Romney won the conventions
Well, not quite. But he sure didn’t lose them. Not that you could tell that from the triumphant press reporting.
In defense to them, it’s pretty hard to tell. Comparing different polls is pointless because the models used are different. Daily tracking polls provide the only consistent polling models across the entire time period of the convention, but they often seem to contradict each other. As I pointed out in an earlier post, that is because they cover different time periods. Rasmussen reports the average of the last 3 days of polling, while Gallup reports an average of the last 7 days. Comparing today’s release results from the two polls is not apples to apples.
However, when you compare the midpoints of the two polls, the results are magically in sync. Take a look below. The peaks and valleys line up in both timing and magnitude. As would be expected, Gallup is dampened somewhat by the longer sample period, with peaks and valleys showing up earlier and taking longer to dissapear from the reporting sample.
So now that we have the two polls in sync, let’s look closer at the effect of the conventions. First, accept the premise that anything during the conventions is just noise, so focus on the period immediately before and after the convention. Note that before the convention, support for both Obama and Romney was fairly stable in both polls. The dotted lines show approximate best fit averages.
Now look at the period after the conventions. As the convention bounce dissipates from the polling, Obama’s support drops down to the same level it was before the conventions, while Romney’s support appears to level off at a new, higher plateau.
Will this bump last? Hard to say. The increase could reflect other daily influences, such as the tragedy in Libya and unrest in Egypt. Likewise, Romney’s support will likely drop several points over the next few days in reaction to the “47 percent” hysterics from the press.
But it seems pretty clear that Obama did not actually gain an advantage from the conventions, contrary to popular wisdom, and it is entirely possible that it was Romney who gained more.