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Are Mississippi Voters Paying Attention To The National Political Conventions?

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 04 Sep 2012 05:08pm | comments
Photo: AP

Nearly 100 Mississippians are in North Carolina this week for the Democratic National Convention. M-P-B's Jeffrey Hess reports whether the conventions matter anymore.

Rickey Cole, the executive director of the Mississippi Democratic Party, says the goal for Democrats this week will be to highlight what he considers the economic successes of President Barack Obama.

"The president is going to talk about his vision for American and the accomplishments we have made for his vision for American over these last four very difficult years. He has made some very unpopular decisions that have turned out to be boons for our economy," Cole said.

TV ratings for Mitt Romney's nominating speech were down compared to 2008, and the same could be true for president Obama.

With both conventions down to three days, are Mississippians really paying attention?

"The conventions, particularly this year, I wouldn't say they matter because the nominees were already in place,"

"You really don't get a lot of both views on the TV channel. To me it is either Republican or Democrat. So you watch the conventions you kind of get both,"

"To be honest, they probably could shorten them. Probably cut them in half. I think two days is probably a good length of time,"

That was Jackson area voters Shelton Gates, Peggy Jackson, and Donnie Tynes who all say they will at least watch the president's nomination speech Thursday night.

Millsaps College political science professor Michael Reinhard says T-V ratings have been declining for decades, but the conventions are still an important time for the parties to lay out and explain their platform to voters.

"Remember that the election is going to be decided by a small percentage of people who just don't pay much attention to politics. And this is one of the few times when they do pay attention. So I think (the conventions) do matter," Reinhard said.

Reinhard says it is likely that the national televised portions of the conventions will continue to shrink, but he expects the conventions will continue to play an important role in the presidential race.

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