- Is there a measurable shift in the polls?
- If so, how much of a shift?
- How long will the shift last?
- Is is affecting down ticket races?
- Can they maintain that momentum?
Josh Marshall discusses evidence pertaining to the first three questions.
Put all this together and you start to see a pretty clear picture. In the immediate aftermath of the debate, Romney made a rapid move in all the tracking polls. And that move — in the low-mid single digits — appears to have been replicated in a number of swing states to various degrees.
So yes, there's your answer to numbers 1 and 2. Yes there's a bounce, and it appears to be about a 4-6 point immediate shift.
But. And there's always a but. The debate event was followed by the jobs numbers on Friday and the jobless rate falling big time. Considering all sides agree that jobs and the economy are the biggest issue in this election, that can't be ignored either. So let's look at question 3.
A bounce like this can be ephemeral of course. And the silver lining in today’s numbers for Obama is that there’s at least some evidence that Romney’s momentum has plateaued or even fallen back. The Reuters-Ipsos online tracking poll moved to a 2 point margin yesterday from a 5 point margin the day before. That was with 2 days of 4 of post-debate data. Today though it held steady at a 2 point margin for Obama with 3 of 4 days of post debate data.
PPP polls also gave some hints about the polling its done over the last 3 days. PPP’s twitter feed said Friday’s polling was actually worse for Obama than Thursday. But it also noted that “Saturday interviews we’ve done for polls across the country look a lot more like our pre-debate than Friday numbers.” In other words, PPP’s data seemed to go from bad for Obama on Thursday to really bad for Obama on Friday and then back to something more like the pre-debate numbers on Saturday.
As far as I can tell, PPP and Ipsos are the only two outlets from which we have late Friday and Saturday data. And both seem to suggest either a plateau or fall off of Romney’s surge of support from the debate.
It's entirely possible then that the jobs numbers may have in turn arrested Romney's rise in the polls. We won't know for sure for another several days, but I'm betting the Romney bump, unlike the Obama surge since the DNC, will be much shorter-lived.