# 3 is sort of meaningless

23 Oct

Did you watch the third and final presidential debate?

History says, it probably won’t make any difference in the outcome.

The bad news for President Obama: it’s been almost a week since the second presidential debate.

The instant-reaction polls said was a narrow victory for him.

But it didn’t translate into a bounce for Obama in his head-to-head polls against Mitt Romney.

Instead, the presidential race has settled into a period of relative stability.

Historically, the third debate never has had much impact.

The average change in polls since 1988 just before the third debate and after is only about a point.

Compare that to two points for the first debate.

This small effect likely has to do with the fact that the third debate takes place very late in the campaign, a lot of people have already voted or made up their minds and there is little the candidates can do now that would be all that surprising.

Now, just two weeks remain.

Obama and Romney are going to rev their campaigns into high gear in a last-ditch effort to get the undecided voters.

So far, the polls indicate neither one has been able to complete the job yet.

Polls often shrink just before a presidential election as undecided voters jump off the fence.

And late-deciders often go for the challenger (Romney) when an incumbent (Obama) is running.

But with no further debates and if there’s no last-minute “surprise,” about the only thing left is the government’s release of this month’s jobs report.

That comes four days before the election.

The September report indicated a big drop in unemployment rate drop to 7.8 percent.

That’s the first time it dropped under 8 percent since the start of Obama’s presidency.

You can imagine what going through Obama’s and Romney’s mind: was that an aberration or is the jobs picture really improving?

The October report could tell – although it won’t matter to the many who have already voted early.

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