Fully half of all the adults in National Journal's Conversation Nation poll were talking about President Obama last Saturday, two days after he accepted his party’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention. It is the highest volume of talk about the president since Conversation Nation began tracking it in late May.
Talk about challenger Mitt Romney hit an all-time high of 43 percent on Friday, Aug. 31, the day after he accepted his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention. Fewer than a third of Americans were talking about him last Saturday, when talk about Obama peaked.
Positive talk about Obama increased by 2 percentage points over the week of the Democratic convention, to 42 percent, while negative talk about him decreased 2 percentage points, to 36 percent.
Meanwhile, negative talk about Romney remained steady at 38 percent, and positive word of mouth fell 3 points, back to 32 percent, its level before the GOP convention.
In terms of word of mouth, then, Obama had a slightly better convention week than did Romney. Romney’s positive-negative spread increased only percentage 1 point in the wake of his convention, while Obama’s spread increased 4 points.
The Democratic convention's slight edge in driving word of mouth conversation is consistent with polling that shows Obama enjoying a bigger convention bounce among likely voters than Romney. Postconvention polling showed a moderate uptick in support for Obama, but little or no bounce for Romney.
Over the summer, talk about both candidates increased across virtually all demographic groups. In the four weeks ending on Sept. 9, the percentage of Democrats talking about Obama on a given day increased 6 percentage points over the previous four weeks. Over the same period, the percentage of Republicans talking about Romney increased by 11 points over the previous period. There were also double-digit increases in the percentages of independent voters, professionals, and college-educated people talking about the candidates.
While 40 percent of independents were talking about Romney, 47 percent were talking about Obama in the four weeks ending on Sept. 9. A quarter of Americans were talking about the presidential elections on a given day during that period, comparable to the number of Americans talking about the state of the economy or about their travel plans.
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 18-69, 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.