Candidates Usually Enjoy a Large "Convention Bounce"

Democratic National Convention 2012 logo and Republican National Convention 2012 logoLater this week, the Republican National Convention will get underway in Tampa, Florida.

One week later, the Democratic National Convention will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to, US Presidential candidates have typically enjoyed a large bounce in the polls following their party's national conventions.

The reason is pretty obvious - the conventions tend to galvanize supporters and, at least temporarily, sway many undecided voters. After all, national conventions absolutely dominate all forms of media when they are taking place, so it's pretty easy to make a big impact on voters.

According to, between 1964 and 2008, all but two US Presidential candidates enjoyed sizeable "convention bounces".

Any guesses as to the two men who didn't enjoy such a bounce? As a matter of fact, one man actually saw his support DROP amongst registered voters in the days following his party's nominating convention. Any guesses?

If you picked John Kerry, you would be right.

In 2004, John Kerry saw his support numbers amongst registered voters fall by one point following the Democratic National Convention.

In 1972, George McGovern saw his support remain unchanged following the Democratic convention, while opponent Richard Nixon saw his support increase by 7 points following the Republican National Convention.

The biggest advance after a national convention since 1964?

In 1992, Bill Clinton enjoyed a 16 point increase in support amongst registered voters following the Democratic National Convention. Gallup points out that this was not the result of Perot dropping out of the race during the convention, as the number "is based on a comparison of vote preference questions before and after the convention that asked voters for their preference between Bush and Clinton only."

Some of the other sizeable "convention bounces" that occurred between 1964 and 2008:

1980 - Jimmy Carter, 10 points
1976 - Jimmy Carter, 9 points
1984 - Walter Mondale, 9 points
1980 - Ronald Reagan, 8 points
2000 - George W. Bush, 8 points
2000 - Al Gore, 8 points

As Gallup points out, incumbents also enjoy "convention bounces".

In 1996, Bill Clinton enjoyed a 5 point "convention bounce". In 1980, Jimmy Carter enjoyed a 10 point convention bounce. In 1984, Ronald Reagan enjoyed a 4 point convention bounce. In 1972, Richard Nixon enjoyed a 7 point convention bounce.


In short - the "convention bounce" is real, and we'll see how much Romney and Obama "bounce" over the coming weeks.

Source: - Candidate Support Typically Up Five Points After Convention

Filed under: General Knowledge

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