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Influencers: Eastwood, Clinton Highlight Conventions

RI Democrats express more confidence that the convention gave Obama a lift heading into November's election. Republicans say Eastwood’s speech was a help and a hindrance.


The presidential conventions are held not only select each party’s candidate, but also to rally voters just months before the November election. So which convention succeeded more in energizing its base?

In the latest Red Rhody and Blue Rhody poll, Patch asked insiders from both sides of the aisle to assess the impact their convention had on voters and their candidates.

A majority of Democratic insiders felt more confident in their candidate’s chances of winning in November post-convention. Most Republican insiders felt the convention hadn’t changed their minds about their candidate’s chances of winning in November.

The survey was sent to 52 Democrats and 52 Republicans across Rhode Island. Ten Democrats and 14 Republicans responded.

For Democrats, 80 percent of the political insiders surveyed felt more confident in President Barack Obama’s chances of winning a second term after the convention. On the other side, 57 percent of GOP insiders said the outcome of the convention hadn’t changed their mind about Mitt Romney’s chances of winning. Forty-three percent said they were confident in Romney’s chances of winning.

Neither party insiders responded feeling they were less confident in their candidate’s chances of winning after the convention.

So who made the stronger case for why they should be president? We asked this question to both parties. Fifty-five percent of Democrats surveyed strongly agree that President Obama made a strong case for why he should get a second term. Only 45 percent responded they just agree.

Republican insiders were a little more divided on their candidate’s case for being the next president. Only 36 percent strongly agree that Gov. Romney made his case for being the next president. Forty-three percent said they agree. While 7 percent replied they disagree, 7 percent said they strongly disagree, while another 7 percent said they have no opinion.

When asked if their candidate provided specifics on their goals for the next four years and how they would achieve them, 79 percent of Republican insiders responded that they agree Romney supplied them with specifics. Only 7 percent said they strongly agree and 7 percent said they strongly disagree or had no opinion.

Democrats were a little more divided on this question. Fifty-five percent said they agree that President Obama provided specifics on his goals for the next four years and how he would achieve them. Only 9 percent strongly agree. Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed said they disagree with the way the president laid out those specifics and how he would achieve those goals.

When it came to convention speeches, we asked each party if they thought their candidate showed the American people the key differences between him and his opponent. Eighty-two percent of Democratic influencers strongly agree that Obama showed key differences between himself and Romney. Only 18 percent said they just agree.

On the Republican side, just 31 percent of GOP influencers said they strongly agree that Gov. Romney showed key differences between himself and President Obama. However, 54 percent said they agree, while only 8 percent said they strongly disagree. 

So who stole the show at the convention? When we asked Republican influencers in Rhode Island who stood out during the GOP convention, several people replied that actor/direector Clint Eastwood’s speech using the empty chair as Obama was the highlight. However, equal responses came in for Sen. Marco Rubio’s and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's speeches. When we asked Republicans what was the one misstep of the GOP convention, one-third of the responses cited Eastwood’s speech. One respondent said the speech “did not fit in” with the program.

On the Democratic side, 50 percent of the respondents said former President Bill Clinton’s speech was the highlight of the convention, followed by First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech and the President’s address. When asked what was the one misstep of the Democratic convention, responses varied from not having Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak, to Vice President Joe Biden stuttering during his speech. Another respondent stated that there were too many speakers from New England.

Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican and Democratic activisits, party leaders and elected officials in Rhode Island. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this particular survey.

If you are an activist, party leader or elected official, and would like to take part in our surveys that last just a few minutes, please email Regional Editor Rick Couto at rick.couto@patch.com.

Blue Rhody Survey Roster: Frank Hyde, Ted Jendzejec, Scott Guthrie, Gary Cote, Jared Nunes, Patricia Serpa, Kathy Patenaude, Lisa Tomasso, June Speakman, Joy Hearn, Anthony Arico, Mary Gasbarro, Jeffrey Breener, James Sheehan, Raymond Gallison, Louis Dipalma, John Edwards, Michael Sepe, John Lanni, Richard Santamaria, Joseph DeLorenzo, Judi Liner, Candy Seel, Bruce Rogers, Robert DaSilva, Joseph Polisena Frank Lombardo, Jennifer Russo, Carol Costa, Arnie Vecchione, Charles Tsonas, Vimala Phongsavanh, Gregg Amore, Joel Monteiro, Michael Morin, David Barboza, Catherine Tattrie, Kenneth Marshall, Antonio Teixeira, Raymond Gallison, Jan Malik, Marc Dubois, Mark Schwager, Carolyn Mark, Deidre Gifford, Tom Plunkett, Eugene Quinn, Chrissy Rossi, Bud Cicilline, Caroline Stouffer, Lou Raptakis, Stephen Ucci.

