We are, at long last, getting the first of the polling conducted entirely after the DNC Convention and the announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate. This polling is telling a consistent story: whatever bounce Obama may have gotten from the convention and the greatest speech in political history*, it has completely evaporated with the announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate.
The first point of reference is Rasmussen Rasmussen’s polling on 8/25, the last day of polling including no questions asked before any part of the convention, indicated a lead of 3 points for Obama, when leaners were included. Interestingly, the first two days of the convention appear to have had a negative impact on Obama’s standing in the Rasmussen polls, followed by a return to pre-convention levels based on Wed/Thurs/Fri polling. Since that time; bupkis.
CNN tells the same story. CNN’s poll taken the last two days before the convention (a weekend poll) indicated that the race was a tie. CNN’s poll taken after the end of the convention and the Palin announcement (also a weekend poll shows Obama up 1 point. The Gallup tracking poll has not yet been released today, but I expect that it will show a net very small bounce for Obama after the convention. There are many reasons to be somewhat suspicious of all these polls, as all were weekend polls and the most recent set were holiday weekend polls, but they do clearly indicate that the convention has not allowed Obama to take control of this race and establish himself as the firm frontrunner. Before the convention, most national polls showed Obama with a 0-3 point lead. After the convention, it looks like most national polls will show him with a 1-4 point lead. That’s either no bounce at all, or a negligible bounce, at best.
Given the slobbering and fawning media coverage of Obama’s speech and the admitted drama of the moment, it might have been expected that Obama should receive an 8-10 point bounce and be leading this race by 10 or 11 points right now. That simply hasn’t happened. It might be due to the fact that Obama’s speech, while high drama, contained no lines that anyone still remembers. I’m already struggling to remember one myself. It might be due to the fact that the Palin pick stomped on the convention news cycle, strangled it until the point of death, and then set it on fire and tossed it in a ditch by the side of the road. It might be due to the fact that the Palin pick has made a lot of sidelines voters committed voters for McCain overnight. I’m guessing a combination of all three. The bottom line is that McCain goes into this week’s convention with an excellent chance to seize the momentum and establish himself as the frontrunner – or at least establish that the race is a draw – coming out of the convention.