On Monday, major nationwide polls including Gallup, Rasmussen, and Reuters/Ipsos showed President Obama ahead of Republican challenger Mitt Romney by four or five points. The Democratic Convention and Bill Clinton’s superlative speech there evidently achieved everything the Republican Convention did not, firing up voters and providing a sustained, nerve-calming boost for the Obama campaign.
Moreover, for the first time since April, the Obama campaign outraised Mitt Romney, $114 million to $110 million, in August .
Scrambling to spin the latest polls, the Romney campaign sent out an e-mail yesterday urging voters not to become “too worked up about the latest polling” and attributed the numbers to “a bit of a sugar-high from the conventions.” It should be noted, however, that no such sugar-high followed the Republican Convention, which surveys showed had “minimal impact” on voters’ persuasions. The bump that the GOP had hoped to see was statistically insignificant, and dissipated soon after.
Conversely, the Obama campaign is enjoying its moment in the sun, with the latest CNN poll giving the Democratic candidate a six-point lead over Romney. As CNN notes, ” convention bounces have become increasingly modest in the 21st century, so much so that Obama’s four-point boost is considered high compared to other candidates in the last eight years.”
Nate Silver’s number-crunching places Obama firmly in the front-runner position, with an 80.7 percent chance of winning the election. The New York Times analyst forecasts a total of 318.8 electoral votes going to Obama, versus 219.2 for Romney. Silver notes that at no point in the past year has Romney held a significant lead over Obama, an unusual fact considering past elections and the traditional back-and-forth sway between candidates:
Very little has moved the polls much all this year — including Mr. Romney’s convention and his choice of Paul D. Ryan as his running mate, events that typically produce bounces. But Mr. Obama has already made clear gains in the polls in surveys that only partially reflect his convention.
As surprising as it might be, however, I do not see how you can interpret it as anything other than a good sign for Mr. Obama. All elections have turning points. Perhaps Mr. Obama simply has the more persuasive pitch to voters, and the conventions were the first time when this became readily apparent.
The post-convention bounce has carried over well in battleground states like Ohio, where the latest PPP poll shows Obama up by five points. In North Carolina, another key swing state, the race remains virtually deadlocked with a 49-48 lead for Obama, as another PPP poll indicates.
Unfortunately for the Romney campaign, hoping to capitalize on a disappointing August jobs report, voters seem to view the 2012 election as a choice between Obama and Romney, rather than a referendum on the economy and the President’s first term in office, a survey conducted by The Hill shows. Only 34 percent of voters regard the election as a judgement on Obama’s job performance. The president’s high likeability rating, contrasting with Romney’s low personal ratings, are apparently helping him, too.
Photo Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster