Election 2016

Trump's Republican Convention Was the Opposite of Effective

Gallup poll finds 51 percent of respondents less likely to vote Trump based on the RNC.


Gage Skidmore / Foter

At this point in the presidential race, national polls still aren't terribly predictive, as Stephanie Slade noted earlier today. But we're getting closer to the point in time in which they will be. And in the meantime, even beyond the polls showing that Trump's bump may have already disappeared, other indicators suggest that Trump fared unusually poorly at this year's Republican National Convention (RNC).

For example, Gallup found last week that Donald Trump's acceptance speech at the RNC was the most poorly recieved in 20 years, with just 35 percent of Americans saying it was good or excellent. As a comparison, 58 percent of Americans gave a good or excellent rating to Barack Obama's acceptance speech in 2008, while 44 percent gave good marks to Hillary Clinton's speech this year, with just 20 percent saying it was poor or terrible.

Not only did Americans not like Trump's speech, they weren't exactly moved by the convention as a whole. The same Gallup poll found that 51 percent of respondents said that what they heard, read, and saw about convention made them less likely to vote for Trump, while just 36 percent said it made them more likely.

Gallup has asked this question since 1984, and it's the only time a majority has come away from any convention, Republican or Democratic, saying that they were less likely to vote for the candidate. It's the worst showing in three decades.

Hillary Clinton's reviews weren't exactly wildly enthusiastic either: 41 percent said the Democratic convention made them less likely to vote for her, which would be a record high, if not for Trump's showing. But 45 percent said they were more likely to vote for her. Unlike Trump, Clinton's numbers weren't upside down.

Trump has, of course, bragged that he won the viewership battle: And it's true that more people watched his speech than watched rival Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech a week later. But if Gallup's poll is accurate, it seems to have been more of a turn off than a selling point.

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  1. We get it, you’re proudly voting Hillary.

    1. Pretty soon every article he writes will just say “Trump sucks”.

  2. Suderman can’t resist throwing in a dig at Hillary in a Trump article. Typical.

    1. You make jokes. I like jokes. Keep it up funny guy.

  3. As if people will remember either of them in the coming months.

  4. Trump had his highest poll numbers right after the RNC, so I don’t buy into it being a negative for him. Hillary had a similar bump. I think the RNC/DNC will make no difference in the long run. People have already forgotten about it. The attention span of Americans is about one hour long, at best.

    1. I think the RNC/DNC will make no difference in the long run.

      Me neither. At this point, conventions can only make a downside difference, and only if they (a) go off the rails and (b) it gets reported on.

      By that standard, both conventions were equally successful, and will be a non-factor.

  5. It’s important to note that many of the people saying “more” or “less” likely were already planning to vote one way or the other. Trump’s poll numbers did improve after the convention, with the most likely explanation being that he consolidated support among Republicans (he had been pretty low in a lot of polls in his % of the Republican vote, which improved after the convention), but didn’t improve his standing with swing and other voters.

  6. That’s weird, because the polls sure moved in the immediate aftermath of the convention in swing states.

  7. John, are you here?

    What’s the Contratrump Count at now?

    1. I did a count last Friday of articles post-convention. It came out as 5x more articles critical of Trump the day after his convention, and 2X more articles critical of Trump than Hillary the day after the other convention.

      Just validating my sense that Reason prefers to Hillary to Trump.

      Now, if they could only make a case for why Hillary is preferable to Trump . . . .

      1. I don’t think Reason necessarily prefers Hilary to Trump. I think that the Trump articles get more traffic. Reason is just pursuing the more interesting topic.

        1. Could be, waffles, could be.

          Which would make Reason the Gawker of politics – an unprincipled clickbait factory, and little more.

          I actually prefer my theory, because I’m not that annoyed with Reason.

          1. Or maybe, the number of articles doesn’t have dick to do with who they actually support, and the entire theory is the stupid delusion of people who are butthurt that Hillary’s not getting insulted more.

            The choir demands to be preached to!

      2. She’s going to destroy the nation more quickly, so that we can finally get to the libertarian moment? There’s at least some logic in that. Other than that, I have no idea.

      3. Maybe Reason writes more articles critical of Trump because there are more things about Trump to be critical about.

        1. Alternatively, maybe Trump says stupid shit every other day, and Hillary keeps her mouth shut. Wisely following the advice of Napoleon not to interrupt your enemy when he is destroying himself.

      4. Really tough case! Heck, Obama was preferable to Hillary. I was very relieved when he schlonged her out of the nomination in 2008.

    2. John’s not here, man.

  8. The convention and Trump’s speech were so bad that he passed Hillary in the polls and in several swing states that week.

    A poll a week later where 51 percent said they didn’t like his speech is pointless. Those 51 percent weren’t going to vote for him anyway.

    Trump riled up his base. They’re going to turn out.

    Trump appealed to undecided voters, and made Clinton seem more crooked and less in touch with their concerns than he is.

