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Key California Democrats Feel More Upbeat After The Conventions Than Republicans

What did influential California Democrats and Republicans have to say about their party convention? Find out the results of our Patch survey of influential party members.

California's influential Democrats came away from their national convention feeling significantly more optimistic that President Barack Obama will win a second term.

By comparison, our post-convention interviews found Republicans less certain that GOP nominee Mitt Romney would disrupt the incumbent's plans.

Patch recently surveyed key members of both major parties to gauge their responses to their own party's convention—and that of their opponents.

Of 72 influential Democrats who received the survey, 25 responded with their thoughts on President Obama's chances of reelection.

The California Republicans surveyed had a higher response rate: 41 out of 87 answered our survey.

Overall, about 80 percent of the Democrats felt more optimistic about President Obama's prospects after the party convention, while about 49 percent of Republicans felt better about Romney's chances.

About 10 percent of Republicans said they felt less confident in their candidate after the convention while 42 percent of Republicans said the convention did not change their opinions about Romney's chances in November.

No California Democrat surveyed said he or she felt less confident in Obama's chances after the convention.

But representatives from both parties are not all that confident that their party's convention festivities will heavily influence the outcome of the November presidential election.

Speeches by Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama were the highlights of the convention for many of the Democrats who responded to our survey.

"Two words. Bill Clinton," one of the Democrats said.

Another wrote: "Michelle Obama's speech illustrating the deep, personal connection that the president and his family have to the struggles of average Americans." 

Several Republicans who responded to our survey agreed, citing speeches by Clinton and the first lady as evidence that Democrats did things well at the convention.

"They chose Bill Clinton, silver-tongued devil, to do his thing," wrote one Republican. "Bubba can deliver the goods."

On the other hand, Republicans had mixed reviews of Clint Eastwood's speech at the Republican National Convention.

While some said it was the highlight of the convention, others said it was a little more embarrassing.

"I think the empty chair is a visual of an AWOL president, which will stick with us throughout the campaign thanks to the ramblings of Clint Eastwood," one Republican wrote.

"Unfortunately, Eastwood became the talk instead of Romney," said another Republican. "But the talk of his performance probably drew millions of people to his speech, who otherwise would not have listened to negative comments about Obama."

Some Democratic agreed with Republicans that Eastwood's speech was a miscalculation.

"The Eastwood dialogue with the empty chair was an interesting bit of performance art but far too abstract and rambling for such an event and it has become a meme for the GOP itself," wrote one Democrat. "Strange, out of touch and defying common sense."

The majority of the key Democrats who responded to our survey could not name a highlight of the RNC. Some mentioned speeches by Condoleezza Rice and Ann Romney while others noted Hurricane Isaac and an economic bump for Tampa.

Many Republicans who responded to our survey said the biggest missteps of the Democratic National Convention were the votes to exclude the word "God" and recognition of Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel from the party platform.

How much will the conventions affect the outcome of the November election?

Influential Republicans told Patch that both conventions will not weigh heavily on the outcome of the election. Five percent said it would be a big effect,  34 percent said the conventions will have somewhat of an effect, while 54 percent said it would not have much of an effect and 7 percent said the conventions would have no effect at all.

Democrats responded similarly. Sixteen percent said the conventions will have a big effect on the election's outcome, 48 percent said it would have somewhat of an effect, while 32 percent said it would not have much of an effect and 4 percent said the conventions would have no effect at all.

Did the candidates make a strong case for why they should be elected?

Most of the Republicans and Democrats surveyed said their party's candidate made a good case for why he should be elected president in November.

Of the Republicans surveyed, about 44 percent said they strongly agreed that Romney made a convincing case for his election.

Forty-eight percent of the Democrats said they strongly agreed the president made a strong case for his re-election.

Patch’s Red and Blue California Surveys

Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican and Democratic activists, party leaders and elected officials in California. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this latest set of questions.

Patch will be conducting Red California and Blue California surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in California.

