This is surprising to me, but it appears that the preliminary TV ratings for McCain’s speech last night were higher than Obama’s. Granted, the numbers could change, but I didn’t think the numbers would even be close.
Gov. Palin’s speech had less than one million fewer viewers than Obama’s speech, but was carried on six networks to Obama’s ten. Obama had just over 37 million viewers to Palin’s over 36 million. Palin’s speech was the most-watched speech by a Vice Presidential contender in history.
What does this mean? Obviously the more viewers the better. Obama got fawning press and put on a great show. McCain’s speech was natural, and I have a feeling that it will play better with independent voters. If so, it is quite possible that McCain will get a stronger-than-expected convention bounce in the next set of polls. As with Obama, we have to wait until late next week to see if the bounce lasts, but McCain and Palin have undoubtedly exceeded expectations. If McCain outperforms Obama in the debates and reaches out to independent voters, this race could shift dramatically in the 60 days until Election Day.