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Morning Jay: Did Obama Really Win the Summer?

6:00 AM, Sep 10, 2012 • By JAY COST
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6. In terms of the national polling, Romney has regularly been even or ahead of Obama in the registered voter polls conducted by ABC News/Washington Post, Gallup and CBS News/New York Times. It stands to reason that if these polls had been likely voter instead of likely voter polls, he would have had a small national lead.

Final point: it has often been commented upon that Romney has not led at all in the summer, and that from a historical perspective that is bad news for the GOP. Untrue on both counts.

For starters, when we are talking about historical perspective, really the only poll that has been in constant, regular operation is the Gallup poll, where Romney and Obama were basically trading leads for months prior to the convention.

Additionally, the only challenger who successfully defeated an incumbent and had a comfortable lead all through the pre-convention summer period was Jimmy Carter in 1976. Both Ronald Reagan in 1980 and Bill Clinton in 1992 were stuck in basically the same position as Romney was prior to the conventions.

Obviously, all of this could change. Historically speaking, convention bounces tend to be exactly that – bounces that fade over time. Romney enjoyed a modest bounce, and so far it looks like Obama is enjoying a 4-point bounce or so. My instincts tell me that by the time of the debates, we will be back to precisely where we were in August – both candidates essentially tied and stuck 3-5 points below 50 percent. Time will tell.

Jay Cost is a staff writer for THE WEEKLY STANDARD and the author of Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic, available now wherever books are sold. 

Correction: This article originally stated inaccurately that Nate Silver's model "consistently placed the battle for the House as a tossup." The author regrets the error.

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