  9. Matt and Nick are probably storming around the Reason offices right now, cracking whips over the heads of the poor staffers. ”There’s only been like 5 Trump stories today! What’s wrong with you people?, you’re worthless and weak! Is that a Twisted Sister pin, on your uniform! Get busy with MOAR TRUMP RIGHT NOW!’. TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP *SNAP* *SNAP* *SNAP*

  10. A pic of Smug Trump instead on Angry Trump. Where’s puppy-dog Sad Trump?

    1. There is only mean, Hitler like, sexist, racist, xenophobe Trump. All other Trumps are fake.

    2. Trying to figure out where the Hugo Awards convention is being held this year.

    3. Hitler!, relaxing with a dog.


  11. Reason


  12. The Gallup lead in the link is that Trump and Clinton now have identical favorable and unfavorable ratings. That seems to be a bit more significant than what people thought of the convention.

    1. That was pre-DNC. They released another rating today that had Clinton at 42/54.

      1. That improvement is barely outside the margin of error. Also, it is a poll of all adults not even registered voters much less likely voters. So, I don’t really see how it has any relevance to the election. At this point if the poll isn’t of people likely to vote, who really cares what it says?

        1. A difference between -21 and -12 is pretty significant.

          Better than looking at one poll would be to look at averages. RCP’s average (which doesn’t include the updated Gallup poll) has Clinton at -14.3 and Trump at -18.9

          Huffington Post’s average (obviously HuffPo doesn’t like Trump, but from what I’ve seen their polling aggregators just seem to plug in every poll they come across on a subject, along with a formula to adjust for trends) is Clinton -13.3 and Trump -17.5 (so very similar to RCP and actually slightly more favorable for Trump).

        2. Who knows who’s likely to vote in 2016? I’m serious. I think “likely voters” results are going to be way off this year.

        3. …in which John COMPLETELY changes his mind about the validity of polls in back-to-back posts.

    2. The DJIA is approaching an all-time high. The gamblers are factoring in a Clinton win. They did pay for it, after all.

  13. That’s not a meaningful poll. It’s more or less derived directly from his approval rating given the currently polarized political landscape.

  14. Reason is accumulating a dangerous number of writers whose articles don’t need to be read to determine their content. Ah Dalmia, Chapman, Richman, and Suderman, don’t ever change.

  15. Hillary’s just packing them in with her post convention tour.

    1. At some point, voter motivation is going to come into play. For example in late July of 2014, Nate Silver had the Senate listed as a toss up. Eventually, he came around to giving the Republicans a 3/4 shot of taking the Senate. The question is what really changed between August and November that caused the polls to change enough to get Silver to change his mind? The answer I think is the superior motivation of the Republican voters finally started to show. Republicans really wanted to vote and Democrats were largely demoralized.

      If that is true again this year, it will start to show as the fall goes on.

      1. I regularly check the amount of “likes” on trump and Hillary comments and tweets on fb and Twitter. It sounds stupid but it’s a good gauge on how big of a following each candidate and how much excitement there is. Trump’s destroying Hillary by big margins. There’s no excitement for Hillary.

        1. California, where I live, is out of play. One reason I want to Trump to win is to watch California attempt to secede from the Union. I’m serious about that. Get your popcorn ready.

      2. The “superior motivation” of the Republican voter will be sorely tested in suburban areas this year. Trump has virtually no “get out the vote” troops nor is it likely the local GOP will be focusing beyond defending their incumbents (Toomey in my case) and letting Trump fend for himself. It reminds me of the same situation in 1964 in the East where the establishment had no time for Goldwater and all of the Goldwater enthusiasts had little to no experience in organizing and turning out the Republican base.

        1. To me, that’s the Achilles heel of Trump and the refusal of the GOP establishment to do their job and try to get him elected.

          This will probably come down to the unlikable Hillary v the unorganized Trump. Hillary has a huge hidden advantage, namely, the active collusion of Silicon Valley. Facebook, Tweeter, and the like will go balls to the wall for her, and between that and the DemOp Media, it may be enough.

          1. Twitter’s lifetime ban of Milo has consequences. How to measure that, I don’t know.

          2. To be more specific, Twitter has chosen move off of branding themselves as a forum for terse free speech to a more Disney-like business model. And who doesn’t like Mickey Mouse?

          3. How dare they not try to get someone elected whose political positions are anathema to them. How DARE THEY?

            1. LOL.

              Hey, that’s the first time I ever wrote that.

  16. Steve Sailer has a breathtaking post up about Turkey. Not Steve really, it’s content are from a Harvard economist Dani Rodrik.


    Dune. Arrakis. Desert planet. And the Pokonos.

  17. Prediction:
    When Hillary inevitably wins the election, all the Trump voters on here will announce that she was always going to win the election no matter who the Republicans nominated, so it doesn’t matter that they nominated a racist buffoon.

    1. George F. Will, is that you?

    2. In 2012 it didn’t matter who they nominated. This time it did.

    3. Further prediction ? most of the people crying like bitches that Reason doesn’t insult Hillary enough and are therefore in the tank for Hillary, will continue to be indignant that people assume they are Trump voters just because all they ever post about is how unfairly Trump is treated.

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