Thursday, September 6, 2012

Democratic National Convention: Leading Indicators

The polling cycle doesn't happen fast enough (or, to an extent, cleanly enough) to give us an inside look at how the Democratic Convention is playing out with viewers--however ... I'm going to say that the signs are not all that good (for Romney).

Let's look at what we do know right now ...

Network Share: Advantage DNC
Apparently 3MM more people are watching the DNC show than RNC--according to Nielsen:
The Nielsen Co. said about 26.2 million people watched the opening night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., where the first lady was the featured speaker.

Last week, Nielsen said 22.3 million watched the first night of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., where potential first lady Ann Romney talked about her husband, Mitt. The same number of viewers watched the Democrats' first night in 2008, when Michelle Obama was also the featured speaker.
Now, I'm going to go "way" out on a limb here and suggest that many Republicans watched the RNC on web-streaming because they were fed up with the other news coverage. I caught a bit of MSNBC and I have to say that it was "partisan to 11." However, I think it is a stretch to say most did (at least without evidence) and in any event, that's a pretty big number.

The TwinDex
Twitter's TwinDex monitors number of tweets and their positive/negative implications. Romney, at his best, peaked above where Obama is now--but (a) Obama hasn't spoken yet, (b) the Twitter volumes are a lot higher for Michelle and Clinton than they were for Romney or anyone else at the RNC, and (c) the spread right now is the second highest it's ever been--and much higher than it ever was during the RNC.
It's that spread at the end ...
Now, granted: this doesn't necessarily mean anything--but watching Obama's numbers climb during the RNC--even if they didn't climb as fast as Romney's isn't a good sign. Also note that big blue drop back there around early August? That was Obama's Romney-Killed-A-Guy ad which was roundly panned by everyone. To see him coming back from that trough ... might mean something? Who knows.

The Betting Markets
People putting their money where their mouths are look like this:
Your Charts Are Bland, PredictWise, Spice Them Up! Also ... BLUE IS ROMNEY!? GET WITH THE PROGRAM!
We can see it's flat during the RNC and then ... starts to pull away. How meaningful is this? Again, positions vary--but man: PredictWise thinks they have the best method of picking a winner so I'd be hesitant to say it means nothing. They also say that the betting-market analysis is largely immune to temporary bumps (if I read them right).

PoliticIT, the Internet "Influence" measurement finds that Obama went up during the first day and Romney went down during his whole convention (a "negative bounce"). For the first day of the convention the numbers looked like this:
Surprise Winner: Gary Johnson! WTF!?
Saying what, exactly, this means is almost impossible from the outside. PoliticIT has their model as fairly reliable (but very few people put out a who-will-win model and claim it's "so-so") but they are measuring online activity so there has to be some objective movement.

I think that the +7 Gary Johnson bit can't stand out there by itself without answering some hard questions: what, exactly caused him to get a +7 "IT score"? What areas of the Internet were they looking at? Still, it's clear that whatever they're measuring, they don't think it's good for Romney and they do think it's good for Obama.

What Do I Think?
I'll tell you. I found--of the many, many pundits who weighed in, these comments to be the most meaningful:

PowerLine's Paul Mirengoff, a high ranking conservative blog, takes a look at the DNC or "As Much Of It As I Can Stand" and ends with these live-blogging posts ...
10:56. Michelle also isn’t being truthful when she says that Barack doesn’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. In fact, that may be the whopper of the night.
10:59. The speech has come together quite well, though. Michelle has masterfully woven together the political and the personal.
11:02. Michelle is totally wound up now. This has became a powerful, ultra-emotional speech. She doing a first rate job of preaching.
11:06. I hate to admit it, but Michelle Obama hit it a long way tonight, in my opinion. And overall, I fear that the Dems had a good night.
 The American Conservative's TAC Digest reviews Clinton's speech and says:
Clinton’s wasn’t just a speech aimed at wavering whites — although it certainly was that (many g’s were dropped, and the president referred to himself as a “county boy” at one point). It was aimed at seniors, women, and young people, and, with its riffs on voter ID laws and Medicaid, immigrants and minorities and people with disabilities.
It was yet another virtuoso performance from a man whose political talents, however at times infuriating and mendacious, you can’t help but wish were deployed on your side’s behalf.
I think that when the more clearheaded of your ideological enemies are saying things like this about your night? I think you're doing something right. NOTE: As "in-elastic" as this race has been, I'll eat my hat if the Democrats get more bump out of this than Romney--but they certainly have won portions of the "air-war" when it comes to the conventions.

In an also-sobering note, it has been said that the conventions are "tons of free publicity" and in the best-possible light. If those failed to move the needle much it's not clear what Romney's fully armed-and-(now)-operational Death-Star Attack-Ad machine is going to do that the convention couldn't ...

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