GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan not getting the Irish support in ancestral home
Irish want Obama /Biden by an incredible 96- 4 per cent says Gallup poll
Aside from failing to personally appeal to the Irish, Ryan has used Ireland as an example of poor economic policy. On his website, Ireland is mentioned eleven times, with “eight as an example of the economic doom facing the United States if it doesn't address its budget deficit and three as a rival to the Cayman Islands as a tax haven threatening American jobs,” reports Reuters.
While the Irish-American vote may not be as vital as it has been in the past, such as it was for President John F. Kennedy, it still carries some weight. Niall O’Dowd, publisher of The Irish Voice and IrishCentral.com, told Reuters that the Irish-American “vote tends to be a bellwether vote. If it swung decisively behind Obama or Romney , it would certainly mean that person would win the election.”
Thus, the “pockets” of Irish Americans in key swing states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio will have a lot of influence on November 6th.
"The Irish Catholic vote went for (Democrat) Bill Clinton. It went narrowly for (Republican John) McCain over Obama. I'd say on this occasion it will be 50-50," O'Dowd told Reuters..
O’Dowd added that Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan, similar to Obama’s choice of Joe Biden, came as an effort to appeal to white Catholics.
Stella O’Leary, head of the lobby group Irish American Democrats, said that as a Republican, Ryan will probably have more difficulty securing the Irish American support than Joe Biden would.
"I find there is a kind of mild embarrassment on the half of Irish Americans who are Republicans," O’Leary said. "They would all have originally have been Democrats, so the question is when did they change. Was it when they got a few dollars?"
Reuters explained that, “The Republicans' strongest card among Irish Catholics is their social conservatism, something used by Ronald Reagan, the most successful Republican in mobilizing the Irish vote.”
However, social issues haven’t taken the forefront in 2012’s election.
"It's really all about Ohio. Both candidates are looking to gain footing any way that they can," said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell, who said working-class Irish American Catholics were one group being targeted.
Similarly, O’Leary’s group of Irish American Democrats is also focused on Ohio and is targeting Cuyahoga County, described as a bellwether Irish area in a state where the election could be decided.
Rick Barrett, a retired anti-drugs officer, had informed Ryan’s campaign about the connection he made between Paul Ryan and his great-great grandparents’ home of Graiguenamanagh. The campaign staff, however, didn’t feel the information was necessary.
"He's [Ryan] a numbers guy. He's concentrating on the future of the country, but maybe he's concentrating on that too much," Barrett said. "Maybe needs to shake hands, pat a few backs and have a pint or two at an Irish bar."
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