Third, each candidate will deliver an acceptance speech at his convention. My prediction is that Romney will exceed expectations and get a bounce from what most people believe is the most watched and most important moment of the convention. However, Obama will follow and can counter Romney and redefine the campaign with a good speech. In 1988, while I was consulting at the Republican Convention in New Orleans, George H. W. Bush came into the convention 7 to 10 points behind Governor Michael Dukakis. But Bush redefined Dukakis in a fine acceptance speech that envisioned a kinder gentler America inspired by a 1000 points of light, not to mention no new taxes. ush came out of his convention 7% ahead in the polls. He never looked back. Advantage Obama.
Given these four factors, one can only conclude that we are in for a very tight race that may come down to some slight event, mistake, or tactical maneuver by either side.
Smith was a consultant to CBS News for convention coverage from 1968 to 1984. His latest book, Silencing the Opposition, was published by the State University of New York Press. He is the director of the Center for First Amendment Studies, California State University, Long Beach.