Below are rosters of the California party members who have agreed to take our surveys. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in these surveys that last just a few minutes, please email Sandra.Oshiro@Patch.com

Red California Survey roster: Richard Adams (Studio City Neighborhood Council safety chief); Gary Aminoff (San Fernando Valley Republicans president); Bob Angel (voter); Michael Antonovich (Los Angeles County supervisor); Steve Baric (California Republican Party vice chair); Tony Beall (Rancho Santa Margarita City Council member); Nick Biddle (activist); Susan Blau (Studio City political activist); Galina Bondar (former chief of staff); Dion Bracco (Gilroy Council member, mayoral candidate); Carl Brickey (Cosumnes Republican Assembly president); Daniel M. Brown (San Francisco GOP Central Committee member); Sue Caro (County GOP chairwoman); Scott Carpenter (Orange County political blogger); Jenny Cartell (Birth Choice anti-abortion ministry executive director); Tamara Colbert (Tea Party member); John Colbert (former Republican candidate for Congress); Dylan Conroy (Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council representative); Irene DeBlasio (Republican activist); Steve Detrick (Elk Grove City Council member); Ben DiBenedetto (Studio City Neighborhood Council board member); Jane Diehl (Redondo Beach school board member); Chip Dykes (Oceanside City Council candidate); Laura Emdee (Redondo Beach school board member); Peter Fleming (Realtor); Heidi Gallegos (Rowland Unified School District Board member); Andrew Gayner (Carmichael Patch blogger); Mike Gin (Redondo Beach mayor); Debbie Giordana (City Council member); Gil Gonzalez (State Senate candidate); Bonnie Gore (Roseville City Council candidate); Ty Greaves (Berryessa Milpitas Republican Assembly president); David Hall (Mt. San Antonio College Board trustee); Kevin Hangman (RCC president); Greg Higley (Elk Grove mayoral candidate); Patrick Johnson (assistant campaign treasurer); Ernest Koeppen (La Canada Flintridge resident); Becky Kolberg (Contra Costa GOP chair); Bob Kowell (Murrieta-Temecula Republican Assembly president); Greg Krikorian (State Assembly candidate); Randon Lane (Murrieta City Councilman); Jim Light (balanced-growth advocate); Patrice Lynes (activist); Morgan Martinez (former governor aide); Larry Masuoka (San Juan Unified School District Board member); Brad McGirr (Rancho Santa Margarita planning commissioner); Gina McNelley (Capistrano Valley Republican Women Federated member); Bridget Melson (East Bay Tea Party chair); Mark Meuser (State Senate candidate); Nathan Mintz (former State Assembly candidate); Larry Molton (California GOP member); Nina Mourning (Carmichael Republican); Roger Niello (Sacramento County Chamber of Commerce president); Chris Orrock (Elk Grove Republicans Club head); Barbara Ortega (former State Assembly candidate); Gayle Pacheco (Republican Women Federated member); Chris Pareja (congressional candidate); Aaron Park (Placer County Republican Assembly president); Al Phillips (State Assembly candidate); Mary Piepho (Contra Costa County supervisor); Pam Pinkston (Carmichael Tea Party leader); Mark Pruner (Yolo County Republican Party president); Al Restivo (Former La Canada Republicans Club president); Matt Rexroad (Yolo County supervisor); Pauline Roccucci (Roseville Mayor); Elizabeth Sanford (political consultant); Bill Saracino (State Assembly District 43rd chair); Sophia Scherman (Elk Grove City Council member); Scott Schmidt (Former LA Chapter Log Cabin Republicans president); Howard Schmidt (chief of staff for Sacramento County supervisor); Nick Shih (activist); Suzanne St. John (activist); Jay Stern (State Assembly candidate); Mary Su (Walnut mayor); Gino Sund (Altadena Town Council member); Oksana Svityashchuk (campaign public relations); Jim Tapscot (Ramona TEA'D group member); Peter Tateishi (State Assembly candidate); Brad Torgan (LA Chapter Log Cabin Republicans president); Phillip Tufi (former State Assembly candidate); Valentina Vasilchuk (campaign media officer); Steve Vaus (city budget review committee member); Bob Walters (former San Juan Unified School Board member); Gary Walton (business owner); Kevin Waterson (college administrator); John Webb (businessman).

