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Bouncing Along

10:35 AM, Sep 4, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Was there a GOP convention bounce? The better question may be, was there a VP/convention bounce? The VP choice and the convention have normally been back to back, often making the two in effect one event, with one bounce. This year Romney announced Ryan more than two weeks before the convention. So the best way to see whether the GOP ticket has enjoyed an overall bounce is probably by comparing the race today to where the race was on August 11.

Elephant Drawing GOP

The good news for Republicans is that on August 11 in the RealClearPolitics average, Obama led Romney by about four and a half points; today, Romney-Ryan trails by less than half a point. The bad news is that, in the two tracking polls (which are more clearly apples-to-apples comparisons), there's been no bounce at all: Gallup's registered voter tracking poll for August 4-10 (the last fully pre-Ryan track) was even; now, Obama's actually up one. Rasmussen's last pre-Ryan track (August 8-10) had Romney up by two; now, almost a month later, he's … up by two. Meanwhile, polling in some key states seems to suggest the Republican ticket may have—as in the RCP average—gained some after the Ryan pick. After the convention? Too early to tell, though the new Michigan PPP poll isn't encouraging.

So: Not much of a GOP bounce. Which leads to this question: Do modern conditions (the new media world, holding the conventions later and back-to-back, political polarization, etc.) cause bounces to be much more muted than in the past? Or did the Romney campaign miss an opportunity at its convention?

We'll have more sense of the answer after this week, when we see if the Obama campaign can produce a bounce from their convention. It will be a nervous week for Republicans. 

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