Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New poll: Obama's remarkable post-convention bounce

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Given factors such as the 24/7 news cycle, the availability of information through multiple media and channels, and the hyper-partisanism of the electorate, it seems unlikely that political conventions will ever be like they once were, or ever have the importance they once had.

No longer do they introduce the presidential candidate to voters. Voters may start paying a bit more attention during the convention, to be sure, but the candidate is already widely known. The purpose now is to unify and energize the party and to try to sway media coverage and narratives for the final push to election day.

And so it would seem that meaningful "bounces" in the polls might just be things of the past as well. Which is to say, there will be bounces, maybe, just not significant ones -- just as Romney emerged from the Republican convention in Tampa with no real shift in his poll numbers.

And yet a new CNN poll shows significant movement for Obama following last week's remarkable Democratic convention in Charlotte:
A new survey indicates President Barack Obama moved up four points following the Democratic National Convention last week, and now has a six point advantage over his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

According to a CNN/ORC International Poll (PDF) 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%.

Four points is huge, and it wasn't just the top-line numbers:

This year's Democratic event wiped away some of Romney's gains on personal qualities. The Republican nominee's favorable rating increased to 53% after the GOP convention, but fell to 48% one week later after the Democratic event. Meanwhile, Obama rose to 57% in the last week, his highest mark since 2010.

Obama also took away Romney's lead on leadership for the country's future. Now 51% of likely voters think Obama has a more optimistic vision for the country's future, compared to Romney at 41%. Last week, however, 43% said Obama was more optimistic, while 47% said the same about Romney.

Another takeaway from the two conventions was that Obama seemed to come out as the candidate with a more specific plan to help the country. Before the Republican event, 45% thought Romney was more likely to have a clear plan, while only 39% felt the same about the president. Now the two have switched places, with 45% saying Obama has a clear plan, compared 39% saying the same about Romney. 

Of course, it may not last -- and likely won't. But the polls, taken together, paint a pretty clear picture of where the race stands right now, and they show Obama emerging from the Democratic convention with significant upward momentum.

And Republicans, including the Romney campaign, are panicking.

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