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Convention Insiders Poll

In the future, how many days do you think political conventions should last?

Democrats (104 votes)

Four: 10%
Three: 49%
Two: 27%
One: 8%
Zero: 7%




“I don’t think it is too much to ask the American people to tune in for a couple nights every four years to help determine their future.”



“There’s only one night that matters. Shouldn’t take so long to get to the point.”

“Three days with required network coverage each evening, given the networks are using ‘our’ airwaves.”

“Three nights are enough; the trick will be to convince any major city to host it under those circumstances, especially if the Charlotte organizers are consulted.”


“Unions have better things to do than to pay for Dem parties.”


“A gathering without all of the expenses of recreating halls and the other associated costs. The speeches by the principals are important. They can be done in a variety of places.”

“Two days for a few important speeches, platform passage, and formal nomination, and that’s it. The rest is superficial networking that has nothing to do with the election.”

“Easier to control the message coming from the convention with a shortened time frame. Also easier to get press attention with a smaller window.”


“Nomination by acclamation; two speeches and it is over.”


“An outdated, irrelevant institution. Save the money, the lousy hotel rooms, the placards, the roll calls.”



In the future, how many days do you think political conventions should last?

Republicans (179 votes)

Four: 24%
Three: 51%
Two: 20%
One: 2%
Zero: 4%



“It’s all about drawing out media coverage, and, like with the Olympics, the coverage will last as long as the event does.”

“A word in defense of conventions: They are still the only time the parties in their entirety get together.”

“How else could we possibly fit in all the parties?”


“Less than that, and it’s not worth the traveling expense for the thousands of volunteers and guests.”

“With social media as sophisticated as it is, conventions should be limited to three days to make it worthy of travel and coverage.”

“Great stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end.”

“Conventions are just to get everyone together for a ritual fist bump and highlighting new stars. Three days is plenty.”


“I think both parties tend to lose focus after two days at things like these. Keep the conventions on high notes and not minutiae!”

“The public’s attention span is contracting.”

“They are just one big, expensive, time-consuming party. One day to hear VP nominee. One day to hear nominee speak. Then let us go home and do something constructive.”


“Huge waste of party resources—time, manpower, money—that would be better spent on grassroots support for turnout in November.”


“Conventions are useless wastes of money which could be better spent on election activity and paid media.”



Which three of these states that President Obama carried in 2008 will be the hardest for him to hold in 2012?

Democrats (104 votes)

Florida: 58%
Virginia: 55%
Iowa: 39%
Ohio: 38%
Wisconsin: 36%
Colorado: 32%
Nevada: 19%
New Hampshire: 16%
Pennsylvania: 5%


“Florida is a 50-50 state, but it lacks Democratic infrastructure and statewide Dem leadership. Let’s see how much Dems can make hay of the Ryan budget.”

“What with all the hoops the Republicans are placing in the way of legitimate Democratic voters in Florida, it looks like 2000 all over again.”

“Ryan will make Wisconsin tougher, but Florida is key to both candidacies. Romney will work to win his latest ‘home state’ [of New Hampshire].”

“Ryan pick only marginally affects race in Wisconsin, but failed recall is an albatross. Florida back on table thanks to ‘Mediscare’ ticket, but still hard.”

“Nevada is tough due to the huge unemployment and foreclosure rate, as well as the number of Mormons.”

This article appears in the September 1, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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