Recently conventions have become no more than glorified infomercials with each speaker being tightly scripted and all the attendees being encouraged to look engaged and cheer at the right moments. This year is no different.
With this dynamic in play how do Political parties make a difference to the polls? The answer is to have a game changing speech plus a delivery mechanism that gets it to as many people as possible.
The viewing figures for both conventions are interesting not least because they seem to be the wrong way around.
Ann Romney 22 million, Mitt Romney 30 million
Michelle Obama 26 million, President Obama 35 million
You would have thought that the Romneys would have sparked more interest as they are the alternative choice in November and relatively unknown.
Twitter was even more decisive with President Obamas speech alone garnering more tweets than the entire Republican National convention.
This matters because in a modern world there are many ways to reach people and the Democrats clearly have an advantage regarding digital strategy. It has also been noted that Obamas speech was perfectly crafted for small You Tube mini films (viral anybody?)
So what of the speeches themselves…
Having watched most of the main speeches my opinion is that the Democrats had more compelling speakers, made their arguments better and crucially seemed to connect to the key voting groups of the middle class and independents in a more meaningful way.
The simple fact is that Mitt Romney is not a very accessible politician and his speaking style is wooden and workman like. I have spent a considerable amount of time in the US and absorbed a lot of media and culture over the last 10 years and my sense is that the American people really do want someone they like in the White house – which is alarming for Romney as his personal ratings are worse than the President despite the stubborn economic weather.
So what was the best Speech from the two conventions (no not Clint Eastwood!). Without a doubt it was Bill Clinton. Why? Because he was the one speaker who really got into detail and was easily the most effective at making the case for his party. What was amazing was the way he deconstructed the GOP ticket in such a charmingly destructive way. He was relaxed, clearly enjoying himself and very comfortable doing what he does best – Connecting! I thought he was at his very best and to quote Republican strategist Alex Castellanos “This will be the moment that probably re-elected President Obama”
I only wish I had school teachers who had been that good at explaining things!