Red Rhody Survey Roster: Glenford Shibley, Nicholas Kettle, Carl Mattson, Keith Anderson, Patricia Morgan, john Robitaille, Christopher Ottiano, Jonathan Harris, Steve Primiano, Bill DeWitt, Geoff Grove, Scott Fuller, David bates, Carol Hueston, Jim McGuire, Mark Zaccaria, Joel Johnson, Doreen Costa, Elizabeth Dolan, Robert Carlin, Ronald Warr Jr., Jack Savage, John Ward, Dan Gendron, Halsey Herreshoff, Chris Stanley, Mark Smiley, Marina Peterson, Bryan Palumbo, Joseph Golembeski, Joe Procaccini, Blake Filippi, Eileen Grossman, Mike Stenhouse, Joseph Trillo, Gail Ricky, Dawson Hodgson, Chuck Newton, Michael Isaacs, Jeff Cianciolo, Carl Hoyer, Ted Czech, Joanne Mower, Luisa Abatecola, David Sullivan, Clark Smith, Liz Smith, Mark Gee, Brad Bishop, Peter Costa Jr., Bruce Saccoccio, Mike Chippendale.

BristolGOP September 21, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Agree Housewife. But it goes BEYOND OBAMA, who is really a figurehead of the left, but the WHOLE NETWORK of special-interests and big-government extremists that corrupt the system both nationally and locally. Big Labor, environmental radicals, trial lawyers, and "poverty advocates" (aka the pro-food stamp crowd). Look up something called "The Colorado Model" ... it explains how, through grassroots campaigns and all these marginal groups teaming up, the converted a fairly traditional red/purple state blue! Thus the vocal extreme minority won out. For RI, above-said groups have been running this state for FAR TO LONG. It's time we as voters WAKE UP!
pam September 21, 2012 at 08:10 PM
I am so glad Bernie, Now can you share it with Obama because he keeps trying to lighten our wallets;)
William Brank September 21, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Nard Glimrod, Hate to brake it to you but you are just not on the same side as your liberal god FDR. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xycy1aNZBzc Whats more is we are having a public debate and on the field of battle what does it matter to you where I am from? I have to ask what the hell you are looking me up for? Are you a public sector thug? By all means I would like that rather than this. Getting through your thick liberal skull would be a wee bit easier that way. What a dumb position, with all that is going on, median income accross the country has gone down close to $5k/year and the public sector wants pay increases of over 5% and they get pensions that are today unfunded. Whats worse is they wll collect those pensions and spend them wile living somewhere more affordable, likely in a more conservative area that does a better job protecting private property. That is till they all start voting as a group and it will be all over there too. See VT and soon to be NH... Then there is you asking me to reply to dumb comments you post. Please, show up at my door, it would be easier to reach the pit in your head.
Nard Glimrod September 22, 2012 at 12:27 AM
>> Hate to brake it to you So you have something to "brake" to me, do you, Mr. Dweller of The Nutmeg State? I have something I need to break to you: You didn't answer the questions: 1) Why do you say that "Public sector unions are evil", and 2) Why do you say that they "were never intended"? As far as your kind invitation to show up at your door goes, I must say that I have this image of you sitting in your underwear in your stainless steel trailer in Greenwich, polishing your guns, and worshiping Elvis. (A whole lotta people misunderstood The King, I tell ya....) C'mon, good friend from "The Land of Steady Habits", how 'bout answering the questions?
William Brank September 23, 2012 at 12:33 PM
I heard yesterday action movies do well because of the economy of thought and right off thought of this thread. If you can't think try watching, He did another segment on unions. Try not to cry wile your money leaves your hand. The tax payers have a right to the best deal their money can bring. 2 parts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BduQxAugn4c

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