By JAMES HOHMANN |
It’s now clear that Mitt Romney got a bounce from the first presidential debate. But pollsters warn that it’s far from certain how big or how lasting such a bounce will be.
The GOP presidential nominee certainly has momentum from his performance in Denver last Wednesday — but most of the gains being attributed to him are the result of a single poll released Monday by the respected Pew Research Center that showed a 12-point swing in Romney’s direction. That’s enough to start the cable talking heads and political scribes chattering but doesn’t necessarily mean a permanent groundswell of support for the Republican. Experts are waiting for more polls nationally and in swing states to understand whether the fundamentals of the race between Romney and President Barack Obama — which has remained stubbornly tight nationally for months, but shifted toward Obama in many swing state polls recently — have truly shifted.
Gallup announced Tuesday afternoon that its first tracking poll of “likely” voters showed Romney leading Obama by 2 points, 49 percent to 47 percent. Among registered voters — the less accurate, but more consistent measure they’ve been using all year — Obama would still beat Romney 49 percent to 46 percent.
A CNN/ORC poll of Ohio, also released Tuesday, showed Obama ahead of Romney 51 percent to 47 percent among likely voters. This is CNN’s first poll in the state — experts typically look at an individual poll’s trend lines — but other respected outfits had Obama leading in Ohio in the high single digits during the two weeks before the Denver debate. So it looks like Romney got a bump in a state that’s crucial to his campaign.
A WMUR poll — which was in the field before and after the debate — released Tuesday showed Obama up 6 points, 47 percent to 41 percent, in New Hampshire. The president led by 15 points in the Granite State a week ago.
The Romney bounce theory took flight on Monday, when a single poll released by Pew shook the pundit class with a national survey that had Romney ahead of Obama 49 percent to 45 percent, an eye-grabbing 12-point shift from the previous poll.
“The weight of the evidence suggests that this was a very good period for Gov. Romney,” said Scott Keeter, the director of survey research for the Pew Research Center. “When you think about what happened in that debate, everything seemed aligned to give him the most push that you could possibly get out of such an event.”