The first polls taken since last week's Republican National Convention show that not only is Mitt Romney failing to get the typical post-convention "bounce," his acceptance speech might be the most poorly received of all-time. The latest Gallup Poll released on Monday says that Thursday's speech received the lowest marks from voters than any convention speech since they started asking the question in 1996. Only 38 percent of those surveyed rated it as "good" or "excellent", compared to 47 percent for John Mcain in 2008 and 49 percent for President Bush in 2004.
Even worse news for Romney is that while 40 percent of respondents said the speech made them more likely to vote for the Republican, a full 38 percent said the speech made them less likely to vote for him. According to Gallup, that two point "net impact" is the worst number of any speech, from either party, since 1984. (For comparison, Barack Obama was +14 in 2008. George W. Bush was +3 in 2004, but went on to be re-elected.) While Republicans were obviously big fans and Democrats were highly critical of it, independents were essentially split down the middle by Romney's big moment, suggesting the convention had little measurable impact on the eventual outcome of this race.
While post-convention polls measure the immediate reaction to the speech, and don't necessarily reflect how the vote will go in November, both parties are used to seeing a spike in the polls following the week-long commercial that is the national convention. However, there might be some evidence that the convention bump doesn't really exist anymore. Longer election cycles and 24-hour cable channels have softened the impact of the conventions, and the numbers seem to show that more and more voters made up their minds a long time ago.
Gallup's daily tracking poll shows that the two candidates are in a virtual dead heat among likely voters — just as they have been since the beginning of the summer. Other polls have shown a slight uptick for Romney in the last couple days (another poll by Public Policy Polling focused only on Florida, but also showed no change), but overall trends have generally remained flat. Nationwide polls have had Romney and Obama separated by just a few points for most of the year and the RNC didn't change that. We'll have to wait until the numbers come in after the Democratic National Convention before anyone can declare the "convention bounce" to be dead. But for one party at least, it seems the convention just isn't what it used to be.