Thursday, August 30, 2012

Obama's Republican Convention Bounce

A startling column was released this morning by Nate Silver:

Polls that are published during the party conventions can be anticlimactic, representing old news since they won’t fully reflect the effects of the convention bounce. And none of the surveys that came out on Wednesday were that newsworthy to begin with – although there was one, in Ohio, that had encouraging news for Barack Obama, and another, in Nevada, that was slightly favorable for Mitt Romney.

The Ohio survey was conducted by the automated-polling firm Gravis Marketing, which had Mr. Obama ahead of Mr. Romney by less than 1 full percentage point.

A one-point lead isn’t much, and Mr. Obama has gotten some better numbers than that in Ohio. So why does this qualify as good news for him? Because this firm has had Republican-leaning results in the other states that it has polled, putting Mr. Romney up by 2 points in Florida, 1 point in Colorado and 17 points in Missouri, making it several points more Republican-leaning than the consensus of surveys in those states. Once the model adjusts for the firm’s “house effect,” it treats Mr. Obama’s nominal 1-point lead as being the equivalent of a 4- or 5-point lead instead. Thus, Mr. Obama’s chances of winning Ohio rose somewhat based on the survey.

Now, his first point, about polling during conventions, is an interesting one, and one I'd dispute. The Romney camp has played up the convention heading into Tampa and if anything, should have received a pre-bounce from the naming of Paul Ryan as Veep candidate and the twin stump speeches the two have delivered practically in unison.

That Ohio has shown itself inured to the bullshit says a lot about this poll.

Here's why:

By two-to-one (44% to 22%), the public says that raising taxes on incomes above $250,00o would help the economy rather than hurt it, while 24% say this would not make a difference. Moreover, an identical percentage (44%) says a tax increase on higher incomes would make the tax system more fair, while just 21% say it would make the system less fair.

Interestingly, the country is about split between the two men with respect to who would do a better job of handling the economy in the next four years-- Romney 48%, Obama 44% (MoE 3.9%)

So that's the box Romney has painted himself into. He can bash the President over the economy, but that flies in the face of public perception. He already has a monumental task in front of him with regards to firming up his own image, so to try to juggle both of these balls is near impossible.

This is why he's been hesitant to really go after President Obama on the issue of jobs and the economy, which would normally be a strong point for the challenger in a lackluster nation. People get that Obama was handed a heaping plate of crap, one that's only been piled higher and deeper by Republican mayors and governors across the nation who have gone out of their way to destroy jobs in the public sector.

Add to that an openly hostile Republican House, and few people can seriously blame Obama for the jobs problem. He's tried. He's been, if anything, too cooperative with the Republicans...remember the debt ceiling agreement that Weaker Boener hammered out with the President? Turned out, Tanned Man couldn't even deliver a pizza.

It's safe to say, I think, that the Romney candidacy, quixotic from the outset, is floundering on the reefs of common sense

In one respect, we should probably be grateful to Mitt Romney's ego in running in 2012, because it saves us the trouble of ever having a Romney presidency, with all its concomittant screw ups. He won't run in 2016, and we can go out and destroy Chris Christie's political career in that election.