Chris O'Meara/AP
President Obama waves to supporters after speaking at a campaign rally on Saturday in Seminole, Fla.

Obama gets convention 'bounce': Should Mitt Romney be worried?

Monday's polls give President Obama a 5 point lead over Mitt Romney after national conventions, but Romney pollsters say the state of the economy will be decisive in November's vote.

Currently, it seems like President Obama got a substantial bounce upward in his poll numbers from the Democratic National Convention. Gallup’s tracking poll now gives Mr. Obama a 5 point edge over GOP nominee Mitt Romney, up from a 1 point lead prior to the Charlotte, N.C., festivities. This morning's Rasmussen Reports' tracking poll shows Obama with a similar 5 point lead – his largest margin in that survey since March 17.

But there’s a reason a post-convention poll gain is called a “bounce.” Bounces go up, and (usually) they come down. Where the polls will be when the numbers settle, nobody yet knows.

“As with all bounces, it remains to be seen how long it will last,” concludes Rasmussen’s daily poll report.

Thus on Monday the Romney camp began pushing back against the notion that the conventions represented a break point in the campaign and that it’s now time for the GOP to panic. Among other things, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse released a memo urging supporters to remain calm about the latest polling numbers.

“While some of the voters will feel a bit of a sugar-high from the conventions, the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly,” argues Mr. Newhouse.

By that, Newhouse means that the nature of the economy remains unchanged. Twenty-three million Americans remain out of work, and unemployment has topped 8 percent. Forty-seven million Americans are on food stamps.

Obama’s favorability ratings have actually dropped in some polls in recent days, notes Newhouse. He says the number of battleground states has expanded to include Wisconsin and perhaps New Mexico. Romney/Ryan has lots of money it can now start spending on the general election, and Republicans still have an edge over Democrats in enthusiasm for the upcoming vote, according to polls.

“Mitt Romney will be the next president,” concludes Newhouse.

Well, that’s certainly possible. But in essence Newhouse’s argument is not about the polls per se, but a restatement of the Romney campaign’s underlying theory of the race. That theory is this: The election will be a referendum on Obama’s performance, and the sour economy will sink him.

Democrats argue that the recent poll numbers show that this theory isn’t coming true. Obama got a bigger bounce out of the Democratic convention than Mr. Romney received from the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., they say. And the latest polls may contain some details that spell danger for Romney.

Gallup’s tracking poll now has Romney leading Obama by only 53 to 41 percent among white voters, writes the left-leaning blogger Greg Sargent today at his Plum Line blog at The Washington Post. By some estimates, Romney needs to take 60 percent of whites to counter Obama’s large majorities among minority groups. Romney’s edge among college-educated whites is even smaller, at 49 to 46 percent.

“Keeping it close among these voters is key to Obama’s hopes of denying Romney the share of white voters he needs, given the President’s struggles with blue collar whites,” writes Sargent.

The pace of national polling should increase in coming days, with the conventions now over and the general election race fully underway. That means by the end of the week we should have a better idea as to whether Obama’s bounce marks a campaign break point, or whether it is indeed only a short-lasting sugar high.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Obama gets convention 'bounce': Should Mitt Romney be worried?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today