Very Little Convention Bounce For Romney In Early Polls

So far, there's very little movement in the polls for Governor Romney.

The immediate polling the wake of the Republican National Convention isn’t showing much of a post-convention bounce for the Romney/Ryan ticket:

The most favorable number for Mr. Romney is from the Rasmussen Reports tracking poll. That survey showed him pulling into a 3-point lead against President Obama on Saturday. All of the interviews in the Rasmussen poll were conducted after the convention began, although only about one-third were conducted after Mr. Romney’s acceptance speech on Thursday night.

The Rasmussen poll represents a 5-point swing toward Mr. Romney from the polling firm’s final survey before the conventions, when it had Mr. Obama ahead by two points. But it does not read quite as strongly for him as compared to the long-term average of Rasmussen polls, which have had Mr. Romney ahead by about one percentage point on average over the past 60 days.

Another survey, an online tracking poll conducted by the polling firm Ipsos, had previously shown a decent-sized bounce for Mr. Romney — but it hassince receded some. In the version of the poll that Ipsos released on Saturday, Mr. Obama led by one percentage point, 44-43, among likely voters. That’s a better result for Mr. Romney than the survey the firm conducted prior to the conventions, when Mr. Romney had trailed by four points. But it reflects a reversal from Thursday, when Mr. Romney was up by two points in the poll.

The most sluggish of the tracking polls is from Gallup, which reports its results over a lengthy seven-day window. That means that only about half its interviews occurred after the start of the convention, and a smaller fraction than that will represent people surveyed after Mr. Romney’s acceptance address.

However, the trend so far in the Gallup poll is a bit disappointing for Mr. Romney; the survey still shows Mr. Obama one point ahead. By comparison, the Gallup poll has had a 46-46 tie on average over the past 60 days.

We’ll need to wait another day or two before we can make a more confident judgement on the size of Mr. Romney’s bounce, but the information we have so far points toward its being a little underwhelming.

It should be noted that, since the article linked above was posted, Rasmussen has released its latest update to the Daily Tracking Poll this morning which puts the race at Romney 48% Obama 44%, a four point advantage for Romney. As Nate Silver notes, one factor for the lack of movement in the polls post-convention, at least so far, is likely due to the fact that viewership was down significantly from either of the party conventions four years ago. When you have fewer people watching, for whatever reason, you’re not going to see much movement in the polls. It’s also worth noting that the network news coverage of the convention, the method by which most viewers who did watch saw the proceedings, only provided one hour of coverage a night. This means that, even many of the people who did watch the convention only saw very limited parts of it. And, of course, Hurricane Isaac obviously diverted the attention of many people away from the goings on in Tampa. As for the non-viewers, if they did see any news coverage of the convention at all it was likely the silly stuff like the Clint Eastwood “performance,” which pretty much sucked up all of the news cycle on the day after the most important speech of Mitt Romney’s political career. Add to that the end of the convention coincided with the beginning of the Labor Day holiday weekend, and it’s easy to understand why people weren’t watching, and why the convention doesn’t appear to be giving Romney much of the lift in the polls.

In reality of course, the importance of the convention bounce is vastly overstated by political pundits and reporters. On average,  according to Gallup’s figures, the average bounce has been about five points (the largest was Bill Clinton’s post-convention bounce of 16 points in 1992), but in most cases the relative difference between the two candidate’s bounces has only been about two or three points. This means that, after all the dust settles, conventions tend to only have a negligible impact on the state of the race. Given the fact that the race to date this year has been, as James Joyner has described it, a “steady state election,” it’s likely that the bounces for both candidates from their conventions are likely to be small to non-existent. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind, though, is the fact that, going back to 1952, the candidate who was leading before the conventions ended up winning the election eighty percent of the time. In other words, the much ballyhooed “convention bounce” isn’t nearly as important as the breathless pundits want you to think it is.

There is some good news in the early post-convention polling for Mitt Romney, though. There seems to be at least some indication that his likability numbers are improving, which is in some ways more essential than what happens to the top line numbers in a national poll. If that continues to replicate itself in the polls that will come out later this week, then it could potentially help Romney overcome some of his inability to break through in some of the battleground states. Also likely making the folks in Boston happy is the fact that the national polls have been showing a closer rater of late, with Romney risking and the President falling ever so slightly. You can see that phenomenon in the latest RealClearPolitics chart, where the average for the national polls gives Obama an ever-so-slim +0.1 advantage:


Of course, all of this could end up being reversed by a week from now once the Democrats have taken their turn in Charlotte. The President is likely to get at least some up-tick in the polls from the convention, and the likely constant attacks on Romney and Ryan from the dais could end up blunting their rise in the polls. In the end, though, I expect that, in the week after the Democratic Convention, we will find that the race is roughly where it was before the conventions started. That’s not necessarily good news for either candidate.

