Friday, September 7, 2012

Small Bounce for Romney?

In the wake of the Republican convention, very few polls have been released. This appears to be due to the close proximity of the Democratic convention; pollsters may be reluctant to poll until after both conventions are over, rather than conducting polls that could be obsoleted by a Democratic convention bounce. However, the polls that have been taken have suggested Mitt Romney got a small bounce from his convention. Please see the Polls page for a list of all recent national polls.

Only three pollsters have polled since the Republican convention: Rasmussen and Gallup, which do daily tracking polls, and CNN/Opinion Research. In judging whether a bounce has been achieved, it might be tempted to simply take one poll immediately before the convention and compare it to a poll afterward. But this runs into the standard problem of polls having a margin of error. Averaging polls is always necessary for accuracy. The following are polls taken after the convention:

09/06 R+0 Obama 48, Romney 45 (Gallup*)
09/06 R+1 Obama 45, Romney 46 (Rasmussen)
09/03 R+0 Obama 48, Romney 48 (CNN/Opinion Research)

With the adjustment made for Gallup using registered voters instead of likely voters, the average is a Romney lead of 0.3 points. Now we will look at polls taken just prior to the convention, from the same pollsters.

08/25 R+3 Obama 46, Romney 46 (Gallup*)
08/25 D+2 Obama 47, Romney 45 (Rasmussen)
08/23 D+2 Obama 49, Romney 47 (CNN/Opinion Research)

The average before the convention was an Obama advantage of 0.3 points. Comparing the two, Romney's bounce was 0.6 points--a very small bounce. Though it's better than nothing, the Romney campaign should be disappointed by seeing so little movement in the polls, even though part of the Rasmussen and Gallup polls were taken during the Democratic convention.

Still, the best polling will be taken out of the shadow of both conventions, during the week of September 17th, when both bounces will have subsided and the standing of both candidates will be more clear.