Despite the media coverage being 100% negative from the opening bell to the closing ceremonies, the Republican National Convention proved to be a big hit for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. In the first national poll taken since the convention last week, CNN/ORC shows Trump now leading Hillary Clinton 44% to 39%. When third-party contenders Jill Stein and Gary Johnson are removed from the race, Trump retains a three-point lead over his Democratic challenger.
According to CNN, this is the first significant post-convention bounce in the polls in 16 years. Not since Al Gore and George W. Bush has any candidate been able to pull extra support from the ceremonies.
That changed this year, despite several controversial moments. Melania Trump stole attention away from her husband’s nomination when it was revealed that she cribbed a couple of lines from an old Michelle Obama speech. Then it was Ted Cruz’s turn to make a spectacle of himself, denying Trump his endorsement in a major public snub. And throughout it all, the press covered the virulent anti-Clinton sentiment in Cleveland as though an angry mob was getting ready to burn her house down.
Even so, Americans liked what they saw from Trump himself, who delivered a powerful speech on Thursday to accept the nomination. While many critics insisted that the speech was too “dark” and “fear-mongering,” it was apparently not seen that way from those who watched it. Those people didn’t see a man making things worse than they are; they saw a man willing to tell the truth – something few politicians are willing to do.
And at a time when the Democratic nominee (and, frankly, the entire Democratic National Committee) is seen as uniquely dishonest, Trump’s candor may be just what the public is looking for. He defeated his rivals in the primaries for several reasons, but one of the big ones was a perception that Trump alone would “tell it like it is.” He was the perfect antithesis to the smooth-talking Washington politician we’ve all come to despise.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s up against the ultimate Washington crook in November. And the closer we get, the more America is going to realize that Trump is the answer for what ails our politics.