Americans heard more positive news about each of the two major candidates for president following their conventions, with former Vice President Joe Biden earning a bigger boost than President Donald Trump after their parties’ conventions.
These findings come from The Breakthrough, a project from CNN, SSRS and researchers from Georgetown University and the University of Michigan asking Americans what they have heard, read or seen about each of the presidential candidates lately. The survey was in the field beginning the second day of the Republican National Convention and continued through Sunday night.
Trump’s bump from the RNC wasn’t quite as high as Biden’s, whose average sentiment grew dramatically after the Democratic National Convention. The RNC did put a slight dent in positivity about Biden, but his average remained more positive than Trump’s overall.
There is also a notable partisan divide in the types of words people use to talk about these two candidates. Democrats are broadly positive toward Biden and generally negative about Trump. For Republicans, though, the sentiment toward Biden is less negative, and there is a smaller gap between the sentiments they express when talking about Trump vs. Biden.
Regardless of sentiment, this week’s survey finds more people seeing, reading or hearing something about both Trump and Biden than in the past nine weeks of testing: 80% said they heard something about Trump recently, 75% about Biden.
Trump’s No. 1 mentioned word this week was “convention,” replacing coronavirus as his top word for the first time in the nine weeks of testing.
Other words mentioned in reference to Trump were centered on the conventions, including “speech” and “White House,” where Trump accepted his party’s nomination. Other notable words rising for Trump this week included “economy,” the phrase “drug test” – which he brought up in regard to the upcoming presidential debates – and the “National Guard.” Trump announced last week that he was planning to visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, where protests have erupted after a Black man was shot by the police there; Trump’s visit occurred after the poll’s fielding period.
Mentions of Sen. Kamala Harris continued to be the top word for Biden. The Democratic vice presidential nominee delivered a speech last week ahead of Trump’s acceptance speech. Almost all of Biden’s new words this week, though, involved Jacob Blake’s shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Blake’s shooting at the hands of police has sparked protests in Kenosha against police brutality. New words related to it for Biden included “Jacob Blake,” “Wisconsin,” “Kenosha,” “protest,” “condemns” and “shot.”
A notable number also mentioned Biden’s assertion that Trump was rooting for violence, something Biden told CNN last week. “These guys are rooting for violence,” Biden said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “That is what it is all about.” “Root” landed in the top five new words for Biden this week, and “rooting for violence” was in the top 10 for combined words.