Obama Gets His Bounce

Barack Obama has gotten his predictable (in the sense that I predicted it) bounce in the polls after having emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee and Hillary Clinton formally conceded and backed him, helping begin the healing process within the party. According to the latest Gallup poll, he’s up 48-42 nationwide among registered voters. Indeed, Obama is at least nominally ahead of McCain in every single poll tracked by RealClearPolitics, with an average lead of 4.2 percent.

Andrew Sullivan notes that this is Obama’s “strongest showing to date in the Gallup poll.” That’s technically true but misleading: The two candidates have been steady, fluctuating only within the margin of error, since it became clear that Obama would win.

Gallup Obama-McCain 9 June 2008

Indeed, Daniel Larison is surprised at just how small the bounce is.

Kevin Drum, meanwhile, is willing to “bet that Obama never has much less than a five point lead for the rest of the campaign.” That’s plausible but unlikely. My guess is that Obama will build a double digit lead over the next few weeks as Democrats coalesce around him but that his numbers will fluctuate dramatically based on events on the ground. McCain will almost certainly get a convention bounce late. Beyond that, Obama will make the inevitable gaffes candidates make during a long, grueling campaign and he’s more prone to embarrassing revelations than McCain simply because he’s less of a known commodity.

UPDATE: And, yes, as commenter vnjagvet points out below, John Kerry had a much larger lead four years ago than Obama does now. Indeed, as I noted a few days ago, it would have been a a Kerry landslide win had the election been held May 29, 2004. The gap had narrowed slightly by four years ago today but Kerry was still projected to win 312 electoral votes to Bush’s 226 on June 9. Those same projections show it Obama 287, McCain 227 today.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Public Opinion Polls, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. vnjagvet says:

    Just for a bit of perspective:

    June 3-6 Gallup poll in 2004:

    Kerry 50%
    Bush 44%

  2. Christopher says:

    ANY lead that Obama has shows just what idiots the voters are.

    Obama may go down in history as the biggest empty suit EVER

  3. tom p says:

    As to how things go from here to the end is anybody’s guess…

    But I feel the need to point out that yes, Obama will make the inevitable gaffes (and maybe even a few unpleasant “facts” will come out)but so will McCain…

    Like his speech last Tuesday???? (Gawd… even I was embarressed) and when it comes to unpleasant facts…. McCain has a long record (can any one say “Keating 5”)… Is any one surprised by why the right is so uncomfortable with him (despite his agreeing with Bush 95% of the time in the past year???) which will alienate the 70+% of those who think Bush is wrong on this that or the other.

    Minus a meteor hitting the Obama express dead on, McCain is toast.

    His base hates him because 5% of the time he votes against Bush, 70% of the rest of the country hates Bush, and because McCain votes with Bush 95% of the time, him too. So what does that leave him with???

    I will only say that it will be a lot closer because of the “Bradley” effect than it would otherwise be.

  4. anjin-san says:

    June 3-6 Gallup poll in 2004:

    Kerry 50%
    Bush 44%

    Meaningless. Bush was running as an incumbent. McCain is running amidst the wreckage of Bush’s policies.

    Obama may go down in history as the biggest empty suit EVER

    The stupidity of the “empty suit” line is self-evident. The Clinton political machine beat on the GOP with great regularity. Obama took it apart in a contest that began with Hillary holding every advantage.

  5. vnjagvet says:

    A very unpopular incumbent at that point in the election, AS. And more unpopular now, if the polls mean anything.

    With all of that, and with a far more charismatic and exciting candidate than the lamented JFKERRY, who has just vanquished a woman of some skill as a politician for the nomination, I would have expected a bit more of a bump than the sainted one has received.

    Your argument eludes me, but it might be a bit subtle for a man of my advanced age.

  6. Pug says:

    John Kerry had a much larger lead four years ago than Obama does now

    Not to pick nits, but it wasn’t a much larger lead. In fact, it was exactly the same: six points.

