Pollwatch: Obama convention bounce continues to grow


President Obama’s post-convention “bounce” continued to grow Saturday, as new polls showed him widening a lead over Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Obama’s lead over Romney among registered voters grew to 49%-45% in Gallup’s tracking poll. The 49% for Obama was his highest point in the survey since late April. It represented an increase of 1 point since Friday and a 5-point swing from Romney’s 47%-46% lead in the Gallup survey just before the Republican convention began.

The poll combines small samples taken each night to present a seven-day average. Since three of the nights of the survey period preceded the Democratic convention, Obama’s lead in the survey is likely to grow further.

Gallup’s measure of job approval also continued to improve for Obama, with 52% of adults surveyed saying they approved of his performance in office, compared with 42% disapproving. That survey uses a three-day average.

Two other tracking polls, the Rasmussen and Reuters/Ipsos surveys, also showed Obama with a lead. In the Rasmussen tracking poll, a three-day average which has tended to show better results for Romney, Obama led 46%-44% among likely voters surveyed, up from a 1-point deficit on Friday and a six-point swing from just after the Republican convention.

In his account of the results, pollster Scott Rasmussen noted that for the first time in his survey, Democrats were now following the campaign as closely as Republican voters, a measure that often predicts turnout.

In the Reuters/Ipsos poll Obama led Romney among likely voters by 47%-44%, up a point from Friday’s three-point lead.

So far, the polls indicate that Obama gained considerably more from his convention than did Romney, who got only a small bounce, from his. How much further Obama’s lead will grow and whether it proves lasting will be key questions over the next week.

As the word implies, a “bounce” can be fickle. Candidates almost always benefit from a week of concentrated coverage of their message, but in some years, the advantage fades quickly.

That’s not always the case, however. In 2004, George W. Bush got a substantial boost from his convention and established a lead over Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that held up through election day. Obama’s aides have carefully studied Bush’s campaign as a model of how a president can win reelection in a sharply polarized electorate.

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