The tracking polls continue to show Obama holding a 5 point lead nationally and Obama maintained 50 and 52 percent approval ratings in Gallup and Rasmussen, suggesting another solid night of polling for the president.
CNN joined the chorus by showing Obama leading by 6 points among likely voters. Intriguingly, Obama didn’t make meaningful gains among registered voters, who Obama led by 8 points. Instead, Obama’s bounce was primarily the result of renewed Democratic enthusiasm. It’s worth noting that Gallup is a registered voter poll and still found Obama with a large bounce, so it does appear that Obama has won genuine converts in addition to reviving Democratic interest in the race. But Romney’s road to the White House gets pretty daunting if Obama can reduce the gap between registered and likely voters. Obama led by the former by an average of four points over the summer, but only the latter by one point.
Perhaps just as importantly, Romney’s favorability bump vanished after the Democratic National Convention—among both registered and likely voters. We’ll see whether it returns as memory of the DNC fades.
On the flip side, IBD/CSM/TIPP showed Obama leading by just two points among registered voters. We’ll see whether they’re joined by other polls in showing a smaller Obama bounce. Even including IBD/CSM/TIPP, Obama leads by an average of 4.8 points with 49 percent in post-convention polls. If this holds over the next few days and is confirmed by other pollsters, it will be a sign that Obama is a clear favorite.
A SurveyUSA/Civitas poll of North Carolina showed Romney leading by 10 points. But it was conducted prior to the DNC and it appeared to have an unusual sample of young and non-white voters, since it showed Romney with a third of the African American vote and leading among 18-29 year olds by 20 points. Obama’s coalition in North Carolina is more dependent on young and African American voters than any other state, which makes polling in North Carolina quite difficult. That said, this is an unusual result no matter how you look at it. SurveyUSA usually shows Obama with 85+ percent of the African American vote, so it’s difficult to assume that the sample was representative. Most other polls show a tight race in North Carolina, and I’m inclined to assume this is an outlier until proven otherwise.
Odds and Ends
--Romney’s chief pollster Neil Newhouse released a memo urging patience following Obama’s post convention bounce. In many ways, it is a truly incredible document. There is no mention of the polls, only a broad case that the stars are aligned as they were in October 1980. Incredibly, Newhouse argues that Carter was down by nearly 10 points in October 1980, even though Romney had led from mid-September onward. If Romney’s pollster feels compelled to rely on such a misleading argument, then they must not have found very many credible ones on behalf of their predicament