Romney’s acceptance speech this year scored low by comparison to previous convention speeches going back to 1996. Thirty-eight percent of Americans rated the speech as excellent or good, while 16% rated it as poor or terrible. The 38% who rated the speech as excellent or good is the lowest rating of any of the eight speeches Gallup has tested since Bob Dole’s GOP acceptance speech in 1996.
Obama’s 2008 speech was the most warmly received of the eight speeches Gallup has evaluated using this measure — 58% of Americans rated it as excellent or good. Americans evaluated McCain’s speech in 2008 less positively, but at 47% excellent or good, it was still more highly rated than Romney’s this year.
As is the case for Americans’ evaluations of the conventions’ impact, their evaluations of speeches do not necessarily presage victory in November. Obama’s speech was more highly evaluated in 2008 than McCain’s, and Obama went on to win. Kerry’s and Bush’s 2004 speeches were equally highly evaluated, but Bush won the election.