Photo via The Baltimore Sun

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. Peter says:

    Pay no attention to the polls. Two more monthly unemployment reports will be coming out before the election. They will determine who wins.

  2. Console says:


    Meh, unemployment reports are baked in. They describe what already happened in the previous month. Election polls describe what’s happening.

  3. Tano says:

    FWIW, it seems that Romney’s standing on Intrade has actually gone down over the past week, and is now at 57.7-42.5 for an Obama reelection. I seem to recall it being around 55 before the convention.

  4. Jr says:

    @Console: Exactly, We have had bad job reports since April and the race hasn’t moved an inch.

    Unless we get a game changer, this election is all but over.

  5. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Well, the chances of Romney receiving a convention bounce, especially of the widely reported variety, were about the same as Blutarsky’s GPA.

    That aside, and barring a political meteor strike, it’ll all come down to demographics, GOTV operations, and the pace of layoffs between now and November. It might turn out to be a very close one. Maybe even Ohio ’04 close or perhaps even Florida ’00 close. Wouldn’t that be fun?

  6. superdestroyer says:


    None of the states with the highest unemployment rates are swing states. I doubt that the unemployment rate can go high enough for President Obama to be in serious risk of losing.

    What all of the poll analyzer, wonk wannabes, and MSM just do not want to admit is that the U.S. is on the path to being a one party state where more than 50% of the voters automatically vote for the Democratic Party and that elections are just irrelevant.

    At least occasionally some pundit will realize that conservative politics is unsustainable in the U.S but they all refuse to take the next step and analyze what is possible in politics given the demographics changes occurring in the U.S.

  7. Related:

    Paul Ryan’s Blatant Lies About The [Simpson-Bowles] Commission

    Basically, all voters know the game plan. Politically connected voters may know the details, such as above, but everyone gets it in broad strokes.

    The Romney-Ryan ticket are running a “generic Republicans” campaign and thus saying things that are totally familiar to anyone who saw the Bush-Cheney or the McCain-Palin ticket. Listeners are certainly not going to be surprised when confidence is expressed in markets, and the alternative is described as rank socialism.

    … too boring

    … and too reminiscent of things now in low regard (Bush-Cheney and McCain-Palin).

  8. jan says:

    Today’s Rasmussen Poll shows a 48/44 Romney lead (3% preferring another candidate, with 5% undecided), which is considered a ‘decent’ bounce, as Romney was trailing Obama by 2 going into the convention.

    Also there are recent rasmussen internals indicating a change in the generic R & D numbers, whereby the R’s are a +4 over the D’s, a bigger gap than there was in the ’10 midterms, which was between a +1-2 for the R’s.

    Basically the flux in different polling samples produces different results. So, if the ras generics are more correct than the ones used by other polling companies, the results may not be accurately gauging what the real sentiments of the public are. And, that’s where the frequent usage of the word ‘unexpected’ seems to arise, especially in this Obama administration, referring to economic indicators, such as jobs reports or UE numbers. Maybe the same will hold true in Novemeber, when the voter tallies ‘unexpectedly’ take a different turn.

  9. michael reynolds says:


    Jan. No one trusts Rasmussen. Everyone trusts Nate Silver.

  10. Jan,

    Rasmussen’s samples generally oversample Republicans. Unless I see similar numbers repeated in other polls, I would tend to discount that number.

  11. jan says:

    @john personna:

    I see you’ve gotten your DNC cue cards detailing the next step of how to assault Paul Ryan!

  12. Robert Shiller, who in one of the best books on Pop-Economics called the housing bubble before it popped, has a good piece up on “framing” in political campaigns. From that:

    From July 2008 to July 2012, the number of state and local employees nationwide fell by 715,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The reality is actually worse than that figure suggests. The total ended up 1.31 million people below where it would have been had public sector employment simply kept pace with population growth.

    Basically people on board with the “generic Republican” argument I mentioned above will complain about the growth of government, even as that employment falls.

    I think a little more rational and engaging argument would be something like “This is a difficult time, as state and local governments restructure, after years of excess growth. The Federal government can help as we find new balance, etc., etc.

