Convention Watch: Looking back to Reagan, Bush

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Aug. 30 2012 7:48 p.m. MDT

Castor, during a morning news conference, said simply: "We're here to serve the public."

— Tamara Lush — Twitter http://twitter.com/tamaralush

WHO'S TUNING IN

Sure, political conventions aim to fire up the die-hard partisans in the arena, but they're also made-for-TV events designed to appeal to undecided voters. Recent polling suggests they may not be hitting their mark.

A Pew Research Center survey before the Republican convention began found just over four in 10 adults were interested in following each party's convention.

Partisans were most interested in their own gathering — 70 percent of Republicans were interested in this week's events and 66 percent of Democrats were interested in their party's upcoming convention. Fewer partisans check in on the other team: 41 percent of Democrats were interested in the goings-on in Tampa, Fla., while 28 percent of Republicans were interested in tuning in for Obama's re-nomination.

Among independents, just 37 percent said they were interested in the Republican convention, 36 percent in the Democratic one.

For Republicans angling for young, disaffected Obama voters, the convention may not be their best chance. Overnight ratings for the GOP convention suggested less than 10 percent of viewers were under age 35. The Pew poll found less than 30 percent of twenty-somethings were interested in the political conventions.

— Jennifer Agiesta — Twitter http://twitter.com/jennagiesta

ROMNEY PREVIEW

In his big speech, Mitt Romney will make a direct appeal to voters who felt excited to cast a ballot for Barack Obama four years ago.

"If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's President Obama?" Romney says in excerpts released before his Thursday night speech. "You know there's something wrong with the kind of job he's done as president when the best feeling you had, was the day you voted for him."

You've been let down, Romney's telling former Obama voters, by a presidency that lapsed into disappointment and division.

"Many Americans have given up on this president, but they haven't ever thought about giving up," Romney says. "Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on America."

Riffing on Obama's 2008 catchphrase, "Yes we can," Romney plans to tell Americans, "Now is the moment when we CAN do something."

What can Americans do, according to Romney? Vote for him.

— Connie Cass —Twitter http://twitter.com/ConnieCass

POLITICAL FOOTBALL

There may be large swaths of a Republican stronghold otherwise occupied during Mitt Romney's big speech Thursday night. College football debuts at the same time, and that can trump anything else on TV, especially in the pigskin-crazy South.

The marquee matchup happens down in Tennessee, with Steve Spurrier's No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks taking on the Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville at 7 p.m. EDT. But the GOP probably isn't worried about losing interest or votes in either South Carolina or Tennessee, both of which are normally reliable Republican states in presidential contests.

— Jesse J. Holland — Twitter http://twitter.com/jessejholland

TEMPEST OVER A TEMPEST

The Democratic Party chairwoman, who also happens to be a Floridian, is slamming Republicans' decision to continue with their Tampa convention as the Gulf Coast was battered by a hurricane.

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