Leaders of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign clearly think picking Charlotte as the site for the 2012 Democratic National Convention will help them re-take North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes this year.
Campaign manager Jim Messina said as much to reporters recently: “We put the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in part because we believe so strongly” that winning North Carolina and Virginia is a path to victory.
But is there any evidence that holding a convention in a state helps the candidate win it in November?
Not really. And yet . . .
That was the answer the Observer got from Josh Putnam, a professor of political science at Davidson College and author of an influential political blog called Frontloading HQ (frontloading.blogspot.com)
“There’s no evidence of that,” he said, “but with a few caveats. Traditionally, these things have been held in big cities and the same big cities over and over again. New York, Chicago, L.A . . . . We have not, prior to 2008, seen an effort on the part of the parties to specifically select sites based on how they would play in the general election.”
In 2008, though, the Democrats picked Denver in hopes of winning Colorado (they did) and Republicans selected St. Paul in hopes of winning Minnesota (they didn’t).
Then Putnam said this, which is the “And yet” part.
“We’ve seen a pretty clear trend over the last 20 years: The Democrats have not lost a state they’ve held a convention in – since 1988 in Atlanta,” he said. “And Republicans have not won a state in which they’ve held a convention – since 1992, when the convention was in Houston and Bush won Texas.”
Here's the record:
1992: Convention in New York; Clinton-Gore carries New York.
1996: Convention in Chicago; Clinton-Gore carries Illinois.
2000: Convention in Los Angeles; Gore-Lieberman carries California.
2004: Convention in Boston; Kerry-Edwards carries Massachusetts.
2008: Convention in Denver; Obama-Biden carries Colorado.
2012: Convention in Charlotte; will Obama-Biden carry North Carolina?
1996: Convention in San Diego; Dole-Kemp loses California.2000: Convention in Philadelphia; Bush-Cheney loses Pennsylvania.
2004: Convention in New York; Bush-Cheney loses New York.
2008: Convention in St. Paul; McCain-Palin loses Minnesota.
2012: Convention in Tampa; will GOP ticket carry Florida?