Gallup: Romney And Obama Even In Post-Debate Polling

Gallup notes this morning that after three nights of polling it’s done as part of its Daily Tracking Poll, the lead that President Obama in pre-debate polling has disappeared:

PRINCETON, NJ — Registered voters’ preferences for president are evenly split in the first three days of Gallup tracking since last Wednesday’s presidential debate. In the three days prior to the debate, Barack Obama had a five-percentage-point edge among registered voters.

Gallup typically reports voter presidential preferences in seven-day rolling averages; the latest such average as of Saturday interviewing shows Obama with an average three-point edge, 49% to 46%, among registered voters. This Sept. 30-Oct. 6 field period includes three days before the Oct. 3 debate, the night of the debate itself, and three days after the debate.

Even on this basis, the race has become somewhat more competitive compared with before the first debate. Obama held four- to six-point leads in Gallup’s seven-day tracking results in the eight days prior to the Oct. 3 debate.

Should Mitt Romney’s momentum continue in the coming days, that gap in the seven-day rolling average would narrow further.

The poll also found that voters overwhemlingly thought that Romney won last Wednesday’s debate:

These numbers are consistent with other recent polls including the Rasmussen Tracking Poll, which today shows the race tied, and a new Politico/GWU Battleground poll that has the Obama ahead by one point. This puts Obama’s lead down to 1.1 points over at RealClearPolitics, in a race that has shown a measurable rise by Romney and a commensurate fall by the President:

So we’ve got a definite bounce for Romney five days out from the Presidential Debate, with signs that similar things are happening in some of the swing states. The only question is how long this is going to last.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. So, does this mean we can go back to thinking that pollsters are keen?

  2. Geek, Esq. says:

    No, it just means that the pollsters decided to skew their numbers just a little bit less in the face of the Kenyan Socialist’s apology for his administration on Wednesday night.

    By Wednesday of this week, those numbers will be skewed again such that they reflect reality rather than how Republicans want things to be.

  3. Stonetools says:

    Wait a second, I thought debates didn’t matter. Didn’t your survey of presidential campaigns past prove that, Doug? ;-).

    Maybe Obama read that survey, and decided not to bother preparing for the last debate. He better prep for the next one.

  4. Stonetools,

    I would suggest that a five day period is far too short an amount of time to make that determination.

  5. Fiona says:

    Isn’t this result pretty consistent with past elections where the challenger usually wins the debate and gets a bump in the polls? As with Obama’s convention bounce, we’ll need to wait awhile to see if Romney’s bounce sticks.

    Meanwhile, the MSM has itself a horse race again.

  6. Brett says:


    So we’ve got a definite bounce for Romney five days out from the Presidential Debate, with signs that similar things are happening in some of the swing states.

    Where does it say that? I haven’t seen any indication that polls have seriously shifted in Romney’s favor in the swing states. It’s all national-level polling, which isn’t very useful in terms of what it can predict.

  7. michael reynolds says:


    Sorry, no, the swing states are swinging toward Romney. Ohio is back in play as is Virginia.

  8. JKB says:


    Debates don’t matter? But completely blowing a debate does. At least for now, in the short term.

    Yes, Obama better prepare for the next one. Debate prep is a drag but as an adult with real responsibilities, he needs to learn sometimes you have to do boring stuff to get the job done. Obama could come back strong, thus supporting the theory that Romney consumed all the oxygen in the room. Or he could give another weak performance, in which case, we’ll hear the hammer driving in the coffin nails. In the latter case, those nails will be heard by the MSM as well as, no doubt, the moderator will immolate themselves trying to protect their beloved.

  9. Tano says:

    Here is another example of RealClear’s thumb on the scale, in terms of what they report.

    Gallup’s presidential head-to-head product this season has been their rolling seven-day tracking poll – a device that I guess they figured would be buffered a bit better than the typical three day average that Gallup had traditionally used (and that Rasmussen uses).

    So this entire election season, RealClear has used the seven day average in their daily poll-of-polls average. Until yesterday, when they suddenly included only the three day results (that show the race tied). As mentioned in the piece that Doug quotes, the seven-day average still showed a three point Obama lead.

    Not a dramatic difference, but another thumb on the scale that is part RCP’s effort to drive a certain narrative.

    Oh, btw, – today that three point lead in the seven day average is up to 5 points. A two point jump in a seven-day rolling average is very significant – the new poll added needs to be just about 14 points more favorable than the week-old results that it replaces. Perhaps the unemployment news kicking in…..

  10. Jr says:

    Romney’s bounce is already fading, Gallup has Obama up 50-45. Reuters, RAND and PPP both said that Mitt had got a major bounce on Friday, but polling return to pre-debate numbers on Saturday and Sunday.

    Mitt did get the base fired up, which does mean a lot since turnout is going to be a major factor. But the fundamentals of the race haven’t changed.

    Obama is still up a touchdown.

  11. Cycloptichorn says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The only new polls in OH since the debate are from Rasmussen and WeAskAmerica, both GOP-leaning polling firms. I think I’d wait until there was some evidence from more reputable polling firms before declaring Obama to be in danger of losing OH.

  12. Geek, Esq. says:

    Obama now ahead in Gallup 7-day figure by 7 points, which means that (a) Sunday was pretty good for him and (b) he’s probably ahead of Romney in post-debate polling, since it was tied in the first three days.

  13. An Interested Party says:

    In the latter case, those nails will be heard by the MSM as well as, no doubt, the moderator will immolate themselves trying to protect their beloved.

    How do people like you survive? I mean, with just about every organization in the world being against you…

  14. Ed in NJ says:

    As Nate Silver very succinctly explained, the polls taken right after a debate, where there was a consensus winner, will often reflect a big swing, because daily tracking polls typically use robocalls. Robocalls rely on people returning phone calls to complete the survey. Those that tend to return calls after a debate, or other newsworthy event, typically paid much closer attention to that event and are excited to weigh in on the basis of that event.

    As a result, the polls reflect a temporary bump for the winner of that particular news cycle.

    Sucks for Republicans, since it skewed the results in their favor only temporarily, but at least it didn’t kill his candidacy completely, and lose the House, as a debate loss would have. But there is still time.