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For the better part of a week, I have cautioned that it was too early to read into the early convention and post-convention polling emanating from the Republican National Convention. Too few data points, a window (in the case of Gallup's daily tracking poll) that still included too many pre-convention respondents, et cetera.

Well, it's the Tuesday after the convention. We can now draw some firm conclusions about the political impact of the RNC on the state of electoral play. And the most evident conclusion is that this was a convention, largely, without a bounce or any discernible momentum for the challenger.

On to the numbers:

PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:

NATIONAL (CNN/Opinion Research): Obama tied with Romney (48-48--LV); Obama d. Romney (52-45--RV)

NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama d. Romney (47-46)

NATIONAL (Ipsos-Reuters Tracking): Romney d. Obama (46-45--LV); Obama tied with Romney (43-43--RV)

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (47-45)

FLORIDA (Gravis Marketing--R): Romney d. Obama (48-47)

MICHIGAN (PPP): Obama d. Romney (51-44)

DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
FL-SEN (Gravis Marketing--R): Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 43, Connie Mack IV (R) 42

FL-SEN (PPP): Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 45, Connie Mack IV (R) 38

MI-SEN (PPP): Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) 50, Pete Hoekstra (R) 41

A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump...

As it happens, we now have four data points with pollsters that were in the field just before the GOP convention last week, who also released new data today. Two of them, as it happens, released their numbers with registered voter and likely voter samples. For the sake of not overcomplicating things, in the table below, I simply included both of them:

Ipsos/Reuters (RV):
Last Week: Obama 43-39
Today: Obama 43-43
BOUNCE: Romney +4

Rasmussen:
Last Week: Obama 47-45
Today: Romney 47-45
BOUNCE: Romney +4

Ipsos/Reuters (LV):
Last Week: Obama 45-43
Today: Romney 46-45
BOUNCE: Romney +3

CNN/ORC (RV):
Last Week: Obama 52-43
This Week: Obama 52-45
BOUNCE: Romney +2

CNN/ORC (LV):
Last Week: Obama 49-47
This Week: Obama 48-48
BOUNCE: Romney +2

GALLUP:
Last Week: Romney 47-46
This Week: Obama 47-46
BOUNCE: Obama +2

AVERAGE CONVENTION BOUNCE (6 polls): Romney +2.2 percent
CURRENT AVG TRIAL HEAT RESULT: Obama 46.7 Romney 45.8

Those are not numbers that are bound to be too inspirational, if you are a Republican. When an average of the most recent national polls has you at no better than even money after your convention, with the opposing convention still on tap, that has to be cause for some concern.

Already, and predictably, spinners on the right (and enablers in the pundit class) are already trying to put lipstick on this particular porcine convention bounce. "Romney's favorability ratings improved!" they shout in unison, conveniently ignoring that his actual voter support, meanwhile, essentially did not. While Romney's favorability numbers are not irrelevant (you can't get elected if no one likes you, and that was indeed a challenge that team Romney had to meet in the RNC), the bump in those numbers is neither surprising (he was lavished with praise for a week, what did you expect to happen to his fav/unfav figures?), nor does it mask the fact that voter preferences appear to have scarcely budged.

If the Democrats get a bump larger than that of the GOP, which would require a greater than 2 percent boost in Obama's fortunes by next Tuesday, it would be in defiance of recent electoral history. It would also complicate what was already a pretty challenging path to 270 electoral votes for the Republican challenger.

That said, an Obama bounce is not guaranteed, by any measure. As I speculated here on the Wrap last week, it is simply possible that there are few persuadable voters left out there, and opinions are pretty well baked in. If we awaken a week from today, and see Obama still up by roughly a point or two over Mitt Romney, one would have to reasonably conclude that to be the case. The already fierce paid media war may play a role in that, as well, polarizing the electorate sooner than we might expect.

For now, the ball is in Charlotte, squarely in the Democratic court. While it seems unlikely that the Democrats could put the election away this week, it is not impossible. The amount of change in the electorate this week will speak volumes about expectations going forward about what kind of election the 2012 campaign will be.

In other polling news...

  • In the "keep an eye on it" department: check out this dispatch from former MSNBC anchor David Shuster:
    The Obama campaign, I'm told, did internal polling in Ohio the past two days and found President Obama beating Mitt Romney in the Buckeye State by + 9 points. For weeks, the Obama campaign has been indicating that Ohio was moving more strongly in their direction.
    In the "brilliant timing" department: PPP will be polling Ohio next week, along with Minnesota, Montana, and North Carolina. Love those guys...
  • Speaking of a lack of an RNC bounce, even a somewhat sketchy, apparently rightward-leaning pollster has to concede it. Gravis Marketing, which appears GOP-affiliated (based on some of their ties to other political sponsors), shows Mitt Romney up one in Florida. If the sight of a GOP pollster giving Romney only a single point lead in Florida isn't enough to cause pangs of optimism, remember that Gravis was in the Sunshine State a week or two ago, and they found Romney up three at that point. So, they can join Gallup in actually finding a negative bounce out of the RNC.
  • As for Michigan, for those alarmed by the sudden tightening in PPP's numbers, don't be. PPP had been the most optimistic about the president's prospects there, and their new numbers (51-44), were essentially half of the margin they showed earlier. However, this was also their first poll utilizing a likely voter screen. The screen appeared to "redden up" the respondents: the D/R spread in the poll was very favorable to the GOP, more so than the 2004 and 2008 exit polls. And, despite that, Obama and Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow both had solid edges in the high single-digits. Despite everyone attesting to its "swing state" status, there has been comparably little cash put into Michigan this cycle. PPP may be onto why that is the case with this poll. Even in a fairly favorable electoral scenario, the GOP still cannot fashion a coin flip here.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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