America’s Cycles of Change

The Election Campaign After The Conventions

Sun, 31 July 2016

This is the fifth successive US presidential campaign I have covered professionally from beginning to end for large news organizations on three continents – including this one – and certain patterns become very familiar over time.

The two or three weeks after the end of the two national conventions are some of the most crucial times in the entire campaign.

The conventions present, they showcase their candidates, policies and messages to enormous national audiences for four nights in a row. They attack and seek to discredit each other. Most of all they seek to define themselves and redefine each other in the minds of the national political audience.

These perceptions matter. They last. The polling patterns we see emerging a within a week or two of the end of the election period tend to last to define and guide the rest of the campaign. It is very unlikely to see major changes in public perception occurring until literally the last days before the election.