  13. @jan:

    Try not to campaign with a “kick me” sign on your [back].

  14. al-Ameda says:

    @jan: @jan:

    @john personna:
    I see you’ve gotten your DNC cue cards detailing the next step of how to assault Paul Ryan!

    Yes Jan, the truth does damage Paul Ryan.

  15. Very related:

    The gap between journalists’ desire to cover the political game and our ability to do so has only widened since Mr. Benenson changed careers. Campaigns have borrowed techniques from the social sciences, including behavioral psychology and statistical modeling. They have access to private collections of data and from their analysis of it have been able to reach empirical, if tentative, conclusions about what works and what doesn’t.

    You may recall that I thought that one-sided in this race, with the Obama team obviously using ehavioral psychology and the Romney campaign running off the cuff ….

    The article in general addresses “horse race political coverage” as a couple layers out of step.

  16. (Based on that article, one might deduce that Jan and Drew are Obama plants.)

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @jan: And what will you do if Obama wins? Cry? Complain We Wuz Robbed!? Blame ACORN?

    The fact is, Romney hasn’t given one damn good reason why the average American should swap him for Obama. It’s all “trust me!” and “I’ll do much better!” and “another 2,000,000 jobs will be created!”

    But as for plans? Meh. Nothing but soundbites and platitudes.

  18. Pete says:

    @john personna: JP, the people who complain about growth in government are referring to the reach of the federal government through regulations, the tax code and the unhealthy alliance between corporations and big government. Your figures for the loss of jobs pertained to state and local government. Is there a disconnect in there somewhere?

  19. jan says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I concur that Rasmussen is a conservative-leaning pollster, similar to how PPP is construed to be left-leaning in it’s operation. However, when you look at Rasmussen’s over-all record, in the last 2 GE they have an excellent record, as denoted in Wikipedia’s analysis:

    At the end of the 2008 presidential election, there were eight national tracking polls and many other polls conducted on a regular basis. Polling analyst Nate Silver reviewed the tracking polls and said that while none were perfect, and Rasmussen was “frequently reputed to have a Republican lean”, the “house effect” in their tracking poll was small and “with its large sample size and high pollster rating [it] would probably be the one I’d want with me on a desert island.”[51] After the election, Rasmussen’s poll was rated as the most accurate, when compared to various other final pre-election polls.

    In 2004 Slate reported that Rasmussen was the most accurate one. In 2008 Bloomberg, Politico, and Talking Points Memo had equally good remarks about Rasmussens’s accuracy. In 2010 this was the polling company that got Scott Brown’s ‘unexpected win’ right, too!

    Real Clear Politics also credits Rasmussen with polling results that, more times than not, closely mirrors an election outcome.

    As a side bar, Rasmussen likes to use polling samples reflecting likely voters versus the ones of other pollsters who use adults. Using adults only, as a sample, can weight a poll several points more towards democrats.

  20. @Pete:

    First of all, I think you are doing “government” critics a favor. I don’t believe they ever have been solely concerned with regulation. That was certainly part of it, but not all.

    Second, (or maybe this is a re-framing of the above) how do things like the Norquist pledge or “starve the beast” attack the things you describe?

  21. jan says:

    @grumpy realist:

    And what will you do if Obama wins? Cry? Complain We Wuz Robbed!? Blame ACORN?

    Although, that’s probably what you would do if Obama loses, I will sum it up as the people getting the government they want and probably deserve. Having free elections means we are vulnerable to not always getting what we want from an election. Since this has become a 50/50 partisan country, approximately half the people are not going to be happy with the outcome in November.

  22. @jan:

    You might enjoy that “horse race” article. It says that none of the public polls matter. The campaigns (as I think I heard Jon Meacham say) have it figured down to a few people in a few precincts.

    (My little joke about you and Drew was that if you show up regularly to make bad arguments, who are you really helping?)

  23. Pete says:

    @john personna: @john personna: JP, I didn’t say they were solely concerned with regulations. I was trying to point out that you referred to a drop in state local government employment as being inconsistent with opponents of big government still whining about growth in big government. I think the whiners are pointing their whining at the federal government. I don’t think your evidence supporting the inconsistency was convincing.

  24. Scott O says:

    @john personna: If Jan isn’t an Obama plant we should thank her for fulfilling the function voluntarily. Every one of her posts seems designed to reinforce the notion that Republicans are insane. She gives us a link to show that Rasmussen is accurate when in fact it says the opposite.

