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article imageOp-Ed: Convention winners — Will it lead to a win in November?

By Greta McClain     Sep 8, 2012 in Politics
Now that the national political conventions are over, political pundits and average citizens now debate who was the big winner, Democrats or Republicans. The question also arises as to whether the convention winner will also win at the ballot box.
The battle of the convention winner is debatable. It is always going to be a matter of opinion. However, there are some specifics that can be looked at to determine who fared better in various categories. When looking at the purpose of the conventions, besides officially nominating the party's candidate, the goal is to gain votes and contributions. The more diverse you are, the more ways you can reach people, the more charismatic and convincing you are, the greater your chances become at gaining both votes and contributions, especially among independent and undecided voters.
As various media outlets panned the crowd at the Democratic National Convention viewers saw young people, seniors and everyone in between. Members of the Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern and Native American communities were shown throughout the crowd. The Huffington Post reports that the 2012 Democratic Convention set a record for the number of gay and lesbian delegates, more then 8 percent of the total number of delegates.
Shots of the crowd throughout the Republican National Convention showed largely white, middle aged male and female delegates.
There were 47 African-American out of a total of 2,286 delegates at the Republican National Convention according to New American Media. Of the 5,551 delegates at the Democratic National Convention, 1,452 African-American.
America is known as a melting pot, full of diverse populations. With independent voters now representing 40% of the voting population according to a C-Span interview with Gallop editor-in-chief Frank Newport and as Linda Killian points out in her book The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents, appealing to a diverse group of Americans could prove to be critical in the 2012 election.
Star Power
Clint Eastwood shown in action during his unscripted  12-minute empty chair  talk  at the Republican...
Clint Eastwood shown in action during his unscripted, 12-minute empty chair "talk" at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.
Screenshot via Video
Although some comedians may have thought they had golden joke material dropped in the palm of their hand when Clint Eastwood began a conversation with an empty chair at the Republican National Convention, the tactic got people's attention. Eastwood is a super star celebrity known world wide, and as The Wrap points out, his speech is one that will most likely be remembered and talked about for many, many years to come.
He may not be a Hollywood super star, but former President Bill Clinton is a star in his own right. His line about how he managed to have a budget surplus each year he was in office is likely one that will also be remembered and talked about for a long time to come. With Clinton's overall approval rating at 66 percent according to a July Gallop Poll, and his approval rating among independents being 62 percent, he very well could be the key to a win for Democrats in November.
President Bill Clinton speaking at Democratic National Convention:  I want Barack Obama to be the ne...
President Bill Clinton speaking at Democratic National Convention: "I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party."
Media Pool
Social Media
Social Media and it's role in national politics is well documented and it's importance continues to grow according to a San Francisco Chronicle article. The Atlantic Wire shows that Obama and the Democrats won the speech contest on twitter overwhelmingly. Twitter's Political Index also shows Obama has a commanding lead following the conventions. What it does not show however is whether the conversations were in favor of Obama or critical of him.
A graph showing the number of tweets per minute during speeches (source The Atlantic Wire)
A graph showing the number of tweets per minute during speeches (source The Atlantic Wire)
On Facebook, Obama has 28,404,135 likes compared to Romney's 6,505,336. Romney is winning as who is talking about him, with 3.3 million mentions compared to 3.1 million for Obama. It does not indicate whether the mentions are positive or negative however.
On YouTube, Obama has 221,485 subscribers compared to 17,578 for Romney.
There are few occasions when an audience can be captivated and even entertained by any policy speech, especially one that lasts nearly 45 minutes. Clinton however managed what was seemingly impossible. With the buzz that Obama's speech created, one would be hard pressed to argue that he did not get a message across. Whether that message was good or bad is yet to be decided.
Media outlets in the US as well as around the world noticed one message that was glaringly missing from Romney's speech. Whether the absence of an acknowledgement to the troops in Afghanistan is a message or not is up for debate. Criticism by many, including Fox News, of Ryan's often times inaccurate and misleading speech may have also sent a message to voters.
Memorable Moments
Gabby Giffords walks on stage at 2012  Democratic National Convention
Gabby Giffords walks on stage at 2012 Democratic National Convention
Screen Capture
Once again, how can anyone forget Eastwood's "conversation" with an empty chair. That most certainly will be an image that anyone who saw it will remember. Preparations for Isaac ahead of the Republican convention and news coverage of the storm making landfall in the gulf will also be remembered. As memorable as Eastwood and Isaac may be, the star of either convention has to Rep. Gabby Giffords. Her spirited Pledge of Allegiance was emotional, inspirational and epitomized what courage and determination is all about.
Depending on ones political party affiliation or tendencies, the argument as to who got their message across better and who "won" the convention battle will be debated. With various polls showing Obama and Romney in basically a dead heat, the November election could very well come down to those independent voters, the memorable moments, and an appeal to a diverse group of voters. If that is indeed the case, I believe the Democrats are the clear winners.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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