Obama’s Convention Bounce

The polls completed over the weekend vary wildly but Barack Obama is averaging a lead of 4.5 points over John McCain:

Given that I predicted, before the Democratic Convention got underway, that Obama would get a bounce of “between four and five points,” I’m not terribly surprised.

I would have predicted a similar bounce for the Republicans coming out of their convention but, given that Hurricane Gustav (now a tropical storm) wreaked havok with the opening day and that the surprise announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate, I haven’t the foggiest how it’s going to play out.  This is going to be a convention unlike any we’ve seen in recent decades and I don’t know whether that’s good, bad, or indifferent for McCain.

What’s more important than the national head-to-head polls, of course, is the state-by-state polling.  We don’t yet have a clear picture of where we are there.  ElectoralVote.com has it at Obama 278 and McCain 247 with Virginia’s 13 Electors too close to call.  RealClearPolitics, though, has Obama at 273 and McCain at 265, only a one-state switch versus the pre-convention polls. By this date in 2004, incidentally, Bush had finally moved ahead of Kerry in the EV.com estimates.  Granted, the conventions weren’t this late that cycle.

McCain and Palin need to give solid speeches with the convention spotlight on in order to get this thing swinging their way.  Otherwise, this race will remain Obama’s to lose.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
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. Fence says:

    given that Hurricane Gustav (now a tropical storm) wreaked havok with the opening day and that the surprise announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate,

    The hurricane did McCain a favor by only affecting one day and making that one day the day Bush was supposed to speak. McCain needs a good speech from Palin and a great speech from him, and then he should get a modest bounce.

  2. Our Paul says:

    What’s more important than the national head-to-head polls, of course, is the state-by-state polling. We don’t yet have a clear picture of where we are there.

    Meanwhile, over at FiveThirtyEight, the figures are 296/240 electoral votes, Obama vs McCain, with Virginia and Ohio too close to call…

    FiveThirtyEight had a slick record in calling the % votes during the primaries, and uses methods that are incomprehensible to ordinary folks like myself. The methodology is published, and available for criticism.

    The monster lying under the calm waters is Obama’s voter registration drives, and shrinking Republican voter base. It is my impression that FiveThirthyEight in some fashion factors registered voters into its model.

    Any comments on this site James?

  3. James Joyner says:

    Meanwhile, over at FiveThirtyEight, the figures are 296/240 electoral votes, Obama vs McCain, with Virginia and Ohio too close to call…

    Those are projections, not polling results. I don’t find that interesting at this stage.

  4. Harry says:

    “McCain and Palin need to give solid speeches with the convention spotlight on in order to get this thing swinging their way. Otherwise, this race will remain Obama’s to lose.”

    McCain’s problem is, with all the swirl around Palin and the various revelations, will anyone pay attention to the speeches?

  5. Fence says:

    McCain’s problem is, with all the swirl around Palin and the various revelations, will anyone pay attention to the speeches?

    Sure. The worst VP pick between 1973 and 2007 (Quayle) was followed up a few days later by the best acceptance speech during that period (Bush Sr.). They came from down 17 in the polls and won. Then again, they were running against Tank Dukakis.

  6. SeniorD says:

    Mr. Joyner,

    Three strikes and you’re out.

    I’m tired of your Lib/Prog bias attempting to masquerade as Libertarian/Conservative.
    I’m tired of your specious commentary laced with faux concern for this Republic.
    I’m tired of your faint praise for a committed Marxist while not differentiating the true cost of what Obama/Biden will mean to this Republic.

    In short, I really don’t care for this site. I call on all readers to boycott this site. Just go ahead and openly declare your Lib/Prog bias so that everyone knows where you stand.

  7. Our Paul says:

    Those are projections, not polling results. I don’t find that interesting at this stage.

    Bit surprised by your answer James, is there that much of a difference between “projections” and “predictions”, to wit:

    Given that I predicted, before the Democratic Convention got underway, that Obama would get a bounce of “between four and five points,” I’m not terribly surprised.

    But, as usual I am stumbling over words and their meaning. FiveThirtyEight.com has a decided Left Center tilt to it in its editorial content, but that does not invalidate its “projections”.

    My own view is that the Obama bump is sucking from the “uncommitted” voters, and such it will take time to manifest itself. If your view (and indeed mine) of the Sarah Palin nomination holds, I doubt McCain’s bump will go over over three points.

    I just wonder whether the monster lurking under placid waters is being captured by polls, or adequately factored into projections.

    Sigh, only the Shadow knows, and time, I suppose will tell…

  8. Floyd says:

    There OUGHT to be a tremendous bounce coming out of the convention, considering the gushing servile and ubiquitous coverage provided to the Democrats by nearly the entire Media.
    Why… I heard a three year old child throwing a fit in the next aisle at Walmart tonight and I thought sure someone had a TV on in the electronics section playing reruns of some of the speeches from the Democrat Convention, you just could not avoid them.