Coincidence? Twenty-four hours after a jobs report that most considered a disaster, Mitt Romney took his biggest lead in the Rasmussen rolling tracking poll over Barack Obama, 48/44 — the biggest lead either man has had in weeks. Rasmussen reminds us that this could just be statistical noise, of course:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows Mitt Romney picking up 48% of the vote, while President Obama attracts 44%. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided. …
This is the first time either candidate has been ahead by more than two points since President Obama held a three-point edge on May 21. As with all such changes, it remains to be seen whether these new numbers reflect a lasting change in the race or are merely statistical noise.
I’m pretty sure this isn’t coincidental:
For the first time in five-and-a-half years of regular tracking, half of voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats when it comes to the economy. The GOP now has a 50% to 39% advantage on the economy. And, of course, that’s the issue voters rate by far as most important this election season.
What is certainly not a coincidence was a five-point drop in Rasmussen’s consumer-confidence index. Investors had their confidence shaken most, and it might take a while for the damage to be fully seen:
Following yesterday’s disappointing jobs report, consumer confidence fell five points overnight. It often takes up to a week before the impact of a jobs report is fully measured.
Among investors, the impact was especially dramatic. On Friday, just before the jobs report, investors were almost evenly divided as to their own financial trends—35% said things were getting better, while 39% said the opposite. On Saturday morning, just 30% of investors believe their finances are getting better, while 43% think they are getting worse. The stock market had a terrible month of May and the Dow fell by 275 points following the jobs report.
Results in both tracking polls are three-day averages. That means that the impact of the jobs report will likely increase over the next few days in both indices. The consumer confidence index had been fairly close to its 2012 high, 97.1, with Thursday’s 93.5, up from the previous day’s 92.4. It’s now 88.6, and unless respondents get very optimistic today and tomorrow, that big one-day response will pull down the index. As that happens, Romney’s position relative to Obama is also likely to improve.
Compare the latest presidential tracking poll to the previous weekly results from surveys conducted from May 21-27. In that aggregation of daily polling, Romney was tied with Obama at 45% — not a comfortable place for an incumbent President five months before an election. That dead heat went all the way through the demographics. Romney had a one-point edge among independents, and a one-point edge in the overall gender gap (men +12, women -11).
Going from a single point lead on Friday (46/45) to a four-point lead today (48/44) means that something significant changed, at least temporarily, and it would be interesting to see where Romney made his gains. I suspect that the right/wrong track numbers, already poor for Obama at 31/62, shifted even more negative and his 50/50 approval probably took a big hit as well.