    “In 2010, Nate Silver of the New York Times blog FiveThirtyEight wrote the article “Is Rasmussen Reports biased?”, in which he mostly defended Rasmussen from allegations of bias.[57] However, by later in the year, Rasmussen’s polling results diverged notably from other mainstream pollsters, which Silver labeled a “house effect”.[58] He went on to explore other factors which may have explained the effect such as the use of a likely voter model,[59] and claimed that Rasmussen conducted its polls in a way that excluded the majority of the population from answering.[60] Silver also criticized Rasmussen for often only polling races months before the election, which prevented them from having polls just before the election that could be assessed for accuracy. He wrote that he was “looking at appropriate ways to punish pollsters” like Rasmussen in his pollster rating models who don’t poll in the final days before an election.[61] In June 2012, Silver wrote that “Rasmussen Reports, which has had Republican-leaning results in the past, does so again this year. However, the tendency is not very strong – a Republican lean of about 1.3 points.”[62]”

  25. Pete says:

    @grumpy realist: Isn’t that what we got from Obama in 2008? He’s just become a progressive version of Bush. I’d like to hear how Mitt will fix things, but who is so dense to believe campaign rhetoric and promises?

  26. @Pete:

    Well, I’d say the myth of big government is built in strong part on expansion of employment.

    Interesting charts here and here.

    According to those, we shouldn’t even be looking at federal spending. It is state and local where the growth are coming from.

    I suspect that for regulations it is similar. I mean, we’ve heard here complaints about starting a burger joint, etc., when it wasn’t federal law slowing things down.

  27. PJ says:


    As a side bar, Rasmussen likes to use polling samples reflecting likely voters versus the ones of other pollsters who use adults. Using adults only, as a sample, can weight a poll several points more towards democrats.

    Rasmussen uses likely voter screen years before an election even though polling likely voters more than about two months before the election will give you less reliable information than polling registered voters.
    Why do they do it? To push certain views.

  28. @Pete:

    See that’s my moderate defense of Obama. He has been pragmatic. He hasn’t been a big scary socialist.

    … and so people who call him a big scary socialist are not themselves trustworthy.

  29. This just underscores the point I made in my post about Romney’s speech: his task is to give people a reason to vote for him, and he really didn’t do so. As JP notes above: running at the Generic Republican is not sufficient.

  30. Steven,

    I think it has more to do with the fact that we are in a very close election where the number of potentially persuadable voters is fairly low. Given the ratings, which I expect to be repeated for the DNC, it’s unlikely many of those persuadables

  31. @Doug Mataconis: Yes, it is close nationally (although I still expect it not to be so, ultimately, in the EC).

    However, the bottom line remains: Romney has to do some persuading, and isn’t. It may be that he cannot succeed in accomplishing the goal, but are you really going to tell me that that speech was one that had the chance to persuade in this fashion?

  32. Steven,

    I think it is more a reflection of the fact that we are in a very close race where the number of persuadable voters is quite low. Given the ratings for the convention, which are likely to be repeated for this week’s goings on in Charlotte, I’d hazard a guess that many of those persuadable voters weren’t even watching.

  33. @Doug Mataconis:

    I’d hazard a guess that many of those persuadable voters weren’t even watching.

    Some were, many weren’t, I expect.

    However, the usefulness of a speech, as we often see with the SOTU, is not in those who watch but in the coverage after the speech. Ideas, proposals, philosophy, soundbites can resonate beyond the speech and that was what Romney needed, and did not generate.

  34. Steven

    Given there there is very little historical evidence that convention bounces last more than a week or so, not to mention the fact that the vast majority of voters didn’t see the speech at all, I don’t think much importance should be placed on that speech, or anything that happens at either of the conventions

  35. @Doug Mataconis: But I am not talking just about the fabled bounce, but on using the convention as something to build one going into the general election campaign.

    On the one hand, I would just as soon get rid of the conventions. On the other, they are a tool that campaigns can use. There is little doubt that they can shape press coverage. We know this, you and I, because we end up writing about them. As such, they are not meaningless and can be utilized to help a campaign.

    I know you staked out a claim on this subject in my post and now feel duty bound to defend it, but if the conventions don’t matter at all, why do you write about them? And why is it so hard to say that Romney could have have done more with his prime time event than he did?

