Did the Republican National Convention give Mitt Romney a poll bounce? Yes, it seems, but a small one. Before things kicked off in Tampa, Joel Pollak warned Romney supporters not to expect much of a post-convention bump. His admonition has been partially vindicated. Liberal electoral stats maven Nate Silver says evidence of a lasting poll surge is scant, but that assessment depends on what survey you're looking at. Gallup's weekend numbers showed Obama's job approval dropping and his disapproval on the rise, but the overall race remains deadlocked. Reuters' tracker also shows the race virtually tied, although there's evidence that the convention helped Romney's image beyond the daily horse race:
Mitt Romney emerged from the Republican convention with an overall improvement in his image among voters but no significant change in the number who say they will vote for him, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday. Republicans nominated Romney on Thursday after three days of testimonials from friends, relatives and supporters, many aimed at showing the candidate in a more informal light. Romney has struggled to shake off perceptions of being stiff and aloof. The four-day rolling poll has Democratic President Barack Obama still leading Romney in general favorability, 52 percent to 50 percent. But the poll showed Romney steadily improving in likeability and other positive-image features. Thirty-one percent of the registered voters responding to the survey found Romney "likeable" in Friday's poll, up from Monday's 26 percent.
Rasmussen's data showed a six-point swing in Romney's favor following his party's confab. The Republican entered the convention down several points to Obama, but now holds a four-point lead:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows Mitt Romney attracting support from 48% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns 44% of the vote. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided. Just prior to this past week's Republican National Convention, Romney trailed the president by two. Today’s four-point advantage confirms that the GOP hopeful has received the expected convention bounce.
After falling for two straight months, the number of Americans who consider themselves Republicans jumped nearly three points in August. During August, 37.6% of Americans considered themselves Republicans. That’s up from 34.9% in July and 35.4% in June. It’s also the largest number of Republicans ever recorded by Rasmussen Report since monthly tracking began in November 2002
Gallup published some interesting data prior to the Tampa convention indicating that the GOP had slightly bolstered its image compared to 2008 (again, this came before Romney's nominating bash), while Democrats' favorability has spiraled downward by double-digits over the same period:
Why is this information relevant? Because it informs -- or at least should inform -- partisan sample breakdowns as pollsters attempt to measure the composition of the 2012 electorate and predict the election's outcome. It confirms my repeated contention that surveys anticipating a heavily Democratic electorate in November are making a major miscalculation. Keep Rasmussen's 37.6 percent GOP self-identification number in mind next time you see some poll pegging the Republican segment of the electorate in the mid-twenties, as many have. Republicans have a sizeable enthusiasm edge this year, too, as even Obama loyalists come to grips with the realization that 2008's magic is long gone. Republicans would definitely have preferred a larger bounce over the weekend (caveat: holiday weekend polling is infamously dodgy), but it's clear that their convention helped their nominee. One disappointment was total television viewership, which sagged significantly behind the 2008 ratings bonanza. I suspect Democrats will see a similar ratings swoon, especially given their decidedly lackluster line-up of speakers. If DNC viewership soars and Obama sees a substantial uptick, Republicans should worry. Jazz Shaw isn't losing any sleep.
UPDATE - This snap poll of Florida voters bodes pretty well, too.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography