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Is Romney’s Bounce Receding?

Yesterday, Gallup released data showing that Obama returned to pre-debate levels over their last two days of interviews, suggesting that Romney’s bounce had already come and gone. Similarly, today’s Gallup poll seems to suggest that Obama’s strong showings are continuing.

There are other hints that Obama has fared better in interviews conducted after October 5th than he did immediately after the debates. Perhaps it was the waning memory of the debate or Friday’s jobs numbers, but there is a case that Obama has performed better in national and battleground surveys (I decided to exclude neurotic polls of MA) where the majority of interviews appear to have been conducted on October 6th or later than those where most interviews were conducted on October 4th or 5th. 


And these are not the only polls suggesting that Obama might have rebounded from his post-debate nadir. Over the last twenty-four hours, CNN shows Obama leading by four points in Ohio, while PPP actually shows Obama making gains in Minnesota. And while Rasmussen suggests that Romney has made gains in Pennsylvania, nearly all of their other state polls show the president performing well in the battleground states since Sunday. Similarly, PPP suggested that their interviews on Saturday and Sunday were quite strong for the president and the ABC/Washington Post favorability poll found Obama and Romney near pre-debate levels, with the exception of a very strong night of interviews for Romney on the Thursday following the debates.

But! The picture isn’t nearly as clear as I just made it seem. Neither Rasmussen nor Reuters/Ipsos show Obama making gains over the last few days and Reuters/Ipsos actually finds Obama continuing to slide in today’s survey, which was conducted entirely after October 5th. And most of the reason why Obama appears to be performing better over the last few days is due to Rasmussen surveys in Colorado, Iowa, and New Hampshire, but Rasmussen’s pre-DNC surveys were unrealistically poor for the president, making the most recent surveys look better. If one excludes the Rasmussen state surveys, Romney has gained an average of 4 points in post-October 5th polls compared to 6.4 points before October 5, with polls like the Washington Times/Zogby showing Romney holding onto big gains.

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So although Gallup, CNN, PPP, YouGov/Economist are consistent with the idea that the Romney’s bounce receded, Zogby, ARG, and Reuters/Ipsos do not point toward movement in Obama’s direction, while Rasmussen suggests that both Romney never received a bounce and that Obama hasn’t gained over the weekend. In the aggregate, it looks like Romney’s bounce has subsided a bit, but a few more days of data will help resolve whether Romney’s bounce is largely intact.