Conventions aren’t that complicated, really. It’s the beginning of the general election push, the formalization of a party’s candidate and a chance for that candidate to make a pitch to a broad range of voters expected to come to the polls in November. It’s four days of non-stop press attention, watched by millions of people.
And yet another poll released on Monday suggests that Donald Trump blew it.
We noted a poll from CBS released on Monday that showed Hillary Clinton taking a strong lead in the national presidential race. A few hours later, Gallup published data showing that Trump’s convention was the first since the polling firm began tracking the question to find that a majority of people were less likely to vote for the candidate after watching it.
Gallup’s numbers are truly stunning. American political conventions have been a guaranteed boost to candidates’ public image. Gallup has measured an increased willingness to vote for a party’s candidate ranging from Mitt Romney’s modest two-point bump in 2012 to Bill Clinton’s massive 45-point rocket in 1992. No candidate has ever come out of a convention with the public less likely to vote for him. Until now.
Gallup: this GOP convention is first *ever* where more say they are now less likely to vote for the party's nominee. pic.twitter.com/1RVDEGKy76
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) August 1, 2016
Trump came out of the GOP convention with the public 15 points less likely to vote for him.
Wasn’t Donald Trump was supposed to be some sort of show-biz genius? Weren’t we told for two months that if the GOP would only hand the keys to Trump, the party’s convention would cease to be so boring; that millions and millions would tune in to see the prime-time spectacle; that the Trump Show would rally a huge grassroots populist rebellion against the status quo; that Trump would unite the Republican party, bring in disaffected conservatives, and lead the charge toward a big win in November.
And then: Melania’s plagiarism. Shoutey Michael Flynn. Too-long and too-late speeches lasting well past 11 p.m. on the East Coast. Conservative rebels thuggishly crushed by Trump goons on the convention floor. Empty seats. Ploddingly unoriginal programming.
It was slapstick. It was amateur hour. And all that even before Donald Trump stepped to the podium on a Thursday night to give an hour-plus stem-winder that changed no one’s mind — but only reinforced the public’s already ingrained perception of the Manhattan real-estate mogul.
How did the public view Trump’s speech? They hated it.
It’s time to accept facts. In 2016, running against a corrupt, unlikable, career politician in Hillary Clinton, the Republican party decided to nominate the only person she could beat. Donald Trump is a historically bad candidate. He’s historically bad at the basic blocking and tackling of politics. Oh and don’t look now but Trump’s down versus Hillary in the RealClearPolitics average — and sinking fast. It’s going to be a long three months until November 8.