  7. anjin-san says:

    the sainted one

    What on Earth are you talking about?

  8. vnjagvet says:

    Sorry AjinSan. I thought from reading all of the press paeans last week and this past weekend that the Democratic candidate for President had just been beatified.

    Am I mistaken?

  9. vnjagvet says:

    “Anjin-san” sorry.

  10. anjin-san says:

    I thought from reading all of the press paeans last week and this past weekend that the Democratic candidate for President had just been beatified.

    It’s cool vn… when I see how utterly weak the attacks on Obama in here are… well, it gives me a nice warm feeling about November.

  11. vnjagvet says:

    Except for Christopher’s brief comment, who was attacking anyone? We were analyzing data, weren’t we?

  12. anjin-san says:

    beatified

    the sainted one

    Funny, I can’t remember these from statistics…

    We were analyzing data, weren’t we?

    Come now, don’t run from your own remarks…

  13. vnjagvet says:

    beatified
    the sainted one

    Funny, I can’t remember these from statistics…

    We were analyzing data, weren’t we?

    Come now, don’t run from your own remarks…

    How can you construe my implied criticism of hagiographic press coverage as an “attack” on Senator Obama?

    Are you suggesting the coverage of his nomination victory in the LAT, the NYT, CNN or MSNBC has not been overwhelmingly positive?

    Far from running away from my remarks, I reiterate. I am surprised that Obama is not trouncing his far older and less charismatic rival — one who clings to many of the policies of a hated administration — in a more convincing fashion.

    That is not an “attack”. It is a statement of my honest opinion.

  14. Christopher says:

    I wasn’t attacking anyone. Just stating a fact. Obama is an empty suit. Someone tell me one intelligent policy he has come up with that has been proven to work ever in the past anywhere.

    See? Empty suit.

  15. Michael says:

    Someone tell me one intelligent policy he has come up with that has been proven to work ever in the past anywhere.

    Well, concentrating on small states and caucus states worked out pretty well for him. Oh, and he was the only candidate who was against a gas tax holiday, which every expert said was a bad idea to begin with. Oh, and he’s for open discussions with foreign leaders, which also has a lot of support both historically and from current experts. I’m particularly fond of his policies involving technology too.

  16. Christopher says:

    Campaign strategies are NOT policies for running the country! OMG what a nerd you are!

    You remind me of the Kennedy biographer who said presidential candidates should have experience, and that he supported Obama. When asked what he thought was Obama’s experience, he said that it takes a lot to run a national presidential campaign. Soooo…..Obama’s experience to be president was his actual running for president! LOL!!!! I would be funny if it wasn’t so downright scary.

  17. Greg says:
  18. Michael says:

    Hmm, lets see…”intelligent”, “he has come up with”, “proven to work”….Nope, you didn’t mention “governing” anywhere in there.

  19. Micheline says:

    Michael,
    It should be noted that neither McCain or Obama have executive experience along the lines of a governor. So your point is nonsensical.

  20. Michael says:

    Micheline, my point is that Christopher asked for nonspecific “policy”, then complained that my examples were not “governing policy”. To that point, my post was satirical but quite sensible.

  21. Elrod says:

    Watch for the stand-alone polls to come out. Those tend to show more dramatic moves than the tracking polls. I have no idea why this is, but the Rasmussen and Gallup trackers have been extremely steady throughout this season. They seem to have low betas.

  22. Bill says:

    I don’t buy the argument that Obama is more likely to make on-the-trail gaffes. McCain is at least as likely to make mistakes or, worse, deny that he has made a mistake that he has in fact made. Witness his denial of commenting on HRC’s treatment by the media.

    Also, I haven’t seen it discussed much but don’t you think that a 46 year old man in good health is simply going to be able to outwork a 71/72 year old (even if he is active for his age)? If I am managing Obama, I would look to schedule more events in more states than McCain is able to keep up with. Either you get more coverage or, if McCain tries to match your schedule, McCain becomes even more likely to commit gaffes.