Yes, Michelle Obama gave a magnificent speech tonight. Yes, she articulated her family's values, her party's values, and her nation's values, using personal stories to make broader points.
Michelle Obama's speech was magnificent. But it was not the most important thing she said tonight.
The most important thing she said tonight came just after she walked off stage.
More, after the jump.
Just one question at the end of an amazing night—are you in? OFA.BO/w76s16 –mo
Why is this the most important thing Michelle Obama said all night? In late August, Nate Silver noticed an unusual development in CNN's national poll:
The good news for Barack Obama? Among registered voters, he led Mitt Romney by nine percentage points, with 52 percent of the vote to Mr. Romney’s 43 percent.It is true that President Obama maintains leads in the most important swing states, even with the observed gap between likely voters and registered voters. But what happens if turnout goes above the levels predicted by pollsters? Enough of the House Tea Partiers that made John Boehner Speaker of the House may lose, bringing Nancy Pelosi a gavel and government shutdown threats a thing of the past. Tight Senate races could be tipped to Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Tammy Baldwin, Chris Murphy, and more and better Democrats.
However, Mr. Obama led by just two percentage points, 49 to 47, when CNN applied its likely voter screen to the survey. This is the first time this year that CNN has reported likely voter results.
Holding a two-point lead among likely voters is not an especially bad (or good) number for Mr. Obama, since it is highly consistent with the way that our forecast sees the overall race right now.
What’s worrisome for him, rather, is the large gap in the poll — seven points — between the likely voter and registered voter results.
Are you in? The answer to this question could tell us just what kind of laws Americans will get over the next two years on everything from tax fairness to energy, health care to education. The answer to this question could go a long way to determining the shape of the US Supreme Court for years to come.
The First Lady of the United States ended her night with the most important thing she could say, so I'll repeat it: