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ADVISORY: Republicans could find traditional 'bounce' hard to come by after GOP convention

By Jacob McConnico
336.758.5237
September 1, 2004

A Wake Forest University expert says George W. Bush and the Republicans have been working hard during the GOP Convention to secure the traditional post-convention bounce in the polls, but the bounce could be tougher to come by this year than in previous campaigns because fewer voters than usual are undecided at this point in the campaign.

"The organizers of the Republican Convention are trying to get a bounce in the polls, and their main strategy has been to schedule speakers who can appeal to undecided and cross-over voters, as well as apolitical television viewers," said John Dinan, Zachary T. Smith Associate Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest. "This year's electorate is more polarized and fewer voters than usual are undecided at this point in the campaign, which may be one reason why John Kerry failed to get the anticipated bounce after the Democratic Convention in July.

By scheduling speakers with broad appeal like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudolph Giuliani, John McCain and Zell Miller, the Republicans have made an effort to court voters outside of the typical party base, said Dinan, an expert on political parties, voters and elections.

"Such a strategy has its downsides — it runs the risk of not doing enough to energize base voters but strategists from both parties appear willing to take this risk in order to appeal to the small number of undecided voters who will likely make the difference in 2004," Dinan said.

Dinan is experienced with national print and broadcast media interviews. To arrange an interview, please contact Jacob McConnico at mcconnjn@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.


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