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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

By popular request — and owing to the exceptionally complicated dynamics at this point in the election cycle — we have dropped the “convention bounce adjustment” that our model had been implementing over the course of the past week. However, keep in mind that the model is still designed to hedge against short-term fluctuations in the polls in the number of ways. Thus, while we show the race trending very slightly toward Obama over the course of the last week, the movement cannot really be described as dramatic.

As for polling released within the past 24 hours, Barack Obama maintains a 6-point lead in the Gallup tracker (although both candidates gained a point against undecided), and a 3-point lead in the Rasmussen tracker. CNN shows it a bit tighter still, with Obama holding a 2-point lead with third party candidates included (this is the version that we use officially) an a 1-point lead without. There is also a CBS News poll showing Obama 8 points ahead, although it came in too late to work its way into our simulation run today.

Really, I think we’re best off ignoring the polls until about the middle of next week. I could see any of a number of things happening over the course of the Republican Convention. Perhaps Obama will maintain his (small) bounce if the Sarah Palin selection has already brought home the base votes that the Republicans were hoping to win during the convention. Perhaps McCain will deliver a dramatic acceptance speech against the backdrop of Hurricane Gustav and move several points ahead. Perhaps the election will revert to a tie.

My hunch, however, is that once everything settles down, we are going to see that Obama has gained a couple of points from the convention cycle and will have something like a 2-4 point national lead. The reason is simply that the Democrats seemed to “find their voice” during their convention, bringing home a bread-and-butter message about the failures of the status quo, whereas the Republicans will be forced to retool theirs in the wake of Gustav and the Palin selection.

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