Bounce Wars

My column in the Sunday Examiner takes a look at the upcoming conventions. I’ve thought for some time that Barack Obama will receive a considerable bounce from the Democratic convention and that John McCain will receive a smaller one. Now I’m not so sure.

The reason is suggested in the opening paragraphs:

Earlier this month, a Pew Research Center study found that 48 percent of those surveyed – and 51 percent of political independents – said they had heard “too much” about Barack Obama. Only 26 percent (and 28 percent of independents) said they had heard too much about John McCain.

The easy explanation for this phenomenon is “Obama fatigue” – a feeling of overload resulting from the immense amount of coverage lavished on the celebrity-candidate.

A deeper phenomenon may also be at work. With 80 percent of Americans believing that the country is on the “wrong track,” the urge to vote for a transformational candidate is powerful. But the more voters hear about (and from) this particular transformational candidate, the harder it may become for them to yield to their desire.

The resulting dissonance may explain why they would prefer to hear less. Obama thus stands for “change we can believe in” provided we are spared from exposure to the agent of that change.

Which brings us to the upcoming national conventions.

You can read the rest of it here.

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