Sunday, October 14, 2012

Romney's Bounce...

is over. And I bet you didn't even notice it.

Better yet, you probably thought that it started the day or two after the Denver Debacle on October 3. Nope. It actually began on September 26th, was accelerated, and probably prolonged, by the debate, and is now winding down, approximately two weeks later. It was a long bump by historical standards and was immediately preceded by Obama's long convention bump.

The numbers? Obama was leading by about 50-42% when Romney's bump began, and it's ending with Mitt behind by 48-46%, which represents about a 3.5% improvement. That's an impressive achievement for Mitt, given that he was all but written off by the national media and some influential people in his party. I don't know why. This race was always going to be close and gaffes and debate horrors were not going to change that dynamic.

As for the electoral college, Mitt has again made gains by taking a lead in North Carolina, but that's about it. Recent polls have shown him leading in Florida, Colorado and New Hampshire, but he'll need a more sustained run of polls with him ahead to convince me that he's got a solid margin. In addition, the electoral math is more difficult for Romney than the president. Even if he wins Ohio, Florida and Virginia, he'll still need to win one of New Hampshire, Colorado or Iowa. None of those states is even remotely a given for him, with Ohio being the most difficult due to Mitt's opposition to the auto bailout.

This brings us to Tuesday's debate. It's not possible for Mitt to do any better than he was perceived in Denver, mainly because he's likely to get serious opposition from Obama. The best he can hope for is a small victory, but even that would be a loss because Obama's performance will probably enthuse the Democrats to the point where the polls begin to rebound, much as they did towards Mitt after the first debate. If Obama is the clear winner, then his numbers should recover more substantially. Where will they land? If that scenario does indeed occur, I could see Obama ahead by 1.5-2.5% by next Sunday.

Speculative? You bet. But I can see it happening.

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