Gallup Poll: Romney Acceptance Speech Gets Lowest Ratings of Any Gallup Has Measured Since 1996

A new Gallup Poll basically finds that the Republican Convention proved a wash to most voters — and that Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s Presidential speech got the lowest ratings of any nomination speech Gallup has measured since 1996.

Last week’s Republican National Convention had a minimal impact on Americans’ self-reported voting intentions, with just about as many saying the convention made them less likely to vote for Mitt Romney as say it made them more likely to vote for him.

These results, based on Gallup Daily tracking conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 1, showed predictable partisan differences. Republicans overwhelmingly said the convention made them more likely to vote for Romney, although most would likely be voting for their nominee anyway. Democrats as predictably said the convention made them less likely to vote for Romney. Independents, a key group in any presidential election, were essentially split, with 36% saying the convention made them more likely to vote for Romney and 33% less likely — although 30% said they don’t know or that the convention made no difference.

Gallup has asked this question after selected conventions going back to 1984. Although the question was asked at differing time intervals after the conventions and in different survey contexts, the results give a rough approximation of the conventions’ relative impact.

This historical context shows that the 2012 GOP convention generated about the same impact as the two previous Republican conventions — in 2008, when John McCain was nominated for president, and in 2004, when George W. Bush was re-nominated.

And on Romney’s speech, which many new and old media Republican analysts have been saying laid out his case for being President and helped redefine him and made him stronger as a candidate?

Romney’s acceptance speech this year scored low by comparison to previous convention speeches going back to 1996. Thirty-eight percent of Americans rated the speech as excellent or good, while 16% rated it as poor or terrible. The 38% who rated the speech as excellent or good is the lowest rating of any of the eight speeches Gallup has tested since Bob Dole’s GOP acceptance speech in 1996.


Obama’s 2008 speech was the most warmly received of the eight speeches Gallup has evaluated using this measure — 58% of Americans rated it as excellent or good. Americans evaluated McCain’s speech in 2008 less positively, but at 47% excellent or good, it was still more highly rated than Romney’s this year.

As is the case for Americans’ evaluations of the conventions’ impact, their evaluations of speeches do not necessarily presage victory in November. Obama’s speech was more highly evaluated in 2008 than McCain’s, and Obama went on to win. Kerry’s and Bush’s 2004 speeches were equally highly evaluated, but Bush won the election.

The bottom line? Gallup says this:

Americans’ immediate reactions to the Republican convention do not by themselves predict who is going to win in November. That is particularly true at this point in the election campaign, given that there is not yet any comparative information from the Democratic convention, which gets underway in Charlotte on Sept. 4.

Still, these preliminary data show that both the self-reported impact of the convention and the evaluation of Romney’s speech are at the bottom of the scale of comparable evaluations from recent conventions.

Gallup Daily tracking data through Sept. 1 show no change in the positioning of the two candidates when Americans are asked for whom they would vote if the election were held today. Thus, Americans’ relatively weak reaction to the Republican convention does not appear to have hurt their likelihood of voting for Romney so far, although it apparently is related to the lack of a typical convention bounce.

Here’s the latest Pollster composite of polls, which shows a virtual tie:

Photo: Maria Dryfhout / Shutterstock.com

15 Comments

  1. I keep seeing articles and polls saying what a clunker Romney is, then I keep seeing that Pollster graph showing him closing the gap. There’s something going on that is being overlooked, and I can’t put my finger on it. I don’t think it’s spending, since Obama was actually outspending Romney while Romney’s percentages were rising. Some of it is conservatives that supported other GOP candidates and are now coming back into the fold, but they would not have been voting for Obama back in March when the gap was the widest.

  2. No bounce, no surprise, since the convention was not exactly a success.

  3. They have been in a deadlock since Romney was the presumptive nominee. Obama has not seen much of a chance since April. Romney has seen his numbers slowly creep up.

    but again… nationwide polling is worthless. Ohio, Florida, and a couple other states are all that really matter. Obama takes Florida and it is effectively over.

  4. @SL
    Here’s the links to key swing states from Pollster.
    http://elections.huffingtonpos.....y-vs-obama
    http://elections.huffingtonpos.....y-vs-obama
    http://elections.huffingtonpos.....y-vs-obama
    http://elections.huffingtonpos.....y-vs-obama
    http://elections.huffingtonpos.....y-vs-obama
    Obama leads in all these swing states. The national polls are meaningless. Lets see what happens if 2000 is repeated. Will Mittens concede after winning the popular vote, but losing the EC?