  36. Pete says:

    @john personna: I agree with you on Obama. But as for big government, it seems intuitive that the bigger something gets, the more unwieldy it becomes. And the more power it usurps to keep growing. So, while certain facts suggest that fear of big government is misplaced, I tend to trust my intuition based on many years of observation; not necessarily listening to the political debate. Observing human nature can be illuminating as well, such as:
    From Bill Buckler, author of The Privateer

    The first pre-requisite of the establishment of a “society” of the rulers and the ruled has always been the same. The rulers must gain control over the medium of exchange. For obvious reasons, no nation can ever progress to a state of advanced economic activity until a medium of exchange is established. Once it is established, there is no going back. An advanced economy cannot operate by means of barter. The problem is that once the government or the rulers gain control of money, it progressively ceases to be a medium of exchange and becomes a medium of control. That impinges on the functioning of markets which in turn impinges on the maintenance of property rights. Thus, we come full circle from a free society to a command society. There has never been any shortage of those who want to rule. The problem has always been with the vast majority who are content to be ruled. Today’s global outcry for the manufacturing of more and more “money” out of thin air is an eloquent testimony. It shows that most people have no understanding of freedom, markets or money. Lacking such understanding – and having no desire to gain it – most people have accepted government as their masters.

    As Robert Heinlein stated the problem – it is impossible to free a serf or a slave. He or she must free themselves and most are much more terrified of that prospect than they are resentful of being ruled.

    The bigger government gets, the more power is ceded to it by people described in the quote. There are plenty of anti big government voices who likely don’t know why they are anti government. But if you or any of the others who comment here are unafraid of big government, you should really think through your conviction.

  37. The conventions get written about because they happened but they are, for the most part, anachronistic relics of their former selves. As I note in the post, since 1952 the candidate that was leading before the conventions won the election 80% of the time. That’s a strong suggestion that these events have very little impact on voters, and certainly far less than pundits and campaign consultants think they do. I’ve was writing a week ago about eliminating these spectacles entirely, or at least cutting them back substantially, so that’s not really a premise I have trouble accepting.

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    I miss the 1968 DNC. Now that was must-see TV

  39. @Doug Mataconis: I am well aware that the conventions are not what they were. That is not my point. Again: were it up to me, I would do away with them.

    But to state that multiple nights of prime time broadcast television time means nothing and cannot be used as a means of helping to get a message out is problematic.

    You might as well argue that commercials don’t matter.

  40. I means, seriously, these events, such as they are, do shape the news cycle and the late night comedy agenda. They are not inconsequential.

  41. michael reynolds says:


    Yes, you explain perfectly why France, Sweden, Netherlands and Canada are grim, totalitarian wastelands. And why China, Germany, Japan and South Korea cannot compete.

    So, re: your trusted observations, please point to the libertarian paradise that exists in the real world. Just one. I mean, you know, aside from Somalia where entrepreneurs are free, free, free! to fire up their fishing boats and play pirate with passing tankers.

    Over here is reality. And over there is Libertarian theory. And never the twain shall meet.

  42. Pete says:

    JP, I didn’t make it clear that I think government is getting bigger in its reach to dictate how we live, how we conduct business, and how we are allowed to think. That is why I brought up the issue of regulations and why I brought up the issue of money and markets. The power the federal government has over us through the federal tax code is enormous. So, employment can actually decrease in DC, but that is secondary to how the government grows in its intrusion into how we live day to day.

  43. @Pete:

    I am a foe of big government. I just don’t see any real big government boosters to fight.

    Remember, Obama’s the one with a big “regulation reform” homepage.

    If we had someone authentically leftist, who want to nationalized industries or something, I’d be on the other side of this. I just don’t see that.

    I see, as I’ve said many times, moderation painted as socialism

  44. Re. michael reynolds, I don’t think we should be afraid to borrow things that work from other successful nations. Just as we happily abandon things that broadly fail.

  45. Pete says:

    @michael reynolds: Michael, I’ve always enjoyed your penchant for the pithy snark. I suspect you can afford to avoid the slow boil of the frog in the water as you readily admit you make such a good living, you are merrily immune to the rising temperature.

  46. jan says:

    @Scott O:

    Your post is an example of ‘when you don’t have much to say’ just harp on any tidbit you can find to make a point.’ Nate Silver has been all over the map on his assertions about Rasmussen. In 2008 he complimented his polling (what I posted), and your’s, from another year, had another comment. Basically, Silver doen’t like to give Rasmussen any sway at all, as the two pollsters come from different political places. Nonetheless, the Rasmussen polls have had far more input, over at least the last 8 years, that is respectfully positive than the other way around.

