Republicans in a panic about Obama’s post-convention bump will probably find this morning’s ABC News/Washington Post poll reassuring:
Last week’s Democratic National Convention helped President Obama improve his standing against Republican Mitt Romney, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, but did little to reduce voter concern about his handling of the economy.
The survey shows that the race remains close among likely voters, with Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 48 percent, virtually unchanged from a poll taken just before the conventions.
But among a wider sample of all registered voters, Obama holds an apparent edge, topping Romney at 50 percent to 44 percent, and has clear advantages on important issues in the campaign when compared with his rival.
The survey highlights why Obama continues to try to frame the election as a choice between himself and Romney, while Romney would like it to be a referendum on the president’s record.
The poll represents the initial public reaction to the two back-to-back conventions, and the results underscore how critical get-out-the vote efforts will be to the outcome of the contest.
With only Labor Day weekend separating the conventions in Tampa and Charlotte, and the barrage of television advertising and campaign activity preceding them, the events’ impact on the campaign may be less than in previous years.
Historically, candidates often get an immediate post-convention boost, with some of the shift dissipating quickly. Obama has a six-point edge among all voters based on interviews Friday, the day after the Democratic convention wrapped up. In interviews Saturday and Sunday, the two were about evenly matched among registered voters.
On Sunday, Erick Erickson had theorized that the public “digests” news events slower than it used to:
I have a theory that polling is taking longer to respond to events because of the overwhelming flow of information these days. I think, objectively, Mitt Romney did himself a disservice by being too vague and failing to close the deal in his speech and Bill Clinton helped Barack Obama. The polling we are seeing right now is a reflection of Romney’s performance at the Republican National Convention and the build up to Bill Clinton.
I wonder if it’s exactly the opposite, that the folks willing to spend 10 to 20 minutes on the phone with a pollster are likely to react to whatever was precisely in front of them within the past 24 hours – and little or nothing before that. The media environment, and frenetic pace of campaign news and psuedo-news, means that few topics dominate the headlines for more than a day or two. (Today, the campaign news is interrupted for 9/11 remembrances.)
Perhaps the Etch-a-Sketch metaphor better fits those few remaining undecided or persuadable voters out there.