Influential Iowa Republicans overwhelmingly say the Republican National Convention was a success, but most only had tepid agreement about how well the GOP did in a few key areas, including defining presidential nominee Mitt Romney and appealing to the middle class, according to Patch's latest Red Iowa survey.
While 44 percent of respondents strongly agreed that the convention did a good job of defining Romney in a way that will help him win November's election, another 51 percent only somewhat agreed and 5 percent somewhat disagreed.
Many of the Republican respondents appeared to put partisanship aside when it came to their analysis of the Democratic National Convention. Forty percent of respondents somewhat agreed that the DNC successfully defined President Barack Obama in a way that that will lead him to victory. Of course, another 55 percent either strongly or somewhat disagreed.
The 41 Republicans responding to the Red Iowa survey are a mix of current and former office holders, party leaders, candidates and activists. The survey was inspired by academic research that showed endorsements by party "actors" at all levels are a critical leading indicator of primary presidential elections.
Red Iowa looks at the mood of influential Republicans as campaigning for the general election approaches. Those who agree to take part in the survey are noted below, but individual answers are kept confidential. Patch also runs Blue Iowa, our survey of influential state Democrats.
Call for comment: What is your takeaway from the Democratic and GOP conventions?
The survey, conducted last week, also found Republicans in agreement that the RNC did a good job firing up the base to turn out the vote to defeat President Obama.
Forty-five percent of participants either strongly agreed the RNC fired up the base, while 50 percent somewhat agreed. When looking at the DNC, 35 percent strongly agreed in the success of firing up the base to re-elect Obama while 30 percent somewhat agreed.
National polls suggest that Obama came out of the convention with a bounce, while Romney didn't fall but didn't get a bump. A New York Times blog analysis show Romney getting a short spike, while Obama got an extended bump.
One key demographic both parties are trying to tap is the middle class. According to the Red Iowa survey, The RNC was more successful in its appeal to the middle class than the DNC, but it was far from a confident endorsement. Sixty percent of respondents somewhat agreed that the RNC had appealed to the middle class.
Half as many, 30 percent, somewhat agreed that the Democrats appealed to the middle class, while 43 percent somewhat disagreed.
Meanwhile, takeaways from the conventions are across the board.
Clint Eastwood got a couple nods for the RNC.
"Clint Eastwood unvetted was terrific," one person wrote.
A mix of positive and negative words were used to describe the RNC: "soft," "scripted," "adequate," "invigorating," and "inspirational."
"Renewed energy but still not clear how we are going to turn America around," one person submitted.
Another, said the RNC highlighted a "schism" within the Republican Party.
More negative than positive about the DNC. "Lies," several people wrote. "God-less," "anti-American," and "fluff," other wrote. However, some clearly were impressed with former President Clinton.
"Clinton may have sealed the deal for Obama's re-election," one person wrote.
Patch will have the response from Democrats in the Blue Iowa survey later this week.
Participants in Red Iowa and Blue Iowa are noted, but their answers are kept confidential.
If you’d like to take part in either survey, contact Iowa Regional Editor Todd Richissin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Red Iowa Roster: State Sen. Jack Whitver, Randy Munson, Amanda Freel, Steve Boal, State Rep. Kevin Koester, Carmine Boal, Rick Hermann, Wade Steenhoek, Skye Alison, Mike St. Clair, Jeremy Davis, Cory Adams, Chad Steenhoek, Rick Sanders, Ronald Stenstrom, Mike Nolan, Marilyn Krocheski, Karen Svede, Paul Fell, James Wilson, Dusty Juhl, Elizabeth Kuennen, Robert White, Jeff Angelo, George Forbes, Darrow Uhlenhopp, Jacqui Norman, Ben Rittgers, Randy Yontz, Chad Airhart, Isaiah McGee, Shane Blanchard, Rob Taylor, Jon McAvoy, Mike Elam, Chris McLinden, Arleigh Clemens, Deb Thornton, Cynthia Michel, William Keettel, Natalie Ginty, Debra Derksen, Irene Chalmers-Neubauer, Roger Anderson, Leah Adams, Tim Hagle, Jim Sandager, Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell, Charles Schneider, Mary Kramer, Jim Aipperspach, Steve Gaer, Eric Woolson, Gregory Hudson, Gary Kirke, Westside Conservative Club Founder Paul Zietlow, State Rep. Scott Raecker, Jacob Chapman, Jill Ellsworth, Polk County Supervisor E.J. Giovannetti, Paula Dierenfeld, Urbandale City Councilman Creighton Cox, Andy Christenson, Connie Schmett, Will Rogers, Matt Nolan, Paul French, Kathy French, Judd Saul, Greg Tagtow, Mac McDonald.