opportunities to present a positive image of himself. Since most voters had little familiarity with Romney, it was very important for Romney to have a positive campaign that gave voters reasons to vote for him, as opposed to merely voting against Barack Obama. In addition to positive ads, Romney's major opportunities were the Republican Convention and the debates in October, should he do well at those.
Now that the Republican Convention is over, how can we determine its impact? By all accounts, the participants (particularly Ann Romney and Mitt himself) gave good performances. They were able to humanize Romney and introduce him as a personality to voters who didn't know who he was. For most voters, Romney's convention speech was the first time they had seen a Romney speech, and it was probably the best he had ever given. But did it make a difference?
At last, polling will begin to provide very valuable information about the candidates' respective chances of winning the election. If Romney's convention achieved its goals, Romney should see his numbers go up in the polls. Obama does not have an equivalent opportunity to get a "bounce" from his own convention, since voters are already familiar with him. They may even have difficulty watching the speeches if they are the cool, sarcastic attacks on Romney that most observers expect.
It's likely that there will be a battery of polls being released early next week, just as the Democrats' convention is being held. If Romney does not register a bounce in those polls, his battle to win the White House will be more uphill than expected. Then, the week after the Democratic convention, polls should indicate whether the Democrats succeeded in wiping out Romney's bounce. And the week after that, with both potential "bounces" having a chance to subside, we should get a clearer picture as to where the candidates stand, going into the debates.