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Influencers: Eastwood, Clinton Highlight Conventions

RI Democrats express more confidence that the convention gave Obama a lift heading into November's election. Republicans say Eastwood’s speech was a help and a hindrance.


The presidential conventions are held not only select each party’s candidate, but also to rally voters just months before the November election. So which convention succeeded more in energizing its base?

In the latest Red Rhody and Blue Rhody poll, Patch asked insiders from both sides of the aisle to assess the impact their convention had on voters and their candidates.

A majority of Democratic insiders felt more confident in their candidate’s chances of winning in November post-convention. Most Republican insiders felt the convention hadn’t changed their minds about their candidate’s chances of winning in November.

The survey was sent to 52 Democrats and 52 Republicans across Rhode Island. Ten Democrats and 14 Republicans responded.

For Democrats, 80 percent of the political insiders surveyed felt more confident in President Barack Obama’s chances of winning a second term after the convention. On the other side, 57 percent of GOP insiders said the outcome of the convention hadn’t changed their mind about Mitt Romney’s chances of winning. Forty-three percent said they were confident in Romney’s chances of winning.

Neither party insiders responded feeling they were less confident in their candidate’s chances of winning after the convention.

So who made the stronger case for why they should be president? We asked this question to both parties. Fifty-five percent of Democrats surveyed strongly agree that President Obama made a strong case for why he should get a second term. Only 45 percent responded they just agree.

Republican insiders were a little more divided on their candidate’s case for being the next president. Only 36 percent strongly agree that Gov. Romney made his case for being the next president. Forty-three percent said they agree. While 7 percent replied they disagree, 7 percent said they strongly disagree, while another 7 percent said they have no opinion.

When asked if their candidate provided specifics on their goals for the next four years and how they would achieve them, 79 percent of Republican insiders responded that they agree Romney supplied them with specifics. Only 7 percent said they strongly agree and 7 percent said they strongly disagree or had no opinion.

Democrats were a little more divided on this question. Fifty-five percent said they agree that President Obama provided specifics on his goals for the next four years and how he would achieve them. Only 9 percent strongly agree. Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed said they disagree with the way the president laid out those specifics and how he would achieve those goals.

When it came to convention speeches, we asked each party if they thought their candidate showed the American people the key differences between him and his opponent. Eighty-two percent of Democratic influencers strongly agree that Obama showed key differences between himself and Romney. Only 18 percent said they just agree.

On the Republican side, just 31 percent of GOP influencers said they strongly agree that Gov. Romney showed key differences between himself and President Obama. However, 54 percent said they agree, while only 8 percent said they strongly disagree. 

So who stole the show at the convention? When we asked Republican influencers in Rhode Island who stood out during the GOP convention, several people replied that actor/direector Clint Eastwood’s speech using the empty chair as Obama was the highlight. However, equal responses came in for Sen. Marco Rubio’s and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's speeches. When we asked Republicans what was the one misstep of the GOP convention, one-third of the responses cited Eastwood’s speech. One respondent said the speech “did not fit in” with the program.

On the Democratic side, 50 percent of the respondents said former President Bill Clinton’s speech was the highlight of the convention, followed by First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech and the President’s address. When asked what was the one misstep of the Democratic convention, responses varied from not having Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak, to Vice President Joe Biden stuttering during his speech. Another respondent stated that there were too many speakers from New England.

Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican and Democratic activisits, party leaders and elected officials in Rhode Island. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this particular survey.

If you are an activist, party leader or elected official, and would like to take part in our surveys that last just a few minutes, please email Regional Editor Rick Couto at rick.couto@patch.com.

Blue Rhody Survey Roster: Frank Hyde, Ted Jendzejec, Scott Guthrie, Gary Cote, Jared Nunes, Patricia Serpa, Kathy Patenaude, Lisa Tomasso, June Speakman, Joy Hearn, Anthony Arico, Mary Gasbarro, Jeffrey Breener, James Sheehan, Raymond Gallison, Louis Dipalma, John Edwards, Michael Sepe, John Lanni, Richard Santamaria, Joseph DeLorenzo, Judi Liner, Candy Seel, Bruce Rogers, Robert DaSilva, Joseph Polisena Frank Lombardo, Jennifer Russo, Carol Costa, Arnie Vecchione, Charles Tsonas, Vimala Phongsavanh, Gregg Amore, Joel Monteiro, Michael Morin, David Barboza, Catherine Tattrie, Kenneth Marshall, Antonio Teixeira, Raymond Gallison, Jan Malik, Marc Dubois, Mark Schwager, Carolyn Mark, Deidre Gifford, Tom Plunkett, Eugene Quinn, Chrissy Rossi, Bud Cicilline, Caroline Stouffer, Lou Raptakis, Stephen Ucci.

