Mitt Romney’s resurgence and President Obama’s slump in the week following their first debate are reflected in the latest Conversation Nation poll, conducted by National Journal and the Keller Fay Group.
In the week that ended Sunday, four days after Romney's strongly reviewed debate performance, positive conversations about the GOP nominee increased by 11 percentage points and negative conversations dropped 5 points. Still, Romney needs to make more inroads with voters. Negative discussions about him outweigh positive conversations by 13 points, 47 percent to 34 percent, a possible hangover from his comments about “47 percent” of Americans who don’t pay income tax and other earlier campaign stumbles.
Obama’s lukewarm debate performance clearly had consequences: He suffered a 6-point drop in positive talk and a 7-point spike in negative chatter. The Conversation Nation survey also found that the subjects of Americans’ conversations about the president had turned sour in the last week. They were much more likely to involve “not wanting to vote for the candidate” and “disliking the candidate” than “wanting to vote” for him, as compared to the month prior.
The silver lining for the incumbent is that he’s still in the black as far as the tenor of the conversations go: 41 percent of the chatter about him is positive--7 points higher than Romney--while 37 percent is negative.
As the vice presidential candidates prepare to debate on Thursday evening, the poll also showed that the running mates too need to make a stronger case with voters. Negative talk is higher than positive talk for both men—a 48 percent negative, 37 percent positive split for Vice President Joe Biden and a marginally better 46 percent negative, 43 percent positive split for Republican nominee Paul Ryan.
The Conversation Nation poll showed that Americans are now more fully engaged in the presidential election than ever before. Daily chatter about Romney and Obama rose to its highest levels yet, with 53 percent of Americans engaging in conversations about the president and nearly 44 percent discussing Romney.
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.