Paul Ryan

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, speaks during his weekly press conference on Thursday, Oct. 26, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Andrew Harnik

No one was more responsible for the political advancement of Donald Trump than Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House and the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee who was supposedly the embodiment of responsible Republicanism when Trump came on the scene in 2015.

Ryan’s steadfast refusal to reject the billionaire’s candidacy — even as the Wisconsin Republican griped about the New Yorker’s extreme statements — sent a signal that Trump was acceptable to party elites. Ryan's party-over-principles position provided essential aid and comfort to Trump throughout the campaign, and the speaker has been just as loyal since Trump was sworn in Jan. 20.

But this loyalty has come at a cost.

The national YouGov/Economist poll puts disapproval of Ryan at over 50 percent, while it finds that barely a third of Americans actually approve of the job the speaker is doing.

It’s just as bad in Wisconsin, where Ryan’s “yes-man” act has rendered him less popular than the president he serves.

A new Public Policy Polling survey of Wisconsin voters finds that 40 percent approve of Trump, while 52 percent disapprove. Ryan’s approval rating is now at just 35 percent, while his 51 percent disapproval rating parallels that of the president.

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That means that, while Trump’s down 12 points in the approval-versus-disapproval measure, Ryan’s down 16 points. 

John Nichols is associate editor of The Capital Times. jnichols@madison.com and @NicholsUprising

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Associate Editor of the Cap Times