For GOP pollsters who had hoped that the Republican National Convention would deliver a much-needed "bump" for Republican nominee Mitt Romney's campaign, a new Gallup poll released on Monday comes as a profound disappointment. Last week's RNC Convention had minimal impact on American voters; almost as many said that the RNC made them less likely to vote for Romney as said that it made the more likely to vote for the Republican candidate.
Political scientists often talk about a convention "bump" in the polls, a temporary surge in numbers that can be attribute to the campaign speeches featured at each party's convention, which inject new energy and fundraising momentum into the campaign. Romney and the Republican establishment had surely hoped that after a long and bruising primary season, the RNC would give Romney the perfect platform to showcase his ideas and his personality on national TV, in addition to showing off his vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
But when asked the question, "Does what you saw or read of this week's Republican convention make you more likely or less likely to vote for Mitt Romney?" close to 40% of national polled adults said more likely, while 38% said less likely. Almost 22% said they did not know. Of course, that data was highlight skewed based on partisan leaning. Of Republicans, 83% said the RNC made them more likely to vote for Romney, while 74% said it made them less likely.
But the good news for Romney is these numbers may not say a whole lot. Gallup had been asking a similar question since 1984, and the 2012 GOP convention generated the same impact as that in 2008, when John McCain was nominated, but also in 1004, when George W. Bush was re-nominated and went on to win the election for a second term. Take a look at the following chart, tracking the new impact of each convention since 1984:
In the case of Barack Obama in 2008, it is clear that his convention performance had a big role to play in his success in winning the presidency, but John Kerry also recveived a net 14 point boost at the Democratic convention in 2004, but went on to lose the election to George W. Bush.
Weigh in: Do you think Romney's speech and the RNC Convention will help, hurt, or have zero impact on his election chances in November 2012?