Red Rhody Survey Roster: Glenford Shibley, Nicholas Kettle, Carl Mattson, Keith Anderson, Patricia Morgan, john Robitaille, Christopher Ottiano, Jonathan Harris, Steve Primiano, Bill DeWitt, Geoff Grove, Scott Fuller, David bates, Carol Hueston, Jim McGuire, Mark Zaccaria, Joel Johnson, Doreen Costa, Elizabeth Dolan, Robert Carlin, Ronald Warr Jr., Jack Savage, John Ward, Dan Gendron, Halsey Herreshoff, Chris Stanley, Mark Smiley, Marina Peterson, Bryan Palumbo, Joseph Golembeski, Joe Procaccini, Blake Filippi, Eileen Grossman, Mike Stenhouse, Joseph Trillo, Gail Ricky, Dawson Hodgson, Chuck Newton, Michael Isaacs, Jeff Cianciolo, Carl Hoyer, Ted Czech, Joanne Mower, Luisa Abatecola, David Sullivan, Clark Smith, Liz Smith, Mark Gee, Brad Bishop, Peter Costa Jr., Bruce Saccoccio, Mike Chippendale.

Ryanthegirl September 21, 2012 at 01:02 AM
@OldTownie, My comments are not directed to you or anyone in particular (even Joe Souza)! My thoughts/opinion did come up right after your comment but was not directed to or in response to your comment. It is my opinion alone not a response. Thank you for your response to my question, I rarely get answers on here. Is that it…1/2 a semester? Your opinion; How can we as a state or country really understand the financial outcome/future of the past 30+ years (both sides) of financial irresponsibility if we are only teaching 1/2 a semester of economics?
OldTownie September 21, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Ryan, My addition of Joe's name was more of a tongue in cheek swipe at the otherside. As to your question, No simple first year economics course is going to even scratch the surface of our economic system or it's condition. Teaching students simple supply side economics would if anything confuse them even more. I would rather the schools teach them real world skills, like balancing a checkbook, or in some cases, counting in their heads rather than on a calculator or cell phone. A simple business math/practices course would be much more beneficial. Ask yourself this: How many 22-28 year olds even understand what a T-bill is? Or understand the concept of a default credit swap? They are far more interested in the new Iphone 5 and what Kim Kardashian had for dinner lastnight.
William Brank September 21, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Yeah and tell elsworth toohey that birth control has always been free. Free-er to the ugly ones.
Ryanthegirl September 21, 2012 at 01:52 AM
OT, I agree with you 1000%. The lack of the ability given to good teacher's to teach real life finances and not force them to teach to a government standard should be demanded. Our children are young, 9 and almost 12, as a history major that now works in finance, both my kids know the basics of principle, interest, the difference between yield and return and even more basic, how to balance a checkbook. I am somewhat frightened that they are too aware and could become successful and loose the ability to chose where their money goes. We make less than 110K a year as a husband and wife and sometimes think if we taught them the art of financially manipulating the government it would be more beneficial to them.
Ted Geisel September 21, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Naome, great article did you read it? The author goes on to explain how things like the keystone pipeline could affect prices. Thanks for making my point. No I don't mean the latest embassy attacks. I mean his alienation of Israel. His "reset" with Russia. Israel will attack Iran before the end of the year and we will be in a huge mess when it happens. Obama said he didn't have time to meet with their PM but managed to find time to hang out with a pirate on pirates day and party with jay z and Beyonce. What kind of message does that send? I noticed you and townie skipped the part about corporate reform when the democrats were in full control. Obama has regulated coal into the ground. Some of the coal workers unions wouldn't even endorse him this year.
Ted Geisel September 21, 2012 at 02:33 AM
OldTownie, you're right, the bush administration did start with solyndra. I'm sure you also know that two weeks before the end of his term the bush energy department decided not to proceed. Obama then came to office and made it the first loan they approved.
OldTownie September 21, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Despite what those on the right would tell you, using the available government programs to further yourself is more than acceptable, it's required. Many of my friends on the otherside like to point out what our greatest generation accomplished. What they fail to see is that many of them were afforded opportunities only through the use of the GI Bill after WW2 and Government backed house loans in the 40's and 50's. It only becomes a problem when these government subsides, programs and help become a way of life. These issues are not the sole property of the poor. Many of our largest corporations pursue and receive tax breaks (corporate welfare) and subsidies. We need to return to the center, and I don't mean what the Tea Party calls center. 20 Years ago, my friends and family vilified me for being a "closet" Republican (A DINO). Now, my same beliefs are too liberal for the RNC. Does anyone remember Compassionate Republicans anymore? I don't want to give my money to career welfare mothers anymore than the rest of you, but, the alternative is far worse. Who among you wants to be responsible for one poor child starving to death? Or one homeless vet freezing to death? If your one of the 53%, ask yourself this: Do you want that on your head? I, like many other Democrats, would welcome welfare reform. Just as long as it's tied to tax reform, an end to loopholes, and a sensible graduated tax rate. Oh, and an end to big oil and farming subsidies.
OldTownie September 21, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Not true. In an effort to show it has done something to support renewable energy, the Bush administration tries to take Solyndra before a DOE credit review committee just one day before President Obama is inaugurated. The committee, consisting of career civil servants with financial expertise, remands the loan back to DOE because it wasn’t ready for conditional commitment.
