Romney’s Debate Bounce: How Big?


Obama admitted he wasn't up to par at the debate on the trail this weekend, The Caucus reports:

Appearing at the Nokia Theater after a concert where Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Jennifer Hudson, Katy Perry and Jon Bon Jovi performed, Mr. Obama complimented the entertainers for their flawless presentations. Then, he added, “I can’t always say the same.”

The joke at his own expense comes as Mr. Obama and his campaign continue to try to recover from the debate. The president, seeking to add to his already strong fund-raising totals last month, exhorted wealthy and staunchly Democratic donors to continue their support, painting a picture of an economy in the United States that is making a comeback.


Gallup says Romney's debate bounce was huge.

Nate Silver looks at Romney's debate bounce (top chart):

On average, the four tracking polls showed Mr. Obama with a 3.7 percentage point lead between the convention and the debate. The numbers did seem to fluctuate slightly during this period — with Mr. Obama polling especially well just after the release of the “47 percent” tape, but then fading a bit early last week, even before the debate. But in general the polls were fairly stable and seemed to reflect a near-term equilibrium for the campaign.

Based on the numbers that the tracking polls published on Sunday, however, Mr. Obama’s lead was down to just 1.7 percentage points on average — a net shift of 2 points toward Mr. Romney since the debate.

But that calculation potentially underestimates Mr. Romney’s gains since only about two-thirds of the interviews in these polls were conducted after the debate. If Mr. Romney gained 2 points based on two-thirds of the interviews being conducted after the debate, that would imply a 3-point gain for him based on the post-debate interviews alone.

A 3-point gain for Mr. Romney would be consistent with what candidates received following some of the stronger debate performances in the past. It would also make the national race very close.


  1. Dback says

    Just stating the obvious: Biden needs to tear Ryan limb from limb this week in his debate, which should be easy as long as Biden doesn’t come across as the flustered old uncle berating the hunky young Boy Scout. (It should be: compassionate elder statesman with tons of real-life experience debates young punk who lives in an Ayn Rand-inspired bubble and can’t stop lying about even the most basic things.)

    Further stating the obvious: Obama is going to have to go after Romney next debate like they’re one-on-one on the court, and Obama’s got to use his elbows. Obama is going to have to challenge Romney for implying that Obama was fibbing in the last debate (comparing the President to one of his naughty sons), and say something like “Mr. Romney, I too, am also a parent, having raised two daughters. And I can tell you that 1) I want them to grow up in world that values them and respects them in a way that your policies and your party do not, and 2) I’ve done basic high school math with them, and know how budget numbers vs. tax cuts add up. You, apparently, do not.” If he can draw some laughs amidst the jabs, he won’t come across as bullying or the infamous “angry black man” stereotype.”

    Also, having reviewed some of the clips, I honestly think AL Gore was right (despite the right-wingers as usual scoffing at his every word and claiming that he’s a liar, serial exaggerator, etc.)–Obama wasn’t used to the altitude in Denver, and as the debate continued he ran out of steam and got lightheaded. Next debate he should have an afternoon workout, and come on like a man 15 years younger than his opponent.

  2. Lucas H says

    At this point, I’m not sure the polls are telling us anything. I don’t know of anyone who is actually going to vote that hasn’t already made up their mind.

  3. anon says

    Real polling data is generally not published in the press. You have to get all the demographics behind the numbers before they begin to make sense. With only 6% of the electorate in swing states undecided, there isn’t a lot Romney can do to win at this point. He’d have to get nearly 80% of the undecided vote.

  4. Andy says

    Jeez, I’m sick of hearing of how Romney supposedly mopped the floor with Obama in this debate. I watched the debate, and I didn’t see any such trouncing. Obama came out a little flat and Romney edged him in more in style than in substance, but everybody’s carrying on like it was a Gerald Ford “Eastern Europe is not dominated by the Soviets” moment. And it seems, like any fish story, the more it gets talked about the bigger it gets. Get a grip, people. Like W. Bush, the expectations for Romney were in the toilet; all he had to do was show he can remain standing for an hour while forming complete and coherent sentences and he was going to be declared the winner.

  5. Dback says

    Andy, you’re right on–20-something percent thought that Obama won, 30-something percent thought it was a tie, and 40+ percent thought that Romney won. Add the Obama win and the tie win together, and you’ve got between 50-60% of voters that thought that Obama won or it was a draw. That doesn’t equal a blowout bounce for Romney. He may get a 3-point bounce, but good performances from Biden and Obama next time will bring things back–and the new unemployment numbers are going to be trumpeted a lot over the next couple weeks as well.

  6. Derrick from Philly says

    I hope you’re right, DBACK. It’s been kind of depressing looking at the new poll numbers coming out today. But maybe this experience is indeed a wake-up call for the President and the top officials in his campaign.

    Even if Romney was lying his azz off…some undecided voters like his style of doing it.

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