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Despite Media Predictions: Polls, Across the Board, Show Big Obama Lead | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Despite Media Predictions: Polls, Across the Board, Show Big Obama Lead

See my latest campaign/media piece here.

Well, it’s not as if I didn’t warn them.

Even before Obama’s acceptance speech last week, most pundits and political reporters were warning that any bounce for the president in his contest with Mitt Romney would surely be short-lived if a disappointing jobs report came out the followining morning, on Friday. It wasn’t a “could” or “might” but “will,” it most cases.

At Twitter and at my personal blog, I declared that this was likely hogwash, since such warnings about a hit on Obama’s standing in the polls had been aired just before or after job reports—good or bad—all year and those reports inevitably failed to move the needle. Yet, seemingly by rote, we heard the same thing almost every month, but never as loudly as a few days ago.

Then the jobs report came out, deemed injurious to Obama in much of the media, with predictions that surely any “bump” in the polls from the DNC would be minor, perhaps not show up at all. The jobs report would take care of that.

Now I made a plea to pundits and partisans alike: Please, send me or post on your own any evidence from the past year that any jobs report had any real and definable impact on public opinion. Again, what I heard was: crickets.

My point, of course, was that while many Americans are, justifiably, very concerned about unemployment, they are, understandably, mainly concerned about their own job, and very few have seen any change in that in recent weeks. In addition, they know that the jobless rate, at least, is not rising—and they recall how truly scary the economy looked when Obama took office. So any jobs report is going to arrive in that context. And, anyway, the GOP has been hitting Obama on 8 percent unemployment for months, so what would a new report finding 8 percent unemployment really matter to most people?

Of course, I’d put myself out on a limb, so I waited anxiously for the daily tracking polls to arrive. And lo and behold, what have they found? A clear, steady, quite significant “bounce” for Obama, taking his lead to an average of 5 percent—the highest since last winter—in all of the major polls that have reported, even GOP-friendly Rasmussen. The same polls, in the main, had found zero “bump” for Romney coming out of the RNC. The first state poll since the DNC also found him surging to a 5 percent lead in Ohio. 

UPDATE  Monday afternoon the CNN-Orc poll found a 6% lead for Obama--who was tied with Romney before the DNC.  It also put the Dems for  the first time in the lead for "enthusiasm" among backers. 

And by yesterday’s poll reports, surely any negative reaction to the Friday jobs report would have set in, but the Obama “surge” just kept coming. Despite the jobs report. One almost had to wonder:  Because of the jobs report? If you believe in its supreme importance.

Here’s a chronicle of the past few days of polling—another embarrassment for the pundit class, but also “straight” news reporters who highlighted a likely jobs report mood-killer. Go here for more campaign news and immediate updates on these tracking polls.

Monday The first of today’s daily tracking polls is out and GOP-friendly Rasmussen continues to find a post-DNC surge for Obama, with the president widening his lead over Romney to 5 percent, the highest mark for him since last March.

Sunday Just out, one of the first state polls by a leading firm since DNC finds Obama surging to a 5 percent lead in Ohio in the PPP survey, his biggest lead in that poll in months.

Final daily tracking poll of the day just out, with Reuters-Ipsos finding no change from yesterday’s 4 percent Obama lead. Even if that marks end of post-DNC bounce—by no means certain—Reuters notes that Romney’s small bump after RNC disappeared completely and Obama’s is not.

Gallup, with its daily 1 pm. update, finds Obama gaining another point on Romney in the head to head, continuing his post-DNC bounce—now up to 5 percent, at 49 percent–44 percent. Disapproval rating took a 2 percent hit, however, down to still-high 50 percent.

Rasmussen, which noted Obama bounce yesterday in finding he now led Romney by 2 percent, reports new poll today upping that to 4 percent—highest mark vs. Mitt since last March. Since it’s Rasmussen, you could probably add a couple of points for Obama to that. Romney camp has to be concerned now.

Saturday Late this afternoon we have another major poll finding a healthy bump. Reuters-Ipsos now gives Obama a clear 4 percent lead. He had trailed Romney at the start of this week so the DNC would seem to be the cause. They also seem to think the jobs report early Friday did not seem to be hurting him so far. And: “Obama led Romney in a dozen such favorable characteristics, such as ‘represents America’ or ‘has the right values.’ The only such category in which Romney had an advantage was being ‘a man of faith.’ ”

Gallup released its latest poll news, at 1 pm as usual, and they find another gain for the president, though not as dramatic as yesterday’s bump (see below). Today, in its poll averaging the last three days of results, he did not gain in approval rating but lost a point of “disapproval,” so that radio is now at 52 percent-42 percent—his highest mark in 15 months. At the same, in its seven-day polling, he picked up another point vs Romney, spreading his lead to 49 percent–45 percent, a recent high. And that still does not include all of the impact of the three days of the DNC.

Even unreliable Rasmussen today reveals a nice Obama bounce in its latest daily tracking poll. It was the only poll that gave Romney a bump after the RNC, putting him in the lead, but now finds just as big a bump for Obama, putting him back 2 percent in front.

Nate Silver at the NYT is out with his analysis of the polls and (I must say) it shows I had it first and correctly below. He does add a 2 percent gain in Rasmussen, but their findings are always so questionable that’s pretty meaningless. Nate does add a lot of analysis. Question remains: Will Obama retain the bounce next week and go into the debates as true front-runner?

Friday: Reuters-IPSOS joined Gallup tonight in finding a bump from the DNC. It had not seen much before but today revealed a 2 percent spike for Obama, and a 1 percent decline for Romney, along with some favorable metrics up about 4 percent. Obama now leads there 46 percent–44 percent. They suggest there could be more gains tomorrow.

Gallup, as usual, posted its latest poll findings at 1 pm—and found a big bounce for Obama from this year’s convention, as we first noted below. They show a very strong one-day 3 percent hike in his approval rating to 52 percent—his highest mark since the summer of 2011. This means that he gained a whopping 7 percent in just the past three days. Also, for the first time in more than a week, the numbers on his contest with Romney moved. It had been a 47 percent to 46 percent lead for him (with no change from the RNC)—but now he has opened lead to 3 percent, at 48 percent–45 percent. And that’s in a seven-day poll average with only the first couple days of the DNC factored in, so it should go up a bit more over the next few days. Here’s report on all this from Gallup.

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