  47. Herb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “They are not inconsequential. “

    It’s even harder to argue the conventions are inconsequential considering the current occupant of the White House. He was a state senator no one heard of when he gave his keynote speech at the DNC in 2004. Four years later, he was accepting their nomination for president, which he later won. Now that’s a convention bounce….

  48. neil hudelson says:

    From what i remember (and I’m on my phone so it’s hard to find sources), the average Republican convention bounce is 5 points. The average democratic convention bounce is 6 points Romney exactly hit the average. If Obama does the same it will essentially be a wash as I stated in Steven’s thread earlier, Obama is in a slightly better position to beat the average.

    Slightly bad news for Romney

  49. jan says:

    Oh, BTW, from the pollster you all love to dismiss, Romney is up 2 pts. in the swing states. That will change after the dem hold their circus. But, for now, there is a little bump towards the contenders.

  50. michael reynolds says:


    I am somewhat (and perhaps temporarily) immune, I’d be the first to admit it. On the other hand, at age 58, I have still spent most of my life poor. Prosperity came around 1990, and “immunity” around 1995.

    And you, like Doug, still cannot show me a single nation on earth that has succeeded as anything other than some version of regulated capitalism. Not one. Not a single successful nation without a large and intrusive government. Zero.

    A conservative looks at ideologies with some skepticism, particularly when there has never been a single proof of concept.

  51. jan says:


    Now that’s a convention bounce….

    Not really…that’s what happens when the economy crashes, when the party not associated with said crash has something like a 3 to 1 money advantage, and when the opposing party doesn’t wish to participate in negative campaigning and/or democratic-like character assassination, like McCain declined to do. I’m surprised, actually, that Obama didn’t win by a larger margin with all those advantages.

    In this election, though, Obama has an opponent who is equal in fund-raising ability. He has a terrible economy he must somehow distort to appear better than it is. And, he has foes who are willing to take it his level, when it comes to saying it like it is — pointing out the ’empty chair’ syndrome. Boy, is that image going to linger on!

    Hopefully, the washing away of some of his Mt Rushmore sand sculpture in Charlotte, NC, is a sign of where his president campaign is headed.

  52. Herb says:


    “He has a terrible economy he must somehow distort to appear better than it is. “

    Whatever. I remember the economy taking a nose dive while Bush was sitting in the Oval Office. McCain, with Palin in tow, freaked out and “suspended his campaign.” Obama was inaugurated and an hour later, Bush dropped a box of files on his desk and said good luck.

    My point wasn’t about Obama’s performance on the economy, which I judge fair to middling or about what one would expect considering the circumstances, but about how conventions can succeed or fail. They can pluck guys like Obama from obscurity and put him in the White House, or they can deflate an aging hero’s reputation in seconds. (Eastwood.)

  53. Pete says:

    @michael reynolds: Sorry to give you the impression I am looking for the libertarian idea of a place to live. I just want people to realize that the temperature is rising in the pot of water. I am hoping someone turns off the oven. And there are better ways to regulate than at the barrel of a gun.

  54. michael reynolds says:

    I don’t know what you mean by the temperature rising. Maybe I missed it somewhere, can you clarify?

  55. Pete says:

    @michael reynolds: You know, the one about the frog sitting in a pan of water on the stove?

  56. Scott O says:

    @jan: I appreciate all your hard work. You should ask Mr. Soros for a raise.

  57. michael reynolds says:


    Yes, but what is the metaphor signifying in this case? Unemployment remains too high. But it’s not rising, it’s just sitting there. Taxes are not rising — the stock market is. So what’s the stove in this metaphor?

  58. Pete says:

    @michael reynolds: The continued encroachment into our lives through regulation, tax policy, social engineering, political correctness, environmental extremism, excessive litigation, and finally: The Fed mismanaging the currency. These act like mini shock treatments to an increasingly dumbed down electorate. The treatment just drives the dumbed down to accept more treatment until there is no realization that one has turned over control of one’s life to the “doctors” who prescribed the treatment. Frankly, and selfishly, I will not be alive to witness whatever the conclusion is, but there will be a conclusion as there always is in a wealthy, mature society. I only keep harping on it in case any of the younger society decide to seriously consider the consequences and either try to change it or at least shelter themselves from as much as possible.

