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Dem convention: Hey, where's the Biden bounce?

By Jimmy Orr / August 26, 2008

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The bounce is supposed to go the other way, isn't it? Well, it is. It just hasn't bounced yet -- at least in the right direction.

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The rolling three-day-average poll from Gallup is out and shows John McCain besting Barack Obama by a 46% to 44% margin -- the first time McCain has led since June.

Significant? Say the folks at Gallup, not so much. It's within the margin of error.

"The 46% currently supporting McCain is technically his best showing since late May/early June, but is not a statistically significant improvement over his recent range from 43% to 45%," the Gallup report says.

What about Joe?

But what it does show, they say, is Obama's vice presidential selection didn't help him out so much.

"It's official: Barack Obama has received no bounce in voter support out of his selection of Sen. Joe Biden to be his vice presidential running mate," Gallup wrote.

Cause for concern over in the Obama camp?

Nope, said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor, grasping the opportunity to take a dig at Senator McCain.

“This is a tight race. It will remain a tight race. The lead will fluctuate between now and November. If the spread were greater than the number of houses John McCain owns, then we’d be concerned,” Vietor said.

National polls?  Yawn.

Further, Obama's head honcho doesn't even pay attention to these.

At a press briefing yesterday, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said national polls aren't that important anyway. Rather, they focus on just two things: the key battleground states (they've identified 18 of them) and making sure that Obama supporters get out to vote.

"We stay laser-focused on these two factors each and every day," Plouffe said.

Thursday night is key

Although Wednesday night features new running mate Joe Biden and the former President Bill Clinton, day four is the most important, explained Monitor colleague Peter Grier.

Conventions today are a kind of starting line for the fall campaign, geared towards framing a candidate for voters. Even for Senators Obama and McCain, the acceptance speech probably represents an opportunity to speak to more people – via the media – than they have ever addressed at a single point in their lives.

“That speech for both candidates constitutes a very important introduction to the nation,” says Mr. Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.

If history is any guide, both candidates have a better than average shot of getting the vaunted bounce:

Almost all of the 22 national conventions held since 1964 produced an increase in voter support for their nominees, notes a just-released Gallup Poll analysis. The median increase has been five points. The only nominees to get no bounce, or fall backward, were Democrats: Senator Kerry in 2004 and George McGovern in 1972.

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