For First Time, GOP Convention Makes Party Less Popular

| by Robert Fowler
GOP nominee Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in ClevelandGOP nominee Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland

New polling indicates that the Republican National Convention held in Cleveland was not only a poor attempt to broaden GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's appeal to voters, but was the first convention in history to actually set back popular opinion of a major party before a general election.

On Aug. 1, a new Gallup poll surveyed national adults on whether or not the Republican and Democratic national conventions would make them more likely to vote for either party’s nominee. The results are bad news for Trump, Talking Points Memo reports.

Only 36 percent of respondents said they were more likely to vote for the business mogul following the GOP convention, whereas 51 percent admitted to being less likely. The remaining 13 percent of respondents had no difference of opinion.

Meanwhile, 45 percent of respondents did say they were more likely to vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton after her party convention while 41 percent were less likely. Similar to Trump, 14 percent of respondents had no change in opinion of the former Secretary of State.

These results amount to a net negative of 15 percent of voters being more likely to vote for Trump. This is the first time that a major party nominee has actually dampened their popularity among voters since Gallup began conducting its survey in 1984.

For comparison, the previous bad record for a GOP nominee following their party convention was former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, when he yielded a net positive of two percent of voters being more likely to vote for him.

Clinton also had a historically poor showing for a Democratic nominee, yielding the smallest net positive rating following her party convention, scoring a net positive of 4 percent more voters likely to vote for her. Still, she received a positive bump whereas Trump suffered a major setback in support.

Not only did Trump suffer from a drop in popularity, but the GOP itself took a hit after the party convention. The survey found that only 35 percent of respondents had a more favorable opinion of the Republican Party after its convention, whereas 52 percent came away from the show in Cleveland with a less favorable opinion.

In comparison, 44 percent of respondents were more favorable to the Democratic Party after its convention in Philadelphia, while 42 percent were less favorable.

The two nominees’ speeches appear to have been a pivotal point for how respondents viewed the conventions. The Gallup survey found that only 35 percent of respondents thought Trump’s convention speech was excellent or good, whereas 36 percent deemed it terrible.

In contrast, 44 percent of respondents answered that Clinton gave a speech that ranged from excellent to good while only 20 percent thought it was terrible.

These results mirror the findings of an NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll released on July 26, hot on the heels of the GOP convention. Among Independents, the crucial voting block who help decide the general election, only 30 percent rated Trump’s speech as excellent or good, while 40 percent answered that it was poor or terrible.

The negative reactions to the Republican convention have resulted in a big shift in the general election polls. While Trump had briefly overtaken Clinton in the majority of polls in the timeframe between the GOP convention and the Democratic convention, the former Secretary of State has surged ahead of the business mogul.

Averaging the last eight major polls released since July 27, Real Clear Politics found that Clinton is currently scoring an average 4.4 percent advantage over Trump.

Sources: Gallup, NBC News, Real Clear Politics / Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television/Flickr

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