Poll: 1 in 5 say Eastwood was highlight of RNC

Actor Clint Eastwood speaks to an empty chair while addressing delegates during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

(CBS News) At last week's carefully-planned Republican National Convention, it was Clint Eastwood's convention "surprise" speech that many viewers considered the event's main highlight, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center.

According to the survey, conducted from August 31 to September 3, 20 percent of people who watched at least a little of the convention coverage cited Eastwood as the convention highlight - whereas 17 percent pointed to Romney.

Eastwood, who spoke directly before Mitt Romney on the convention's final night, attracted some raised eyebrows after delivering his speech, during which he addressed an empty chair meant to symbolize President Obama and spoke several minutes longer than planned..

The Romney campaign defended Eastwood in the following days, but some wondered if Eastwood's remarks might have taken away from the nominee's address.

According to Pew, viewers certainly paid attention to Eastwood's speech.

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While more Republicans ranked Romney as the convention highlight than they did Eastwood, at 25 percent to 19 percent, only 15 percent named vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's speech as the highlight, and 13 percent said the same of Ann Romney's speech.

Among independents, Eastwood had the advantage over Romney: 26 percent cited him as the highlight and 17 percent cited Romney.

Forty percent of Democrats said there was no highlight at all, and 20 percent of viewers overall said the same thing.

According to Pew, the public tuned in less to the GOP convention this year than in 2008. Only 37 percent of respondents said they watched all or some of the convention, a drop from 56 percent in 2008.

Even so, Romney appears to have gotten a boost among people who see him favorably in the aftermath of the convention: Between August 31 and September 3, 25 percent of people said their view of the candidate was more favorable than before. In the days leading up to the convention, 18 percent said that. Meanwhile, 20 percent said their view of Romney had become less favorable after the convention, as opposed to 26 percent who said that beforehand.


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