Blue California roster:  Peter Arellano (Gilroy council member); Anita Avrick (Redondo Beach school board member); Michael Barber (San Mateo supervisor's aide); Kathy Bisbee (CMAP executive director); Gary Bienner (former supervisor candidate); Reginald Bronner (former State Assembly candidate); Jennifer Browning (campaign volunteer); David Burruto (San Mateo County Democratic Party chair); Ralph Carhart (Fair Oaks recreation and parks district board member); Nancy Chaires (Elk Grove planning commissioner); Jay Chen (congressional candidate); Norman Chramoff (Democratic Party member); Ken Cooley (State Assembly candidate); Joice Corridori (Agoura political activist); Payne Domingo (Gilroy school board trustee); James Donnelly (Democratic Club president); John Duran (West Hollywood councilman); Pablo Espinoza (media director); Lucas Frerichs (Davis city councilman); Michelle Garcia (party member); Gary Giacomo (Democratic Club member); Joanne Gifford (DNC delegate); Armando Gomez (Milpitas councilman); Marsha Grilli (school board member); Alan Haskvitz (teacher); Don Helverson (teacher); Lindsey Horvath (city council member); Howard Hwang (party member); Juliana Inman (city council member); Louise Jaffe (college trustee); Sarah Johnson (community activist); Jessie Kallman (Democratic Club executive director); Michael Kapp (political activist); Ro Khanna (former Obama administration official); Kris Kingdon (former chamber executive director); Karen Knecht (Democratic Club member); Jeff Kravitz (attorney); Keith LaMar (activist); Kristina Lawson (city council member); Dotty LeMieux (Democratic Central Committee of Marin first vice-chair); Todd Loewenstein (school board member); Mary Ann Mancuso (party member); Jennifer Mason Wolfe (teacher); Richard M. Mathews (LACDP vice-chair, Region 1); Gary Miller (county party central committee member); Vince Monroy (communications director); Katrina Morales (activist); Harry Munns (harbor commissioner); Mark Nielsen (former mayor); Don Nottoli (supervisor); Marc Perkel (church founder); Jeffrey Prang (mayor); Diana Prola (school board member); Kish Rajan (city council member); Linda Rubin (party member); Ilona Saari (author); Tony Santos (former mayor); Tim Sbranti (mayor); Jane Schafer-Kramer (labor union activist); Bob Schelen (county party chair); Darren Suen (former city council candidate); Joe Terry (talk show host); Robin Torello (Democrat Club chairwoman); James Tsai (party member); Cat Tucker (Gilroy mayor pro tempore); Mark van Gorder (supervisor candidate); Ron Varasteh (congressional candidate); Jill Wain Meniatis (Democratic Club member); John Walker (neighborhood council president); Lee Walkup (party member); Shelia Young (former mayor); Laurence Zakson (convention delegate)

Did you follow either or both conventions? Which party do you think won more independent hearts and minds? And why?

Frank Geefay September 22, 2012 at 12:11 AM
In general the caliber of key speeches for the Democrats was significantly better that the Republicans and covered different angles about the president. Michelle spoke about the person, the father, the husband where they came from; Clinton attacked the claims of the Romney campaign very effectively; Obama addressed his accomplishments and going forward. The Republicans talked about bashing Obama and clearly followed the Tea Party’s line. But I agree that the two conventions have changed few minds, perhaps 1-2%. It will be the upcoming debates that will most likely have the greatest impact. I would like to hear more said about policy differences than bashing one another. I still do not understand why the Republicans have such disdain towards Obama. Is it because he is black? I still hear people questioning his birth place. Or is it his strange Arab sounding name? Had he been white would they still have hated him so much? I also don’t understand why Republicans can ignore the need for Romney to release the last few years of his tax returns, or let him get away with not being specific as to how he will change taxes especially since taxes are one of his main campaign issues. Is he hiding something? Does he even have a tax reform strategy other than to lower taxes for the wealthy? His vagueness about his taxes and tax strategy should be something everyone should want to know.
Eye B. Tender September 25, 2012 at 01:26 AM
"I still do not understand why the Republicans have such disdain towards Obama." I'm a lifetime Independent. My opposition to the Dirty Demos is all about their policy and how it relates to my lifetime study of history. They're plain out dirty liars and absolutely wrong about most everything.

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