One of the big questions heading into the weekend was whether Friday’s weak jobs report would detract from whatever bounce Obama was set to get after last week’s Democratic National Convention. It’s not fully clear yet how the jobs numbers will impact the race, but if Gallup tracking data is to be believed, the early returns suggest that Obama is enjoying a post-convention bounce that has yet to be impacted by them.
On Sunday, Gallup showed Obama leading Mitt Romney by five points, after steadily widening his lead from the 47-46 the race had been stuck at for weeks. Of the seven polling days (Sept. 2-8) that went into Gallup’s horse race tracking, four of them were taken on days after viewers saw a convention speech. Two of them — Friday and Saturday — came after Obama’s speech and after the Friday-morning release of the jobs numbers (though in fairness it might have taken a day for the unemployment news to sink in).
Gallup sends over more data that sheds more light on his bounce:
* In the seven-day tracking, Romney is only leading Obama by 53-41 among white voters. If this is accurate, this could be trouble for Romney. As Ron Brownstein has noted, he may need as much as 61 percent of the white vote to win; Obama, by contrast, needs 40 percent of it to win if he matches his 2008 total of 80 percent of all minorities. Gallup has Obama at his target; Romney is not close enough to his.
This may be because Romney’s margin among college-educated whites is narrow, at 49-46. Keeping it close among these voters is key to Obama’s hopes of denying Romney the share of white voters he needs, given the President’s struggles with blue collar whites.
* In the Gallup tracking, Obama is beating Romney by 54-40 among women. Both conventions focused heavily on women; the GOP convention was all about soften his image among them, while the Dem convention placed a heavy emphasis on women’s health issues. If Gallup is right, the GOP convention didn’t put a dent in the gender gap.
* In the Gallup tracking, Romney is leading among independents, but Obama is keeping it close; 42 percent now support him, while 46 percent now back Romney. And Obama holds a huge lead, 60-32, among moderates. Both conventions heavily targeted these voter groups.
We’ll have to wait until around mid-week to get the final verdict here; at that point, much of Gallup’s polling will have been conducted after the convention concluded with Obama’s speech and after the Friday jobs numbers sank in. But the early returns suggest, as Nate Silver calculates, that the convention may have been a turning point in the race and may have granted Obama frontrunner status.
* Romney says there are parts of Obamacare he likes: The big news in his interview with David Gregory seems to be that he likes parts of Obamacare, after all:
“Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage.”
A Romney aide subsequently clarified that he was talking only about people who have had continuous coverage — which, in fairness, has been Romney’s position for some time now. But as Kevin Drum notes, Romney’s softer comments were heard by millions, while the clarification was heard by almost nobody.
And so, Romney implied to a big audience of Americans that he’s on the same page as Obama when it comes to protecting everyone with preexisting conditions; in fact, if Romney got his way and Obamacare were repealed, untold numbers of them would lose protection. As I’ve said before, the Romney/Ryan strategy is to obscure, rather than clarify, the true nature of their ideological differences with Obama.
* Obama outraises Romney in August: The fundraising haul for Obama’s campaign and Dem committees: $114 million. For the Romney camp: $111 million. This is the first time the Obama camp has outraised the Romney camp since April.
The Obama effort was helped along by new donors: more than 317,000 new contributors gave to the Obama side in August, (the Romney camp has not yet shared this metric) perhaps suggesting that the base is getting more engaged in the home stretch. Of course, none of this factors in the massive amounts the pro-Romney super PACs will pour into the race.
* Battles over voting to overshadow election result? Ethan Bronner has an overview of all the state-level court battles that are underway over voting, some which could make a critical difference in a key swing state — and by extension to the overall result. Here’s the ultimate takeaway: if the race is very close, you can’t discount the possibility of post-election litigation that could delay, and cast doubt over, the final outcome.
* Dem convention rated slightly better than GOP’s: Gallup finds that the Dem convention made 43 percent of Americans more likely to vote for Obama. That’s better than the 40 percent who said the same about the GOP convention and Romney, and Obama fared marginally better among independents by this metric, too. (Gallup theorizes, based on its tracking data, that this understates the actual bounce Obama may be getting.)
While only 43 percent rated Obama’s speech excellent or good, 56 percent, and 52 percent of independents, said the same about Clinton’s. As I noted here before, Dems believe Clinton plays a referee” role among indys on the economy.
* No Dem convention bounce in North Carolina: If the goal of holding the convention in Charlotte was to gain ground in North Carolina, it has yet to work for the Obama campaign. The race remains deadlocked in the state, and public opinion has barely moved in the last two years.
* Romney’s Keynesian ad blitz: I’m late to this, but it’s important: Romney’s latest ad blitz promises to protect and create jobs by ... protecting and increasing federal spending. Of course, the federal spending in question is defense spending, so somehow it doesn’t count. Romney said back in 2008 that spending cuts don’t help the economy; even in 2012 Romney has at times accidentally revealed his true beliefs. I didn’t expect Keynesianism — okay, “weaponized Keynesianism” — to show up in his ads, however.
* Remember that thing called the American Jobs Act? Paul Krugman reminds us: If the recovery is too slow, perhaps the GOP’s refusal to allow the Senate to debate policies that economists said would have created over one million jobs has a little something to do with it. This, taken along with the public sector job losses that have dragged on the recovery, shows us that Republicans have largely gotten their way recently on the economy even as they continue slamming Obama over it.
What continues to amaze is that much of this basic history is not even part of the media conversation over what is ailing the economy and who’s to blame for it.
“Warren is neither a Clintonesque triangulator nor an Obamaesque conciliator. She is a throwback to a more combative progressive tradition, and her candidacy is a test of whether that approach can still appeal to voters.”
* And could Todd Akin decide who controls the Senate? As Rosalind Helderman and Jason Horowitz document, without Missouri, the road to GOP control of the Senate becomes a whole lot steeper. And there are no signs Todd Akin is budging. Keep an eye on the Sept. 25th deadline for him to ask the court to take his name off the ballot.