Paul Ryan is the most liked candidate in this year’s presidential race and his addition to Mitt Romney’s campaign has vaulted the Romney/Ryan ticket into the lead, according to a new poll of 12 swing states.

The August PurpleStrategies of 12 swing states (including Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin) shows Romney/Ryan beating Obama/Biden 47 percent to 46 percent. In July, the very same poll showed Obama beating Romney 47 percent to 45 percent. More importantly, PurpleStrategies polls of Ohio and Virginia both show Romney/Ryan pulling ahead of Obama in these key swing states. Obama was ahead 48/45 in Ohio and 46/44 in Virginia. But now Romney/Ryan is winning in both states by 46/44 and 48/45 margins respectively. Other highlights from the poll include:

  • The Romney-Ryan ticket is fueled by an 11-point advantage among independents. This represents an increase from July, when Romney held a 5-point margin over Obama among that key group.
  • At 45% to 39%, Paul Ryan is the only member of either major party ticket who currently has higher favorables than unfavorables. Independents have an overall 46%/37% favorable opinion of him.
  • Romney’s personal image appears to have improved following the announcement: rising from a net -8 to just a net -3.
  • By a 3-point margin, Purple state voters believe that Romney and Ryan have a better plan “to reduce the deficit, create jobs, and get the economy moving again” (46% to 43%). This advantage is substantially larger among independents: 48% to 34%.
  •  Just 29% believe that the economy is getting better.
  • By a 6-point margin, voters in these key swing states believe that Romney and Ryan are more likely “to bring real change to Washington,” a margin that is +17 among independents.

Campaign 2012
Obama: Former Obama campaign co-chair Artur Davis and the nation’s first elected African-American governor Doug Wilder both condemned Vice President Joe Biden’s invocation of slavery yesterday while Obama stood firmly behind his VP. “It’s a divisive tactic that’s insulting to African Americans,” Davis told CNN. “Without question they were appeals to race,” Wilder added. Meanwhile, in a hard hitting interview with Entertainment Tonight, Obama excused Biden’s remarks, “Most folks know that’s just sort of a WWF wrestling part of politics.”

Romney: Romney campaigned in Charlotte, North Carolina, Wednesday where he raised $1.5 million and attacked Obamacare for cutting more than $700 billion from Medicare.

In Other News
Associated Press, Economic recovery is weakest since World War II: An Associated Press analysis shows that by just about any measure, the recovery that began in June 2009 is the weakest since World War II.

Associated Press, Judge won’t halt Pa. voter identification law: A tough new voter identification law championed by Republicans can take effect in Pennsylvania for November’s presidential election, a judge ruled Wednesday, despite criticism that it will suppress votes among President Barack Obama’s supporters.

The New York Times, Illegal Immigrants Line Up by Thousands for Deportation Deferrals: Tens of thousands of young illegal immigrants waited excitedly in lines as long as a mile and thronged to information sessions across the country on Wednesday, the first day that a federal immigration agency began accepting applications for deportation deferrals that include permits to work legally.

The Wall Street Journal, California’s Boom Masks State’s Uneven Recovery: California added jobs faster than the rest of the nation over the past year, but for a broad swath of residents, it is a lot less golden and is likely to stay that way.

The Washington Post, Virginia surplus will fund bonuses for state workers: Virginia finished its fiscal year June 30 with a $448.5 million surplus through a combination of higher-than-projected revenues and agency cost-cutting, putting the state far enough into the black to give a 3 percent bonus to state workers who have not had a pay raise in five years.

The Los Angeles Times, Gov. Jerry Brown formally kicks off tax hike campaign: Gov. Jerry Brown kicked off his campaign for Proposition 30, a measure that would temporarily increase sales taxes and income taxes for the wealthy to stave off state budget cuts.

Righty Playbook
A new Reason Foundation study finds that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s pet rail project, the XpressWest/DesertXpress, is likely to fail, costing taxpayers $6.5 billion.

The Heritage Foundation‘s Lachlan Markay reports that rural utilities created zero jobs with $47 million in stimulus funding.

National Review‘s Patrick Brennan exposes CNN’s Soledad O’Brien’s Obama campaign talking points.

Lefty Playbook
The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent reports that since Democrats have lost the argument that Ryan will destroy Medicare for those over 55, they will now attack Ryan for repealing the new Medicare benefits included in Obamacare.

Daily Kos‘ Joan McCarter says Democrats should be attacking Ryan’s Medicaid cuts instead.

Romney’s mouth is moving so The Washington Monthly‘s Ed Kilgore is accusing him of racism.