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In U.S. convention battle, Obama comes out on top: polls

U.S. President Barack Obama waves at a campaign event at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Florida, September 8, 2012.


A better convention, stronger speeches, and a bigger bounce.

If the Democratic Party convention seemed like a better-staged event which more American voters connected with, a new poll of American voters confirms it.

The Gallup poll released Monday showed that viewers rated the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina slightly more favourably than the Republican national convention a week earlier.

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The poll also showed that 43 per cent of Americans saw President Barack Obama's speech as "excellent" or "good" while 38 per cent said the same about Mitt Romney's speech accepting the Republican party's nomination as presidential candidate.

Most importantly for the Obama re-election campaign, the convention delivered a greater 'bounce' – the uptick in poll numbers that campaigns hope to enjoy as a result of a highly staged multi-day political event for prime-time TV viewers.

The seven-day rolling poll average – which included two days of polling following the end of the Democratic convention – showed Mr. Obama leading Mr. Romney 49 per cent to 44 per cent. A week ago, it was Mr. Romney leading Mr. Obama by one point. The last time the Obama campaign enjoyed a five-point lead was back in June.

It is no 16-point bounce enjoyed by candidate Bill Clinton 20 years ago following the convention in New York. But it is a better bounce than the one seen following the Republican national convention at the end of August this year.

The former Massachusetts governor was widely seen as having benefited from a single-point bounce following the Republican convention in Tampa Bay, Florida.

The President's job approval rating also saw a spike following the convention – peaking at 52 per cent approval – the highest it has been since the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

"Neither of the 2012 national conventions measured up to some of their predecessors – in terms of reported viewership, ratings of the nominees' acceptance speeches, or impact on Americans' voting choice," according to Gallup's analysis.

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"However, with it looking like Obama will receive a post-convention bounce in support, while Romney did not, it could be argued that the Democratic Convention was the more successful of the two."

But it's not all good news for the Obama campaign, as poll points out. His Charlotte speech was viewed significantly less favourably than his acceptance speech four years ago in Denver, Colorado – and 38 per cent felt that his speech made them less likely to vote for the President.

"Obama's 2012 acceptance speech ranks on the lower end of nomination speeches according to Americans' post-convention evaluations, while his 2008 speech is the most positively rated in Gallup's records," according to Gallup's analysis.

And if it felt like former president Bill Clinton's speech last week overshadowed Mr. Obama's speech the following night, the poll numbers confirm it: 56 per cent viewed Mr. Clinton's speech as "excellent" or "good."

The overall bounce for the Obama campaign is matched by a similar poll released Sunday by Reuters/Ipsos showing a four-point Obama advantage from the Charlotte convention.

A CNN/ORC poll released Monday showed Mr. Obama had a six-point advantage over his opponent following the DNC, with 52 per cent of likely voters ready to back Mr. Obama compared to 46 per cent for Mr. Romney.

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National polls only tell part of the story. A poll by the Democratic Party-leaning Public Policy Polling of Ohio residents over a three-day period following the Charlotte convention showed Mr. Obama leading Mr. Romney by five points.

Ohio is seen as a must-win for Mr. Romney because no GOP candidate has won the White House without carrying the state.

The Obama campaign can also take some comfort in the latest fundraising numbers. After three months of being out-paced by Republicans, the Obama campaign and its supporters edged-out their rivals by raising $114-million compared to just over $111-million. The Romney campaign and its supporters are still on pace to raise more money than their rivals in this general election campaign.

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About the Author

Affan Chowdhry is the Globe's multimedia reporter specializing in foreign news. Prior to joining the Globe, he worked at the BBC World Service in London creating international news and current affairs programs and online content for a global audience. More


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