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Last night, Nate Silver wondered aloud what the predictive value of CNN's post-debate poll might be in determining a potential (likely inevitable) change in the national polls.

Since he could find no study on the subject, he decided today to conduct one himself. The chart below represents his efforts (which I will explain in a moment):

Nate Silver compares the predictive value of CNN's snap reaction polls, post-debate, with changes in head-to-head polling.
What you see above represents the margins by which either the incumbent (I) or the challenger (C) won the debate in CNN's instant reaction poll and the subsequent change in the head-to-head polls.

As you can see above, and as Silver notes, the most comparable margin happened in 1992, when Bill Clinton "won" the debate by 42 points and gained a 4.1 bump in the national polls.

However, what you also see is that there are many instances in which the "winner" of a debate actually lost ground in the polls. Here Silver represents this correlation statistically:

Note that while there is a mild positive correlation, it is "not statistically significant."

Silver projects a 2.2 point bounce for Romney in the polls based on this analysis – or, rather, notes that this correlative study suggests as such.

A win for Romney in the near-term? Yes. A game-changer?

Not by a long shot.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I doubt it's a game changer (10+ / 0-)

    Romney's stylistic win will be undermined by his factual fail. The real question is whether Obama's apparent inability and/or unwillingness to fight back and defend himself and his record will turn off enough swing voters to affect the election. I.e. the real question is not how much Romney won but how badly Obama lost.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 12:32:08 PM PDT

  •  ugh damnit. I didn't want him (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to have a bump.

    "I'm not mad at them (tea party) for being loud, I'm mad at us for being silent for the last two years. Where have we been"? "it was never yes HE can, it was Yes WE can". - Van Jones

    by sillycilla on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 12:34:19 PM PDT

  •  What a way to kill (0+ / 0-)

    a good freak-out session here.

  •  Romney's Bump Will Be Temporary Unless & Until... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    he is perceived to win the 2nd & the 3rd debate.  If Obama fails to defend his foreign policy in the last debate, we're in trouble.

  •  That is a good perspective -but that last line (0+ / 0-)

    is not what I want to see.

    But for what it’s worth, the historical data would project a gain of 2.2 percentage points for Mr. Romney in the head-to-head polls by this time next week.
  •  The factual lies will dampen Romney's bounce. (3+ / 0-)

    The concerted effort by the Obama campaign to address those issues will also hurt Romney a bit.  However, the fact that Romney appeared to out duel the President should give Romney about a 1-1.4 temporary point boost, but will likely fade before the next debate.  The key is whether Obama can deliver a good performance in Long Island. That would likely reverse everything back to status quo ante.  Romney sort of emptied his holster in this first debate and doesn't have a lot to fall back on. But if the President doesn't seize on things like the 716 bn lie, then Romney could easily win the next debate.  However, based on today's response, I think the President will address those issues.  

    Where I think Romney was effective though is in criticisms of the unemployment rate, growth rate, poverty rate, and his opinions on certain aspects of Obama's governance (why go for health care when we had a jobs crisis?; why too big to fail doesn't work etc.).  Those went largely un-rebutted and if Obama doesn't work on that he might not get a clear win over Romney in debate #2.

    The other issue is style.  Romney was more decisive in his use of language, whereas Obama struggled on how to structure his responses: it should be stiff arm counter attack first, explanation to the voters second; and stiff arm again.  I don't know if he has enough practice time to be demonstrably better than he was in Denver.

    Some advantages Obama will have are: lower or more rational expectations, the lie police, more Democrats watching (judging by the breakdown, networks that have more conservative leaning viewers tended to make up a larger proportion of the audience), and a town hall format where Romney will be judged more on the quality of his answers to the questions asked than his style.

    The President has a lot of work to do, but handling Romney is a very achievable task.  Romney is an empty suit.

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 12:47:10 PM PDT

  •  My computer crashed a few days ago, so I've (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madgranny, sacrelicious, trumpeter

    mostly been without internet.  But, what I can gather watching CNN, and MSNBC, is that one consequence of the debate, and "perceived" Romney victory is that the right is super-fired up and willing to get out on the news shows fighting tooth and nail, where prior to the debate it seemed that many had almost given up, and had no issue left to score points with.

    The fact that Romney's points come mostly from deceptions is not holding the right back at all, in fact, it almost seems to embolden them.

    Sununu was spiting fire to Andrea Mitchell this afternoon, to the point of being blatently obnoxious and rude, to both the President and her, calling the President "lazy and incompetent."  Mitchell pushed back several times more than I've seen here do before, even asking Sununu if he wanted to "walk back" his lazy acquisation which he doubled down on.

    On CNN, Rob Portman was fired up and scoring points, and as one would expect, at first glance it looks like the right is fired up on comment boards across the globe including Intrade where Romney's numbers appear to have taken a jump this morning.

    We going to have a long month in the trenches fighting for every inch of conceptual terroritory.

    But, we may benefit not check from the obvious fact-checking errors Romney has made, but also his flip flopping.

    I"m sure people must have written this up extensively elsewhere but if Romney concedes he is not going to enhance revenues, and wants to increase defense spending then President Obama simple math argument may start to pay dividends as we demand the media demand Romney to itemize how he closes this gap only with reduced expenditures.

    Let's start the itemized list of every program Romney would have to cut, which is pretty much all, to balance the budget without revenue.  Programs for the blind, disabled, veterans care, are going to be even more poignant then Big Bird, Amtrack, NSF, NFA, NFH etc.  

    Also, when Romney claims he doesn't want people thrown off their insurance for pre-existing conditions, President Obama tried to get into the details pointing out that Romney's plan is only the 90 day opportunity to maintain continuous coverage, which may be beyond our collective attention span.

    Instead, perhaps, President Obama and Democrats should announce with great fanfare how pleased we are that Romney has accepted the ACA ban on pre-existing condition refusal, and then leave to to Romney and campagne to clarify that he doesn't really mean it.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 12:50:52 PM PDT

  •  Jobs report (3+ / 0-)

    Tomorrow morning's job numbers will have to be factored into any bump as well.  

    If they're bad, I'm guessing it won't have much of an impact... the bad numbers last month didn't dampen Obama's convention bounce.  It will help reinforce the "comeback" narrative for Romney, though, finishing off the first week he's won in months.

    If the job numbers are strong, however, I think that could kill any debate momentum for Romney.

  •  Um...except that there was no "challenger" in (0+ / 0-)

    ...1988, 2000 or 2008, so I'm confused.

  •  FYI, r-square is the amount of variation... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Troubadour

    explained by the model, with the rest of the variation being 'error' (unexplained variation) due to chance.  An r-square above 0.90 indicates strong significance.

    "Detective, if ignorance was a drug, you'd be high all the time." Sam Tyler, 'Life on Mars'

    by Kokomo for Obama on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 01:37:12 PM PDT

  •  Romney shot his wad, emptied his clip... (0+ / 0-)

    and where were the frickin' zingers?  He'll have to go birther in the second debate..

    Everyone is crying out for peace; no one's crying out for justice...

    by mojave mike on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 02:12:08 PM PDT

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