The GOP’s Mitt makeover isn’t going over well with American television viewers. Compared to night two of the 2008 Republican convention, viewership is down by 17 million.
Paul Ryan is no Sarah Palin. The viewership for Paul Ryan’s speech was down across every network compared to what Sarah Palin averaged in 2008. NBC was down 3.5 million viewers. ABC was down three million viewers. CBS and MSNBC were down 2 million viewers each. CNN lost a whopping 5 million viewers compared to Palin’s 2008 speech. Even Fox News was down 1.5 million viewers. In total, only 20 million people tuned in for Paul Ryan compared to the 37 million who watched Sarah Palin.
Ryan’s ratings nosedive isn’t the Republican convention’s only problem. Only Fox News and ABC saw their viewership rise or stay the same from night one to night two. Fox News saw their viewership rise from 6.89 million on night one to 7.70 million on night two, while ABC has drawn to 2.86 million viewers on each night.
What really jumps out in the ratings data is how limited the appeal of this convention is. Fox News has led the ratings for all networks on both nights. If the Romney campaign was hoping to reach Independents with their convention, it isn’t working. Over one third of the total audience is coming from the Republican cheering section known as Fox News.
Ryan’s ratings collapse highlights his limited popularity. As you could tell by the reception in the convention hall, Paul Ryan is beloved by the right. His appeal though seems limited just to the right. Ryan and the Romney campaign did themselves no favors by having him give a speech that was loaded with falsehoods, while also being completely devoid of any hope, optimism, or vision for the future.
Republicans love nasty negative politics, but America doesn’t. Voters love optimism and vision, but Mitt Romney has not highlighted any of this during his convention. Instead the Republican Party has presented an angry gloom and doom fest where speaker after speaker tell us all how lousy everything is, and that it is all Barack Obama’s fault.
Since voters don’t like Mitt Romney, it seems the Republican Party has decided that it must terrify America into supporting him. That type of strategy makes for a depressing convention, and even worse, it’s bad television.
Paul Ryan’s speech was delivered like an oral book report by someone who was making up the book as he went along. It is no surprise that viewers aren’t tuning in to the Republican convention. This is convention that lacks warmth, charisma, and star power.
The Republicans were hoping to reinvent Mitt Romney, but they got was confirmation that America is just not into both of them.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association