Following last week’s Democratic National Convention, the Republican Party is holding their National Convention this week to formally nominate Donald Trump and Mike Pence as its Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates for the 2020 Election. Redfield & Wilton Strategies polled the US public on their response to the Republican National Convention and Donald Trump’s Vice Presidential options.

Halfway through the Convention, only 23% of respondents said they were following it closely, whereas a further 40% said they were following it somewhat closely.

Respondents between the ages of 18-to-24 were the least likely to at least somewhat follow the Convention (54%), which may be because only 24% of them say they intend to vote for Donald Trump in the 2020 Election. Meanwhile, across all age groups over the age of 25, 62-65% followed the Convention at least somewhat.

In light of the risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Republican Convention was attended by only 336 delegates in Charlotte, North Carolina, a rather understated affair compared to the 2,472 delegates who were present at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Nonetheless, this still represented a degree of in-person attendance in contrast with the Democratic National Convention, which was held entirely virtually. House minority leader Kevin McCarthy defended the decision to invite some delegates in-person, saying “I hope you realise the difference between Democratic and Republican conventions, our nominees show up.” Public opinion was split, with 30% approving of the decision to invite some delegates in-person and 32% disapproving.

Among likely Trump voters, the majority (54%) approved of inviting some delegates in-person compared to 7% who disapproved, and among likely Biden voters, figures were reversed with 54% disapproving of the decision and 15% approving. Throughout the coronavirus crisis, likely Biden voters have been more sensitive to coronavirus risks, a finding which was further confirmed by 78% of likely Biden voters approving of the decision to hold last week’s Democratic National Convention entirely virtually.

Despite the importance of in-person rallies to the Trump campaign ever since he announced his candidacy in 2015, the Republican Party decided to conduct other aspects of the Convention virtually. 50% of the public approved of the Party conducting the rest of the Convention online in comparison to just 10% who disapproved. 56% of likely Trump voters approved of having the rest of the event online, showing that while Trump supporters are less likely to be concerned about coronavirus, they support mitigation of risks in a country beset by the virus

Amid suggestions that Trump should replace his current Vice President Mike Pence with Nikki Haley, a former Senator of South Carolina and US Ambassador to the UN, our research tracked her perception in this year’s Republican National Convention. Haley’s speech, given on the first day of the Convention, was watched by 38% of respondents in our poll.

Viewership was only 10 points lower than Michelle Obama’s eighteen-minute speech, which the former First Lady gave on the first night of the Democratic Convention. Three quarters (75%) of respondents who watched approved of Michelle Obama’s speech with only 15% disapproving. An overwhelming 96% of likely Biden supporters approved of Michelle Obama’s speech, as well as 35% of likely Trump voters. 

Haley’s nine-minute speech featured praise for Trump’s foreign policy, as well as references to her experience growing up as a woman of color in America. Among those who watched her speech, 66% approved, including 91% of likely Trump voters and 33% of likely Biden voters.

After Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his running mate, which a plurality believed happened primarily because Harris is a woman of color, some have suggested that a Trump-Haley team might make for a more competitive ticket. Nonetheless, our research found that the plurality (46%) of likely Trump voters would oppose replacing Pence as Trump’s Vice Presidential nominee, compared to just 24% who would support replacing him with someone else.

Indeed, when asking about Haley specifically, our poll found that only 28% of likely Trump voters would support Nikki Haley replacing Mike Pence as Trump’s Vice Presidential nominee. However, only 27% would oppose Haley replacing Pence, whereas 34% said they would neither support nor oppose. Nonetheless, as shown above, the plurality of likely Trump voters would oppose Pence being replaced by someone else.

In the wake of the Democratic National Convention last week, Biden experienced a 3% bump in the polls putting him 10-points ahead of Trump.. Although Biden has retained his 10% lead in our voting intention poll this week, Trump may still receive a boost in our poll next week, since the Republican National Convention will continue until Thursday 27th August.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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