  59. David M says:


    I think government is getting bigger in its reach to dictate how we live, how we conduct business, and how we are allowed to think. That is why I brought up the issue of regulations and why I brought up the issue of money and markets. The power the federal government has over us through the federal tax code is enormous. So, employment can actually decrease in DC, but that is secondary to how the government grows in its intrusion into how we live day to day.

    Without examples this doesn’t actually mean very much. And Government involvement doesn’t always make people “less free” and the recent health care reforms are a good example of that.

  60. michael reynolds says:


    Ditto what DavidM said. Examples? Specifics? Because I have to tell you: taxes are no more a pain in the ass than they’ve been for a very long time. I don’t see over-regulation, and surely not as contrasted with other wealthy countries, I don’t even know what “social engineering” is supposed to mean, or “political correctness,” and I don’t see environmental extremism. As for the fed mismanaging our currency, I note that we have extremely low costs for borrowing and everyone on earth wants dollars.

    So, I don’t think there’s any there, there.

  61. @David M:

    And Government involvement doesn’t always make people “less free”

    Indeed. See: desegregation, the Civil Rights Act, the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and so forth.

    Or, for that matter, universal public education or the interstate highway system.

  62. MBunge says:

    @Pete: “excessive litigation”

    What does that have to do with Big Government?


  63. Pete says:

    @michael reynolds: The tax code is used by politicians to punish enemies and reward friends. An income tax discourages saving and investment. There are better ways to collect taxes, but politicians don’t like those ways because the current system allows for more mischief. As for regulations, just google the term and read about how they are onerous and costly. Especially if they stunt employment growth. Social engineering is the favorite goal of people who love to spend other peoples’ money on projects that are well intentioned and noble, but in reality are horribly mismanaged with far more poor results than good results. The War on Drugs comes to mind. The War on Poverty comes to mind. The War on Terror comes to mind. Political correctness brings us things like “hate speech.” Another way for lawyers to loot society. Environmental extremism? If this is a religion to you, no examples from me will change a thing: This an organization like Jesse Jackson’s that provides a fertile ground for tort lawyers to loot the private sector and the government all in the name of saving things that provide little or no benefit to the well being of society.

    As for the Fed, you obviously don’t study economics. And that is not a dig at you. Most peoples’ eyes glaze over at the word economics. Since 1913 and the beginning of the Fed, the dollar today can buy 4 cents of what it could buy then. Read some history and you will see that every society that has relied on a paper currency has failed in its attempts to maintain the value of that currency. Yes, even when a currency is backed by gold, there can be recessions, but those recessions are brought about by factors unrelated to currency value. The Fed was invented to manage hiccups in the banking system. It has become the banking system instead and is managed by people whose ideas on interest rate and money supply management have caused more inflation and deflation than necessary. The Fed has also become a willing partner to politicians whose promises to the electorate are funded by The Fed.

    I hope you can see the insidious nature of government getting bigger with little accountability for its mistakes and the attraction to big business and others seeking favors and benefits. I am not anti government; I am anti “too big to fail” government.

  64. An Interested Party says:

    I see you’ve gotten your DNC cue cards detailing the next step of how to assault Paul Ryan!

    Serial liars deserve to be assaulted…

    Boy, is that image going to linger on!

    Not really

    I hope you can see the insidious nature of government getting bigger with little accountability for its mistakes and the attraction to big business and others seeking favors and benefits. I am not anti government; I am anti “too big to fail” government.

    I’m just curious…when do you think this horrible state of affairs started? And what Republican would stop all of this?

  65. Pete says:

    @An Interested Party: I’m not a republican and these affairs have been around since politics became an accepted activity. Politics is “hollywood for the ugly,” ( I can’t remember who said that) and it is little more than a contest for liars and con artists. Just because it has been around since man stood on two legs doesn’t mean it is good for mankind in its current form. It is interesting though as it provides a subject to debate. Sort of like watching a pig sty in spring as the boars chase the sows around.

  66. anjin-san says:

    The bottom line on the race as it stands today is that Romney has played his best two cards and has little or nothing to show for it. The dynamic of the race is unaltered – if the election were held today, Obama would win by a reasonable margin.

    Rasmussen polls? You might as well read comic books. Rasmussen is paid to tell Republicans what they want to hear. Barring a game changing unforeseen event or a big Romney win in the debates, what is going to change things? Does anyone outside the Foxverse see a Romney debate win coming? Conservatives have convinced themselves that Obama can’t get dressed without Michelle helping him, but people with a grip on reality realize that he has some rather formidable skills, and he has not really taken the gloves off yet.

    pointing out the ‘empty chair’ syndrome. Boy, is that image going to linger on!

