Tampa hosts Republican National Convention

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The Republican National Convention, which was forced to reschedule many of its activities due to the threat of Hurricane Isaac, concludes tonight in Tampa, Fla. with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney scheduled to formally accept the party’s nomination for president.

On Tuesday, Romney secured the nomination after the majority of delegates to the convention voted in favor of his candidacy. Romney will outline his vision for the presidency in his acceptance speech tonight at 9 p.m. The Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina next week.

Romney’s nomination follows a recent Marquette law poll taken from a pool of likely voters on August 16 to 19. The poll reported that 49 percent of Wisconsin voters plan to vote for President Barack Obama and 46 percent plan to vote for Romney. In a previous poll taken on August 2 to 5, Obama led 50 to 45 percent, showing a slight 2-point shift in Romney’s direction in the most recent poll.

While this shift could be a result of the addition of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) as Romney’s running mate, Marquette political science professor John McAdams said people should be careful of over-interpreting the poll.

“It is certainly possible that there is a small Ryan bounce in Wisconsin,” McAdams said. “It is plausible, but I would want to see more data before coming to that conclusion. Even with a very good poll, I would want to see more data, because even though the statistical margin of error in polls like this tends to be on the conservative side, other margins of error do come into play.”

The poll is part of an ongoing polling project by the Marquette Law School that will document voter trends throughout the election season.

While Mitt Romney has certainly been central to discussion surrounding both voting polls and the Republican National Convention, it is his wife, Ann Romney, who stole the show Tuesday night with her convention speech.

Amid a storm of political speeches, Ann Romney chose to refrain from talking about politics or the election, speaking instead about her family.

Haley Carter, sophomore in the College of Communication and member of the College Republicans, said the strength of Ann Romney’s speech was that it allowed Americans to get acquainted with the Romney family.

“America is very familiar with the Obama family,” Carter said. “We’re so familiar with seeing the daughters and Michelle, and while Mitt Romney could be seen as ambiguous, his family might be seen this way even more so because we see even less of them. So to actually hear Ann Romney’s words and get her point of view helps to put his family and his family values into the spotlight.”

While Ann Romney’s speech gave America a peek into the Romney family, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s speech went another direction, emphasizing both Wisconsin’s dropping unemployment rate and praise for Romney’s choice of Ryan as his running mate.

“With this pick, (Romney) showed us that the ‘R’ next to his name doesn’t just stand for Republican,” Walker said. “It stands for reformer.”

Andy Suchorski, chair of College Democrats of Wisconsin and senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said that he didn’t think the  convention speakers would be received well by college voters.

“When you look at the line up of speakers, you can see that their platforms are so extreme that they don’t resonate with the people of Wisconsin,” he said. “This is an extreme republican party that doesn’t resonate with young people.”

Suchorski is one of three delegates from Marquette who will attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. The others are Zach Bowman and Zack Henderson, both sophomores in the College of Arts & Sciences.

The Marquette Law Poll for August 16 to 19 echoed this approval of Governor Walker, with results demonstrating a job approval rating of 50 percent and 46 percent disapproval. Walker’s ratings in the Marquette polls have been similar all year, even in the face of the recall election, and he has mostly come out of the polls with more approval than disapproval ratings.

McAdams suggested that this could be the result of polarization.

“It is not surprising to get this kind of stability with polarization, and I think we have a polarized situation with Gov. Walker’s approval and disapproval ratings,” McAdams said.

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