No Convention Bump, But GOP Voters See Romney As More Conservative

September 05, 2012, 12:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 9/1/2012) GOP nominee Mitt Romney has gained little ground on President Obama following his party’s convention last week, and with the President’s convention set to begin, there may be more change yet to come. In this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll, conducted after the end of the GOP convention, only a point separates the two candidates. However, Romney’s one-point edge last week is now a one-point Obama lead: 47% of registered voters say they will vote or are leaning towards voting to re-elect President Barack Obama; 46% are leaning towards supporting Romney.

Both this week’s and last week’s poll results are within the margin of error.

The President is ahead with voters under the age of 45; Romney with those older (although those between 45 and 64 years old divide almost evenly). The President holds an 11-point lead among college graduates, while Romney is ahead among those who did not attend college. There continues to be a gender gap, with women favoring the President and men supporting Romney. There is a battle for support among middle income voters: Obama leads by 22 among those with family incomes below $40,000, while Romney has a 6-point margin among those with incomes over $100,000. Those in between divide closely.

But conventions can do much more than just gain votes. They can energize the party faithful, and in this regard, the GOP convention was a mixture of success and failure. Republican voters aren’t much more enthusiastic about voting, but they are more likely to see their nominee as ideologically like them. Last week, less than half of Romney’s voters said they were extremely enthusiastic about casting a vote in November. That percentage rose only three points.

Obama voters are still less enthusiastic than Romney supporters about the act of voting this fall. Democratic leaders are hoping this week’s Democratic Convention will change that.

While many Romney supporters still say they are more motivated by the prospect of voting against the president for the former Massachusetts Governor, positive support for Romney has jumped 11 points since the convention.

More than two in three Obama supporters continue to say they are voting for the President.

Romney made strides with his Convention on another key point, too. Republicans are more likely now than they were before the Convention — or at any point in the primary season—to believe that Romney is, like most of them, a conservative. 65% of Republicans agree than Romney is conservative or very conservative, up from 51% one week ago.

However, Republicans are much more likely to think of Romney’s running mate, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, as a conservative than they are to think of Romney that way.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association