    Yes, it is echoing across the internet. Obama has proven over and over again to be an effective counterpuncher, as Donald Trump found out. This is almost as rich of a vein for comedians to mine as Sarah Palin was.

    In the long run, the Romney campaign may be remember for the public humiliation of a pretty much universally loved American icon more than anything else.

  67. michael reynolds says:


    There are better ways to collect taxes,

    Probably so. But that’s not turning up the heat. That’s the way it’s been since forever. And on the rest you’re just restating your conclusions, not supporting them.

    Since 1913 and the beginning of the Fed, the dollar today can buy 4 cents of what it could buy then.

    Irrelevant. And untrue, anyway. You know what you couldn’t buy in 1913? Antibiotics. Cars. Heart transplants. It’s apples and oranges. For five dollars now I can buy more computing power than existed in the entire world in 1913. With a thousand dollar MacBook Air I can access more data than all the world’s universities possessed in 1913. I can drive down to my grocery store and get foods that Kaiser Wilhelm, Queen Victoria and the Tsar couldn’t rustle up between them, and I can do it with the loose change I have in my car.

    We have a “product” called “the dollar.” Everyone wants it. That’s the very definition of a good product. Everyone wants it, no one wants any other currency nearly as much. You can only value a product relative to competing products on the market. So, Euro or USD? Yuan or USD? GBP or USD? Want some rubles? Pesos? A year ago when the idiot rating companies downgraded our credit rating, everyone predicted our borrowing costs would rise. Instead they dropped. The dollar is the iPhone of currencies.

    Dude, if you’re close to my age you’ve been through at least a dozen predicted doomsdays. Still no doomsday. We’ve been on the eve of destruction since I was born in 1954. We have 8% unemployment and we spend too much money. We’ll survive.

  68. anjin-san says:

    doesn’t mean it is good for mankind in its current form.

    I will take today’s American political landscape, warts and all, over pretty much everything else that has been tried in human history.

  69. matt says:

    @michael reynolds:I wouldn’t compare the dollar to an iphone as the iphone isn’t the most popular phone in the world. Market share for the iphone is a fairly dismal 17% these days(and declining) while android makes up 68%.

    So I’d rather you not compare the dollar to an overpriced phone that is on the decline…

  70. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Jan. No one trusts Rasmussen. Everyone trusts Nate Silver.”

    “Everyone trusts Nate Silver”. LMAO. That has to be the laugh line of the century. Nate Silver is a left wing radical who works for a newspaper heavily invested in Obama. If your “Everyone” means other left wings cranks, then, YES, Everyone trusts Nate Silver. What should give you left wing cranks pause is that Obama is polling in the mid to low 40% nationally and in the key battleground states.

    As I write this Obama’s approval rating in the Gallup Daily tracker is 43% and Rasmussen has Romney leading Obama 48% – 44%. If Obama truly is at 43% – 44% right now, that is more ominous and dangerous for him that any juiced NY Times/CBS poll for OH that samples 10% more Repubs that Dems. I don’t believe an incumbent has ever been re-elected with pre election polls in the low 40%, in part because late breakers usually don’t vote for an incumbent they’ve known for 4 years and 43% – 44% is a long way to 50%.

  71. al-Ameda says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    “Everyone trusts Nate Silver”. LMAO. That has to be the laugh line of the century. Nate Silver is a left wing radical who works for a newspaper heavily invested in Obama.

    “Nate Silver is a left wing radical” is, essentially the equivalent of saying that Senator Olympia Snowe is a “left wing radical.”

  72. jukeboxgrad says:


    Jan. No one trusts Rasmussen. Everyone trusts Nate Silver.

    Related: no one trusts Jan. Everyone trusts Michael Reynolds.


    My little joke about you [Jan] and Drew was that if you show up regularly to make bad arguments, who are you really helping?

    Exactly. This is what I frequently describe as their inadvertent public service.

  73. rh says:

    “Nate Silver is a left wing radical”

    OK, that has to be trolling.

  74. rh says:

    Nate Silver has actually discussed his political beliefs in detail on his blog before it was on He’s basically a third-way Clintonesque center-left/neoliberal. To call him a “left wing radical” is completely preposterous.