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Here Comes The Convention Bounce

by @ 2:19 pm on August 28, 2008. Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, John McCain, Politics

Both tracking polls are showing signs that Barack Obama is finally moving up in the polls.

First the Rasmussen polls finds signs of a convention bounce:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows hints of a modest convention bounce building for Barack Obama. The Democrat gained a point from yesterday and now attracts 45% of the vote nationwide while John McCain earns 44%. When “leaners” are included, it’s Obama 47% and McCain 47%


Reviewing recent single-night polling data—rather than the three-day average–shows that Obama lost ground immediately following the selection of Joe Biden as his running mate. That had little or nothing to do with Biden and everything to do with the fact that the running mate was not named Hillary Clinton. The impact of that choice was reflected in the polling results released Tuesday and Wednesday showing modest gains for McCain.


Obama’s poll numbers have improved over the past couple of nights and today’s update shows a tie race because it includes a mix of both recent trends. But it seems likely that Obama will end the convention with a modest lead over McCain. Then, of course, it will be time for the Republican Vice Presidential pick and, next week, the GOP convention.

The results from the Gallup poll are similar, but show a more apparent convention bounce:

PRINCETON, NJ — Democratic candidate Barack Obama has gained ground in the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking average from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and now leads Republican John McCain among registered voters by a 48% to 42% margin.

Gallup 828The latest three-day Gallup Poll Daily tracking average (Aug. 25-27) is directly coincident with the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and is no doubt beginning to reflect the typical convention “bounce” that Gallup has observed in most party conventions in recent decades. There is a lag of sorts involved in the daily tracking; interviewing is conducted in most parts of the country before that evening’s high-focus speeches have taken place. Thus, the current three-day average would reflect any impact of Monday night’s speech by Michelle Obama, and Tuesday night’s speech by Hillary Clinton, but would not completely reflect Wednesday night’s lineup of speakers, such as John Kerry, former President Bill Clinton, and vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, nor the appearance on stage at the end of the evening by Barack Obama himself.

Which suggests that we should see additional movement in Obama’s favor in the tracking poll that comes out tomorrow and, probably, on Saturday.

But, as Gallup notes, the two week period that we are currently in the middle of is perhaps the most unique time in an already unique Presidential campaign:

Of keen interest this year will be the dynamics of the race in the forthcoming days, as John McCain, by all accounts, will attempt to pounce on the Democrats’ bounce by announcing his vice presidential running mate either Thursday night or Friday and with attention turning quickly to the Republican convention that is set to begin on Monday in St. Paul. Also in the mix this year will be an act of nature; if Tropical Storm Gustav becomes a hurricane and makes landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast sometime on Tuesday, news coverage of the GOP convention will be diluted, and the impact of that situation (coming some three years after Hurricane Katrina) is impossible to predict.

Meanwhile, Marc Ambinder reminds us that this may not be a real bounce:

Conclude if you’d like that people responded favorably to the convention initially.

But a bounce — a real bounce — is not a transient, one-day spike.  Check back in mid-September. If Obama has opened up a lead and the lead is steady, then you can fairly say that the convention provided Obama with a boost.

And, if it hasn’t, then this race will continue to be close.

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