  5. DaGoat:

    There actually is not much mystery here. A candidate with a pulse and a detailed program would be kicking Obama’s ass at this point, but Romney is a portfolio without a man and he is content to try to get 51 percent of the popular vote without getting specific regarding how he will save the republic from the Islamofascist non-American.

    Making his task additionally difficult, and I will be writing about this in the near future, is that the only chance Romney has is to run a racism-tinged campaign, which he already is doing, because he will gets a miniscule percentage of the minority vote and an insufficient percentage of the independent woman vote. This pretty much leaves angry white men and their wives, and how better to appeal to them?

    As rudi notes, Obama is ahead — and in some cases comfortably so — in most of the key swing states. I will repeat my prediction of several weeks ago: Romney may come close in the popular vote but will get clobbered in an Electoral College landslide.

  6. So Romney didn’t receive a bounce from the convention. Given who he is, his flip-flopping and his policies this doesn’t come as a surprise. The More Likely / Less Likely categories are less interesting than the “No Difference / Don’t Know” category. I’d love to know if those people in the last category have already made up their minds to vote one way or the other and the convention didn’t change their minds or if those people are undecideds. A good category to have had in this would have been “undecided”.

  7. SM, I disagree. The incumbent, especially a charming one that hasn’t had a ‘serious’ screw up has an enormous advantage. People are reluctant to leap from safe three wheel tricycle onto this year’s unknown/untested crazy horse.

  8. Shaun, “A candidate with a pulse and a detailed program would be kicking Obama’s ass at this point…”

    I actually disagree with this. The Republican meme is that Obama is bad for the country and not just economically. However Obama has done a great job in steering the country the last few years given the Republicans’ obstructionism. Americans who don’t buy into the constant Republican whine about Obama falling to create jobs see that the economy IS in much better shape than it was four years ago, that Obama has already created more jobs than Bush did in 8 years. Obama passed the healthcare law. I think Americans like their safety net and are tired of the 1% getting an out-sized portion of the wealth while the 99% work harder and get less. Many Americans see Romney as a rich guy who will do what it takes, include sticking it to those less fortunate and without influence so he can get more money. Many Americans see that Republicans want to dismantle the safety net we’re had the last few generations. Many Americans aren’t as extreme as the Tea Partiers and want more moderate proposals. Many Americans don’t trust Romney.

    I think a detailed program would not help Romney or any Republican at all. There are many excellent reasons to be wary of the Republicans, including not wanting a repeat of the Bush years, and even if a Republican program lied about everything and gave Americans what they “wanted to hear” I’m not sure that many more Americans would change from Obama to Romney. A lot of what Americans like is what the Dems support.

    The only Republican who would be trouncing Obama is a moderate Republican who didn’t sell his soul to the Tea Party. That Republican is not Romney. Even though “many Americans” don’t trust Romney, I don’t know if enough Americans will re-elect Obama.

  9. I’m all for dismantling the electoral college and having the president of the US being elected directly by the people. Even if we changed the rules today and Obama was defeated by the popular vote in November and Romney won, when Obama would have won had the electoral college remained in place.

  10. Me too Stockboy. I think it is just absurd that most of this nation goes ignored by the candidates while the swing states are courted like a reality TV dating show contestant. A fun excercise in absurdity for you. Take the 1.3 million votes that Al Gore won CA by in the 2000 election. Assume those voters lived in other states. See how many electoral votes you can amass by dividing those dem votes into states that were narrowly one by the GOP. See how, without changing which candidate anyone voted for, merely by changing the geography of their vote, how lopsided you can make the victory! Now do it in 2008 using the 1.3 million GOP votes TX had and portion those out to make an electoral landslide for McCain! See how fun this game is.

  11. yeah, make the popular vote more popular. Matter of fact let’s make a chart showing how popular it is.

  12. I, for one, love charts and graphs, Steve. Keep’em coming

  13. “Figures often beguile me,” he wrote, “particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.’-Mark Twain

    And as far as studies go:
    “A research team from Loyola University recently found that people that eat organic food are, on the whole, more likely to be jerks.”- Kendall Erskine

    Can’t wait for the statistics and charts that should accompany this study.

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