(My article as published in YWN print edition pg. 12-14). To bounce or not to bounce, was the political talk of town following the RNC and DNC conventions, in anticipation for the race to shift either way, after 4 months of Obama and Romney tied in a dead heat. Political insiders, pundits and observers expected to at least see a slight bounce from Mitt Romney, as Republican candidates traditionally get after picking a running mate, and getting the party base solidified behind his candidacy.
President Obama, as an incumbent got the bounce needed in order to modify the race and shape the narrative of the campaign heading into the final stretch of campaigning. In Rasmussen and Gallup’ daily tracking Obama’s bounce in the polls went from 3 to 7 percent. That managed to boost some energy in the President’s reelection campaign, and left some Republicans worried about Romney’s chances in beating Obama in November.
While Gallup, CNN and Reuters gave Obama the lead in the week following the Democratic national convention, especially after Bill Clinton’s well received supportive speech, the ABC/Washington post show Obama and Romney in a statistical tie among likely voters, 49 percent for Obama to 48 percent for Romney.
As an acknowledgement, Romney’s Pollster Neil Newhouse wrote a meme to supporters, urging them not to give up or look too much into the latest polls. “Don’t get too worked up about the latest polling. While some voters will feel a bit of a sugar-high from the conventions, the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly. The reality of the Obama economy will reassert itself as the ultimate downfall of the Obama Presidency, and Mitt Romney will win this race,” Newhouse wrote.
Romney is the third candidate and the first Republican since 1964 to not receive a convention bounce in the Gallup Poll, putting him in the company of George McGovern and John Kerry. As Gallup's analysis notes, this could reflect a lack of enthusiasm for Romney.
“Convention bounces are an expected part of each presidential campaign, so the fact that Romney did not receive one is surely a disappointment for his campaign and his supporters. However, with Americans' engagement in elections much higher earlier on in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 elections than in prior election years, conventions may no longer serve to introduce the nominees to Americans. Rather, Americans probably already have a good sense of who the nominees are and what they would do if elected president,” Gallup Pollster explained.
According to the latest CNN/ORC International Poll released Monday, 52% of likely voters nationwide back the president, compared to 46% for Romney. Just before the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Obama was tied with Romney 48%-48%.
"The Democratic convention was fairly well received, particularly in comparison to the GOP meeting the previous week in Tampa," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
The important takeaway from Obama’s convention bounce isn’t that he’s in the lead. Since the advantage of going second is that you get to say the last word, as one Obama campaign official put it in a conversation with CNn reports. It’s that—in most surveys—President Obama after a long haul has managed to convince a majority of the public to support him for reelection. Even if his bump decline over the next week or two, as expected, it still makes him the favorite for November. Romney can still shift things in his favor—the debates are less than a month away, and the Economy is not showing too much time of improvement, but it still remains for him a long shot.
While experiencing the President’s bounce in national poll, the race hasn’t changed dramatically in the Electoral College map, and still remains a close race in a dozen of battleground states. "Despite the recent media infatuation on post-convention 'bounces' in national polls, there have been no state changes in the Electoral College map since last week, GOP Political guru, Karl Rove wrote on his website.
"Mitt Romney's standing has improved in several states, particularly in the two states that hosted the Democratic and Republican national party conventions. Mr. Romney now leads in North Carolina by three points, while Barack Obama's small lead in Florida has been erased, with the race there now tied,” Rove asserted.
"Mr. Romney's 'safe' and 'lean' states award him a combined total of 191 Electoral College votes, while Mr. Obama's give him 225 -- a lead of just 34 EC votes. With nine states and 122 EC votes up for grabs, keep an eye on movement in these toss up states over the next few weeks, as they will likely be the deciders in this election."
Some say however, that it’s still premature to estimate the president’s lead, or attribute it to the First lady, Clinton and Obama’s speeches, since President Obama has spent more money over the past few months, outspending Romney in hard hitting ads on his Business experience and record as Governor. Obama and groups supporting him aired more than twice as many ads during the two-week convention period itself.
Team Obama ran 40,000 ads between Aug. 26 and Sept.8, compared with 18,000 for Romney and GOP-supporting groups, an analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project showed.