OldTownie September 21, 2012 at 03:15 AM
and Ted, I think you mean that Richard Nixon and George Bush regulated the coal industry to death, right? The Clean Air Act was signed into law by Nixon and strengthened by Bush 41.
OldTownie September 21, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Ted, I honestly believed Pres. Obama would address corporate reforms in his first term. I will admit that I was very disappointed. But, I also understand that any first term Pres. who takes on big business would never have a chance at a second term. Remember Citizens United? Why do you think so many corporations donate to Rommney? It's not because of his personal appeal. Do you think Rommney will rein them in?
Joe Sousa. September 21, 2012 at 10:34 AM
All of these history lessons are great. But the question was and still is ,"What has this President done to help a struggling America ? The clear and decisive answer is Nothing! He continues to call American Businesses the 1% and pushes more Taxes and Regulation on them. They are leaving the US. and taking jobs with them. We need a new direction . The Tea Party provides the platform .Check them out and join the movement .
Ted Geisel September 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM
OldTownie It's called personal responsibility. Did Obama sign the loan or Bush? If Naome asks me to borrow $20 bucks and I think about it, maybe I even think it's a good idea but for whatever reason I don't give her the money. Then you come in and loan her the money and you never see her again. Am I responsible for that? No of course not. Bush started the hunt for Bin Laden but should he get the credit for the raid Obama ordered? Of course not. As for coal I'm not going to be able to change your mind, you seem dead set on blaming the guys that used to be in charge, sometimes decades ago. At least believe your Obama. Here is what he had to say: "The only thing I've said with respect to coal, I haven't been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a (sic) ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it. So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them." "I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter."
William Brank September 21, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Try the LAW of supply and demand. Very nice law. It works EVERY TIME. Higher wages, more jobs than workers, wages go up. More fuel than customers, prices fall like a stone. Banks loan money for homes, make it easy for the banks to reclaim the property on default, and they will loan all day long. Works every time, clue in the democRATS and POTUS
William Brank September 21, 2012 at 11:26 AM
More important than advanced gender studies or even advanced math and science is the fundamental tenants of individualism and how to keep everyone free. The more everyone supports themselves the closer to a commonwealth they will have. When personal achievement and self advancement become the elevators of virtue then we truly passed on freedom to our children. Government standards for school is never going to create a virtuous society. They will always move the goalpost for votes. And here is another note. What do you think a teacher would do with a child who marched into a classroom, plops down in the chair, crosses his or her arms and says "I'm against organized labor in the public sector"? Public sector unions are evil and were never intended for the very reason they are harming the tax payers. For the same reasons you hate citizens united...
Nard Glimrod September 21, 2012 at 12:47 PM
William Brank wrote: >> What do you think a teacher would do with a child who marched into a >> classroom, plops down in the chair, crosses his or her arms and says >> "I'm against organized labor in the public sector"? A good teacher, like any other responsible participant on this forum, would ask the childe "What are the reasons you are against organized labor in the public sector?" And if the marching and plopping child responded, as you did....... >> Public sector unions are evil and were never intended for the very reason they >> are harming the tax payers. For the same reasons you hate citizens united... .......That same good teacher would say, "While it's good that you have such a strong opinion, a polite young man or young lady avoids nasty hyperbole such as 'Public sector unions are evil' and only says things that he or she is ready to support with actual evidence or data. Now, until you can learn to be more diplomatic and responsible with your comments, or until you're ready to support them with evidence, please refrain from making them." That's what a good teacher would do. I AM NO FAN OF UNIONS, but even I have to ask, William, 1) Why it is that "Public sector unions are evil", and 2) Why do you say that they "were never intended"? My other question would be, since you're from Greenwich or Ridgefield, CT, why are you up here in Rhode Island polluting our forums with your over-the-top, nasty, and completely unsupported hyperbole?
Bernie Madoff September 21, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I'd vote for Romney....if i could.
Leave RI September 21, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Ryanthegirl..I agree with you. However, you don't have to teach them how to manipulate the government to be beneficial to them. These morons that are in the executive branch will give you anything you want..deserved or not..go for it..it's the new "benefit of breathing free USA air"
Joe Bremen September 21, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Past policies of the DEM welfare State are directly related to current expansion of poverty and status quo of lasting poverty as a means to stay in power. There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well. Booker T. Washington "Repeal that welfare law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. Industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them." --Benjamin Franklin 1753 "I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. Ben Franklin 1766 This was known long ago.
OldTownie September 21, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Ted, If your comment about "personal responsibility" is in relation to the welfare state, then my only response can be a question. You would rather let children suffer, through the fault of their parents, rather than help them, yes? On to coal. The ONLY thing President Obama has not done is eased the regulations put in place by two republican presidents. By the coal industry's own admission, the single thing that is hurting them the most is the price of gas. So, I will ask you, what does the President have to do with the price of gas? The short answer is nothing. Is he opposed to using coal? Yes. And I for one, knowing that the New England states have the highest rate of childhood asthma due to coal burning power plants in mid-west. It's a fact pal, look it up. And finally, Bush and Bin Laden. President Bush admitted his administration had all but given up chasing Bin Laden. They did not think getting him would pay any bnenfit. they even floated the idea that OBL had "probably" been killed in a cave during one of the many carpet bombings. so can President Obama take credit for it? Yup. Did President Bush play a hand in it? Sure, I'd be happy to give some credit. And then you can hand at least have the credit for Solyndra to him as well.
housewife in EG September 21, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Old townie believes Obama killed Bin Laden.
housewife in EG September 21, 2012 at 05:14 PM
OMG, see the O'bama movie......he's gotta go.
pam September 21, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Bernie Madoff is a democrat. Although people in his industry generally give to both political parties, the bulk of Madoff's political contributions went to democrats. Chances are he would be voting Obama...if he could. Nice try though.
OldTownie September 21, 2012 at 06:26 PM
housewife, Let's examine your rudimertary understanding of how our government works. Is President Obama the Commander in Chief? don't think to hard, the answer is Yes. Is he responsible for the US Armed forces? Again, Yes. Whose orders do you think the SeAL team was waiting for? So, Yes, President Obama did kill him. Any questions? Just like President Bush toppled Saddam Hussien.....remember? "Mission Accomplished!" ? Did President Truman drop the bombs? History seems to think so. By your rational, Hilter never did anything wrong!
OldTownie September 21, 2012 at 06:32 PM
should read "rudimentary"
Bernie Madoff September 21, 2012 at 07:09 PM
I've had a lot of time to think things over pam,i've seen the error of my ways.
BristolGOP September 21, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Agree Housewife. But it goes BEYOND OBAMA, who is really a figurehead of the left, but the WHOLE NETWORK of special-interests and big-government extremists that corrupt the system both nationally and locally. Big Labor, environmental radicals, trial lawyers, and "poverty advocates" (aka the pro-food stamp crowd). Look up something called "The Colorado Model" ... it explains how, through grassroots campaigns and all these marginal groups teaming up, the converted a fairly traditional red/purple state blue! Thus the vocal extreme minority won out. For RI, above-said groups have been running this state for FAR TO LONG. It's time we as voters WAKE UP!
pam September 21, 2012 at 08:10 PM
I am so glad Bernie, Now can you share it with Obama because he keeps trying to lighten our wallets;)
William Brank September 21, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Nard Glimrod, Hate to brake it to you but you are just not on the same side as your liberal god FDR. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xycy1aNZBzc Whats more is we are having a public debate and on the field of battle what does it matter to you where I am from? I have to ask what the hell you are looking me up for? Are you a public sector thug? By all means I would like that rather than this. Getting through your thick liberal skull would be a wee bit easier that way. What a dumb position, with all that is going on, median income accross the country has gone down close to $5k/year and the public sector wants pay increases of over 5% and they get pensions that are today unfunded. Whats worse is they wll collect those pensions and spend them wile living somewhere more affordable, likely in a more conservative area that does a better job protecting private property. That is till they all start voting as a group and it will be all over there too. See VT and soon to be NH... Then there is you asking me to reply to dumb comments you post. Please, show up at my door, it would be easier to reach the pit in your head.
Nard Glimrod September 22, 2012 at 12:27 AM
>> Hate to brake it to you So you have something to "brake" to me, do you, Mr. Dweller of The Nutmeg State? I have something I need to break to you: You didn't answer the questions: 1) Why do you say that "Public sector unions are evil", and 2) Why do you say that they "were never intended"? As far as your kind invitation to show up at your door goes, I must say that I have this image of you sitting in your underwear in your stainless steel trailer in Greenwich, polishing your guns, and worshiping Elvis. (A whole lotta people misunderstood The King, I tell ya....) C'mon, good friend from "The Land of Steady Habits", how 'bout answering the questions?
William Brank September 23, 2012 at 12:33 PM
I heard yesterday action movies do well because of the economy of thought and right off thought of this thread. If you can't think try watching, He did another segment on unions. Try not to cry wile your money leaves your hand. The tax payers have a right to the best deal their money can bring. 2 parts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BduQxAugn4c

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