Polls So Far: No Convention Bounce for Mitt Romney (UPDATED)

Polls so far show no big convention bounce for Republican Presidential nominee in the wake of the Republican convention. In fact, one shows he has lost a bit of ground gained this week:

A modest bump in popularity for U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney from this week’s Republican Party convention looks to be short-lived, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Democratic President Barack Obama regained a narrow lead on Saturday by 44 percent to 43 percent over his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Romney, in the latest daily installment of the four-day rolling poll.

Romney was ahead by one point in Friday’s online poll and two points in Thursday’s survey as his campaign came under a blaze of media attention at the convention in Tampa, Florida.

In his acceptance speech on Thursday, Romney urged voters to get behind him and help rebuild the economy. His address followed three days of speeches by Republicans, including testimonies from Romney’s relatives and friends aimed at improving the image of a candidate who is often seen as stiff or aloof.

“This wasn’t a lightning bolt convention,” Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said. “Comparatively speaking, this was a more muted convention in general … So it doesn’t surprise me that (the bump in polls) wasn’t a great deal bigger.”

Post-convention poll bounces are common and typically short-lived, and Obama could see one himself next week after he formally accepts his party’s nomination for a second term at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

But with the candidates treading water in a dead-heat race, Clark said she expected polls to remain extremely close all the way to the November 6 vote.

Gallup has Obama back at one point ahead of Romney after trailing slightly this week.

And here’s the Pollster average of 419 polls which still shows Obama on the descent and Romney on the ascent:

FOOTNOTE: There will be more polls out this week. One or two polls does NOT a trend make. But if others suggest no bounce, then the next question will be whether the Dems can get a bigger bounce out of their convention. Despite the truly mind-boggling claim by a SMALL number of Republicans that Clint Eastwood’s appearance was a masterstroke that’ll help swing the election to Mitt Romney, I suspect in the end it’ll turn out that Eastwood didn’t help Romney and probably stalled his efforts to win over a chunk of independent voters. The country is almost evenly divided; the swing voters WILL matter in this election. It doesn’t look — from these two polls — as if Romney made great headway here. Can Barack Obama and the Dems? Or are conventions now really a relic of other centuries, getting less and less attention from Americans who get their info from other sources and are increasingly locked into partisan preferences where conventions may not matter as much as they once seemingly did?

Photo: shutterstock.com

UPDATE: Doug Mataconis who wrote on these same polls has just posted this:

It should be noted that, since the article linked above was posted, Rasmussen has released its latest update to the Daily Tracking Poll this morning which puts the race at Romney 48% Obama 44%, a four point advantage for Romney. As Nate Silver notes, one factor for the lack of movement in the polls post-convention, at least so far, is likely due to the fact that viewership was down significantly from either of the party conventions four years ago. When you have fewer people watching, for whatever reason, you’re not going to see much movement in the polls. It’s also worth noting that the network news coverage of the convention, the method by which most viewers who did watch saw the proceedings, only provided one hour of coverage a night. This means that, even many of the people who did watch the convention only saw very limited parts of it. And, of course, Hurricane Isaac obviously diverted the attention of many people away from the goings on in Tampa. As for the non-viewers, if they did see any news coverage of the convention at all it was likely the silly stuff like the Clint Eastwood “performance,” which pretty much sucked up all of the news cycle on the day after the most important speech of Mitt Romney’s political career. Add to that the end of the convention coincided with the beginning of the Labor Day holiday weekend, and it’s easy to understand why people weren’t watching, and why the convention doesn’t appear to be giving Romney much of the lift in the polls.

In reality of course, the importance of the convention bounce is vastly overstated by political pundits and reporters. On average, according to Gallup’s figures, the average bounce has been about five points (the largest was Bill Clinton’s post-convention bounce of 16 points in 1992), but in most cases the relative difference between the two candidate’s bounces has only been about two or three points. This means that, after all the dust settles, conventions tend to only have a negligible impact on the state of the race. Given the fact that the race to date this year has been, as James Joyner has described it, a “steady state election,” it’s likely that the bounces for both candidates from their conventions are likely to be small to non-existent. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind, though, is the fact that, going back to 1952, the candidate who was leading before the conventions ended up winning the election eighty percent of the time. In other words, the much ballyhooed “convention bounce” isn’t nearly as important as the breathless pundits want you to think it is.

And, again, its the average of polls that is most important and like Pollster, Real Clear Politics’ average shows Romney on the ascent and Obama on the descent:

And spin may not be that important, anyway. CNN:

Perhaps bigger than whatever bounce Romney might get out of the convention will be his ability to go on an ad spending spree. Federal law prevented Romney from spend the millions of dollars he’s been sitting on until he officially became the party’s nominee. That will allow Romney to spread his message far beyond the campaign trail.

12 Comments

  1. I’ve seen pols with a 4 point bump and trending up, but as you wrote, we will know more later.

  2. “Polls so far show no big convention bounce for Republican Presidential nominee in the wake of the Republican convention. In fact, one shows he has lost a bit of ground gained this week:”

    Actually, there was a 6 point swing in 1 poll (Rasmussen I think), so there was a spike in at least 1 poll. Gallup polls over 7 days, so you will need to wait at least until next Monday or Tues to see if there is bounce. Even the Reuters polls you claim is showing no bounce had Obama up 4 – 5 at the beginning of the week, so that poll moved in his favor as well.

    Your point about the Clint Eastwood is Liberal spin: Let’s wait a while before we conclude his appearance was a plus or minus. I saw one poll out of Florida that goes against the Lib meme that Eastwood was a flop:

    http://www.surveyusa.com/clien.....da08c8d518

    Most ominous for Obama and all you Liberals that claim he has this election in the bag: He is dangerously close to the Mid 40% range in all these polls. The enthusiasm just isn’t there for him compared to 2008, and there has NEVER been an election is history where late breakers and undecideds break for an incumbent they already know with a dubious record, especially on the economy.

    Besides, you cannot trust these media polls that have Dem oversamples by 10% – 20%. I just saw a report that says Repubs are at the high water mark as a % or registered voters in history. I don’t think Obama wants to test going into election day in the mid 40% range rely on a bunch a mdeia polls that oversamples Dems.

  3. With most voters already leaning one way or the other long before now I question if big convention bounces are even possible any more.

  4. SJ, wake up and smell the coffee – Eastwood’s bit was bizarre and it freaked out a lot of republicans. Of course they try to put a positive spin on it afterwords, that’s called “damage control”. Also, I don’t know anyone who thinks Obama has this election in the bag – least of all liberals. The barrage of propaganda the Romney people will be unleashing over the next couple months will be unmatched by the democrats who simply don’t have those Oligarchy connections and dollars. Thank-you Roberts court for that blow to democracy.

  5. “Your point about the Clint Eastwood is Liberal spin”

    ?

    the only people saying that CE helped Romney are the people that get paid to do so…included journalists that are on the right, like Noonan for instance. Reports from behind closed doors say that Reps are not too happy with CE pushing Romney out of prime time.

  6. SMOOTH JAZZ: FYI dismssing everything as “liberal spin” and calling everyone “you liberals” might be considered constructive on some sites but really not here. I guess you did NOT read in this post the line under UPDATE that says others polls will be coming in. We will have a much better idea of where Romney is on bounce in a few days. I’m adding Doug Mataconis for the update on Rasmusssen.

    But rather than just do a comment noting this new poll (that I see came out AFTER this was posted) your comment goes on about “liberals” and “liberal spin.” This is so sympomatic of how many partisans don’t even bother to engage in a conversation but feel name calling and defining is what it’s all about. FYI

    The Pollster average of polls is at the bottom of my post so so much for it being some kind of insidious “liberal” spin by someone who was once a Republican, voted for Reagan and is now an independent voter. No, I really don’t have David Alexrod emailing me and going on Skype telling me how to do my posts.

    Also, in MANY of my posts on polls and in my cagle column I have noted how partisans have this habit of somehow questioning the methodology of polls they do not like — but never somehow questioning the methdology of polls they like. Both sides play this tiresome game.

    And Eastwood? I truly laugh when I read that this is all a liberal narrative. Then there must be an awful lot of Republican conservatives who are really closet liberals disguised as Republicans.

    Search on Google and see all the REPUBLICANS who were aghast at his performance, which is not being criticized for political content as much as for it being a political bit that was supposed to hammer home a political point and leave an image — a bit that flopped.

    Now, Bill Maher felt Eastwood “killed.” But it was like a comedy bit that bombed; it shoved the reportedly excellent Romney bio out of the 10 pm hour, and sucked up some of the day after discussion on the news programs. All of that time on websites, Twitter, cable and news stations talking about the Eastwood performance could have gone to focus on Romney speech content…and it didn’t. And precisely what independent voter would change his or her vote or what non-Republican would vote for Romney on anything Eastwood SAID or communicated?

    Rather than Eastwood the icon, the image was of an older movie star not at the top of his game on stage not effectively delivering a message that could have been delivered far more effectively and had more impact with a scripted speech.

    That is the reality and trying to change the image by dismissing this as “liberal” talk convinces absolutely no one who saw it or watched the You Tube — and I am sure that includes many Republican strategists.

    Your comments are welcome here, but the “liberal spin” cliche undercuts any serious argument you try to make. It’s not always SPIN that you see but a different PERSPECTIVE that may not be liberal but just not where you are coming from. Why not try to simply explain your perspective without trying to define others when you see something you don’t agree with.

  7. “And Eastwood? I truly laugh when I read that this is all a liberal narrative. Search on Google and see all the REPUBLICANS who were aghast at his performance, which is not being criticized for political content as much as a bit that flopped.”

    Didn’t mean to offend you, but your contention that Eastwood flopped and would have come off better if he was more scripted, is, arguably, media/beltway echo chamber conventional wisdom. Did you even check the SurveyUSA poll I linked to which indicated that Florida voters responded to Eastwood schtick favorably?? Yes, I’ve read the reviews by the media elites and NY/DC types (Repub & Dem), but a case can be made that a “non conventional” presentation of what Obama promised versus what he has delivered by a non politician who isn’t polished may resonate.

    Anyways, as I write this Obama’s approval rating in the Gallup Daily tracker is 43% and Rasmussen has Romney leading Obama 48% – 44%. If Obama truly is at 43% – 44% right now, that is more ominous and dangerous for him that any juiced NY Times/CBS poll for OH that samples 10% more Repubs that Dems. I don’t believe an incumbent has ever been re-elected with pre election polls in the low 40%, in part because late breakers usually don’t vote for an incumbent they’ve known for 4 years and 43% – 44% is a long way to 50%.

  8. Rasmussen works for Fox News. He showed Romney ahead or just a point or two behind Obama all year which most people (Nate Silver) questioned. Just before the convention, he showed Obama two or three points ahead and now Romney four points ahead. Rasmussen just wanted to give Romney a bounce. I think most of the media pretty much discounts Rasmussen. The more reliable polls are Gallup which shows that Romney flatlined and the Ipso poll which shows a little bump then a dip back down. Rasmussen is also playing with the Missouri Senate race. He showed McCaskill with a ten point lead — that was just to scare everyone (especially Todd Akin) into being convinced that Akin should get out of the race. McCaskill said that if people believe she has a ten-point lead, maybe they’ll believe that she just turned 29. Don’t put any stock into Rasmussen.

  9. Arguing over the daily tracking polls and approval ratings is fun, but where the rubber hits the road is the electoral vote. That’s why I’m a fan of:

    http://www.electoral-vote.com

    As it stands today, Obama is clobbering Romney 332-206. To be sure, the post-convention bounce (if there is one) hasn’t hit the state level polls the site relies upon, but even if Mitt got a 4 point bounce in Florida, for example, it still wouldn’t be enough.

    And that’s quite odd, all things considered. Obama is the weakest incumbent President we’ve had since at least George H.W. Bush, and perhaps even the weakest since Carter. At this point he shouldn’t be anywhere near striking distance of a challenger, let alone dead even in most polls.

  10. “media elites and NY/DC types ”

    what about ivy league liberals and hollywood? or welfare mooches?
    anchor babies anyone?

  11. cj, the maps are great, but the swing states that give Obama that massive lead only show a couple points lead for Obama. I think the margin of error would make those states toss ups.

    I am still looking at Florida as the main decider. Both sides need to shore up the states they have and then really push on Florida and Ohio…NC and VA would be the next two big ones.

  12. It’s never wise to look at one convention’s bounce in a vacuum. Look at the polls when both are over.’

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