- Associated Press - Thursday, August 23, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - Patriotic music? Check. Balloon drop? Check. Sign-waving delegates? Check.

Viewer interest in this summer’s Republican and Democratic national conventions? Still unclear.

With the parties’ quadrennial presidential nominating gatherings fast approaching, organizers on both sides are bedeviled by a similar challenge: how to increase TV viewer interest in the multiday affairs, which threaten to be largely predictable spectacles nearly devoid of suspense.

The conventions were a ratings hit in 2008, when Democrat Barack Obama became the first black presidential nominee for a major party and Sarah Palin made her national debut as Republican John McCain’s running mate.

This year’s gatherings promise fewer gee-whiz moments, with both party’s nominees long settled and polls showing public confidence in politics and government at a record low.

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