The political bounce

5 Sep

Politics 101 is in session.

A political bounce is a jump in public support that usually follows a presidential candidate’s nominating convention.

Sometimes it’s a short-term thing and sometimes it’s more profound — a coalescing of public preferences that charts the course for the remaining campaign.

Our example is from 1992.

Bill Clinton went into the Democratic Convention one point behind George Bush — and left it 29 points ahead.

And it stuck from that day until the election with Clinton never trailing.

George Bush trailed by 21 points on the evening of his 1992 convention.

Afterwards he moved to within five points.

To pay with an old line – it’s not the size that counts – it’s how long it lasts.

In Bush’s case it didn’t hold because a week later he was back to a 19-point deficit.

Bounces aren’t what they used to be.

Most likely with the Internet and a 24 hour news cycle, people are saturated with information months in advance of an election.

And on top of that conventions don’t mean much except to the party faithful.

We bring this up because Mitt Romney didn’t get a bounce at all.

The Republican convention had at best a mild effect on the presidential race.

Actually, from a statistical viewpoint, there was no effect at all.

Those who study these things say Romney’s pitch to some groups may have worked but at the expense of turning off another group of voters.

Overall, it was a wash for him.

A poll just before the GOP convention last week showed President Obama ahead by two points, 49% to 47%.

A new poll now puts both tied at 48 percent.

So, how will Obama do in his convention underway now?

We’ll see in a couple of days.

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