Poll: Romney receives low score for convention speech

Mitt Romney acknowledges delegates before speaking at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

(CBS News) Mitt Romney's speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week received a lower score than any presidential candidate's convention speech since the poll starting asking the question after Republican and Democratic conventions in 1996, according to the polling firm Gallup.

Only 38 percent of respondents said his speech was excellent or good, compared to 47 percent who thought 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain's speech was excellent or good. McCain's acceptance speech received the next lowest approval ratings in Gallup's polling. Ten percent of respondents also said Romney's speech was terrible, twice the percentage who thought McCain's speech, which received the second highest negative rating, was terrible.

Respondents in the same Gallup poll are split on if Romney's speech would make them more or less likely to vote for the Republican candidate. Forty percent of voters said they are more likely to vote for him while 38 percent of voters said they are less likely; 22 percent said they don't know or their opinion did not change. The margin of error is 4 percentage points and 1,045 adults were polled between August 31 and September 1.

Unsurprisingly, Romney's speech appealed more to Republicans, with 83 percent who said it makes them more likely to vote for him. Only nine percent of Democrats, meanwhile, said they are more likely to vote for Romney after hearing his speech.

The most important sector of voters to persuade, however, are the independents, and they are evenly split on their response to Romney's acceptance speech. Thirty-six percent said they are more likely to back him while 33 percent said they are less likely. Another 30 percent said they are unsure or their view did not change.

The Gallup poll, which also conducted its analysis on the number of Americans who reported watching the conventions, found that last week's Republican convention was the second-lowest-viewed of all eight conventions Gallup polled since 1996. Nearly half of respondents - 48 percent - said they watched little or none of Romney's nominating convention compared to 29 percent who said they watched little or none of the 2008 Republican convention. Bob Dole's 1996 nominating convention was the least watched with more than half of respondents saying they watched little or none.

"Americans' relatively weak reaction to the Republican convention does not appear to have hurt their likelihood of voting for Romney so far, although it apparently is related to the lack of a typical convention bounce," Gallup's news release said.

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