In another sign of the presidential race tightening in its final weeks, Mitt Romney finally has caught up to President Obama in terms of the positive conversations that Americans are having about him.
According to the latest National Journal-Keller Fay Conversation Nation poll, measuring adults’ conversations about politics, conversations about Romney were more positive than negative — 39 percent to 33 percent — for the first time in two months, thanks to a 14 percentage-point drop in negative chatter about him and a 5-point uptick in positive talk.
Meanwhile, there was a two-point decline in positive conversations about Obama, bringing him to a 39 percent positive to 37 percent negative split. The assessment covered the week ending Oct. 14, meaning that Tuesday night's volatile debate between the two men wasn't included.
Not surprisingly, talk about Joe Biden and Paul Ryan hit its peak after the vice presidential debate, reaching 35 percent for Biden and 33 percent for Ryan. Perhaps reflecting Biden’s divisive performance in Danville, Ky., Americans seemed to be split on the vice president more than ever, with mixed conversations rising 18 percent and “mostly positive” and “mostly negative” conversations both tapering off.
Republican veep nominee Ryan, meanwhile, enjoyed a 5-point jump in positive talk and a 13-point drop in negative chatter.
Talk about the election in general continues to be on the rise, with one-third of Americans now discussing politics on a daily basis — a percentage that's tripled since the beginning of the summer. The chatter also is much more likely to occur in battleground states.
National Journal and Keller Fay Group, a survey research firm, have partnered to track Americans’ online and face-to-face conversations about the 2012 presidential race. Each week, Keller Fay’s TalkTrack® research service interviews a nationally representative online sample of approximately 615 Americans ages 18 to 69 to determine which candidates and issues people are talking about and the nature of those conversations. Ed Keller and Brad Fay are coauthors of The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace.