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Posted by on Sep 2, 2012 in 2012 Elections, Politics | 12 comments

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?


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.