer more neutral words (conservative, unknown and young).
A clear majority of Republicans — 69% — use positive descriptors, and independents are evenly split. Democrats, unsurprisingly, volunteer negative descriptions.