Do the conventions really matter?

One thing this clear Democratic advantage in Convention bounce suggests to me is that, hey, maybe, all this PR, speechifying, and political pomp and circumstance really matters.  By any objective metric the Democratic convention was more successful than the Republican convention.  On the penultimate night Clinton gave a speech that won raves, while Paul Ryan gave a speech that gave endless fact-checks.  Michelle Obama at her best out-classes Ann Romney.  Barack Obama on his B game outclasses Romney on his A game.  An empty chair that says nothing is much better than having everybody talk about Clint Eastwood the next day.  You get the picture.  Pretty much all the “neutral” pundits agreed that the Democrats had a tighter, better-scripted, better speeches, convention.  And, the evidence seems pretty clear that the party benefited from this.

At this point, I think the debates offer far and away the biggest potential to shake up the race.  If I were Obama or Romney I’d preparing like my political life depended upon it, because it very well may.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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