Guess whose convention speech people most want to hear?

What do citizens want from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions?

Despite Romney’s speechwriters undoubtedly having put in a lot of work into crafting the Republican nominee’s speech, relatively few want to hear it.

According to the Pew Research Center, interest in hearing Romney’s convention speech is low — whether compared historically or to the speeches of prominent Democrats at their convention.

People are marginally more interested in hearing the speech of Paul Ryan — 46% want to hear this, compared to 44% for Romney’s speech.

But what they are most interested in is hearing about from the RNC is the Republican party platform – 52% are interested.

Early media reports have focused on certain portions of that platform: 1) Its support of a “personhood” plank, which would define life as beginning with the joining of the egg and sperm and thus would outlaw all abortions, IVF pregnancies, and certain forms of birth control, and 2) Its advocacy for changing Medicare to a voucher program and for privatizing Social Security.

And what about the Democratic convention?

More people are interested in hearing Obama’s speech — 51%, compared to 44% for Romney’s speech.

But Obama’s speech is also less interesting to people than the Democratic party platform, which garners interest from 55%.

And one other individual’s speech is slightly more interesting to people than Obama’s: Bill Clinton’s. 52% want to hear this former president speak.

Bill Clinton?

More than a decade after Bill Clinton left the presidency, he remains a fascinating individual — and one seen quite favorably.

According to the most recent NBC/Wall St. Journal poll, Clinton has high levels of favorability, based on a question that asked people if they viewed an individual positively, negatively or did not have an opinion.

57% of Americans see Clinton positively, with 23% seeing him in negative terms (+34).

Here are contrasts to Obama and Romney:

Barack Obama: 48% positive, 43% negative (+5)

Mitt Romney: 38% positive, 44% negative  (-6)

And here are contrasts to the political parties:

Democratic Party: 42% positive, 40% negative (+2)

Republican Party: 36% positive, 45% negative (-9)

With public opinion on Clinton so positive, no wonder he has a prominent speaking opportunity at the Democratic National Convention and is appearing in ads for Obama.

Here’s Bill Clinton in an Obama ad:

I expect Bill Clinton will do a lot of campaigning in swing states, such as Ohio, Virginia and Iowa. It’s also pretty likely Clinton will directly refute the false claims — ranked “Pants on Fire” by Politifact — Republicans have been making about Obama and the welfare reform law Clinton signed.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.