Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has said he’s shifting focus from protecting Republican nominee Donald Trump to getting more Republicans, including Wisconsin Republicans, into Washington, D.C. offices. But thanks to his previous squabbles with Trump, he must be careful in how he provides such support.
Instead of actually campaigning with his Wisconsin Republicans, Ryan, smartly, has been providing other services for them.
A plummeting net favorability among Republicans has been dogging Ryan. The most recent YouGov/Economist poll found Ryan’s net favorability among those in his own party fell 28 points, from a +23 percent favorability to a -5 percent non-favorable view of the speaker.
The view is even more bleak among Trump supporters. Ryan’s net favorability among this subset of Republicans fell 44 points from a +8 favorability to a -36 non-favorable view of Ryan.
That is a precipitous fall.
But even with those numbers, Ryan is still the speaker and carries considerable political clout in Wisconsin and on a national scale. The same poll found that even Republicans, 39 percent of whom view Ryan as their party’s leader, marginally more than Trump, who commands 37 percent.
The support he can offer candidates, therefore, must vary based on whether they’re running in a Trump stronghold or not. Ryan’s primary focus has been holding the seat of retiring Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wis. Residing in Wisconsin’s District 8, which includes the Green Bay area, this has been a core region of Trump supporters. A survey of the Green Bay media market found that Trump leads former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the region by 16 points.
In this case, the only option Ryan has is giving Wisconsin Republicans greater access to his sizable war chest, Ryan for Congress. This past week, Ryan transferred $250,000 from Ryan for Congress to the Wisconsin Republican Party, bringing his total donation to the group to $1 million. That’s no chump change.
Aaron Reilly ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in social work and economics.