Romney polling bounce from debate?

posted at 1:21 pm on October 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Did Mitt Romney score a debate bounce in polling?  Two separate pollsters show Romney improving in key swing states after Barack Obama’s debacle on Wednesday evening.  First, We Ask America surveyed 1200 likely voters in three key swing states, and found Romney slightly ahead in all three:

Note the sample splits.  Obama supporters will have issues with the R+5 in Florida and the R+2 in Virginia. In 2008, Florida was D+3 and Virginia D+6, and in 2010, Florida was R+1 (Virginia didn’t have a statewide race for exit polling in 2010).  However, that Ohio sample has a D+4, almost precisely between 2008′s D+8 and 2010′s R+1.  An incumbent at 46% is in deep trouble with less than five weeks to go before the election, and this looks like a significant shift from earlier polling that had Obama in the lead outside the margin of error.

Rasmussen hasn’t detected any movement in either Ohio and Virginia yet in two polls today.  First up is Virginia:

Virginia remains a nail-biter in the first post-debate survey of the key battleground state, with Mitt Romney edging slightly ahead.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Virginia Voters, taken last night, shows Romney earning 49% support to Obama’s 48%. Three percent (3%) remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Three weeks ago, it was Obama 49%, Romney 48%, highlighting the closeness of the contest in the state. In August, the two were tied at 47% each. Since April, Romney has consistently earned 45% to 49% support in Virginia, while Obama has picked up 44% to 49% of the vote.

That’s basically the status quo.  If there is any bounce in the state, it’s within the MoE, at least for now.  What about Ohio?  Not much movement either, but Obama’s support seems to be softening:

The critical battleground state of Ohio remains a draw, with President Obama holding a one-point lead in the first post-debate survey of the contest there.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Ohio Voters, taken last night, finds Obama with 50% support to Mitt Romney’s 49%. One percent (1%) likes another candidate, and another one percent (1%) is undecided. (To see survey question wording,click here.)

Ninety percent (90%) of Romney supporters are certain they will vote for him and not change their mind. Only 80% of Obama supporters are that certain. …

Forty-nine percent (49%) of Ohio voters trust Romney more than the president when it comes to handling the economy. Forty-five percent (45%) trust the president.

As for national security, 48% now trust Romney more to handle it, while just as many (47%) trust the president more. But last month, Obama had a five-point edge in trust – 49% to 45% – in this area.

Fifty percent (50%) think the economy will get better if Romney is elected and Republicans take control of the Congress. Forty-one percent (41%) believe that to be true if Obama is reelected and Democrats are in charge of Congress.

However, Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner finds good news for Romney in the cross-tabs:

Overall, the race is deadlocked with Obama over Romney 50 percent to 49 percent, according to the poll taken Thursday night.

But among the stunning 92 percent of all voters in the state who say that they are certain to go to the polls on Election Day, Romney leads 51 percent to 48 percent. And among the 83 percent who have already made up their minds how they will vote, Romney is ahead 52 percent to 48 percent.

It will take a few days for the impact of the debate to resonate through the polling, I think, although the WAA numbers are certainly a bright spot for Team Romney.  How will Team Obama react to the debate debacle, especially if the polls begin to show a shift?  Fox News analyst Peter Johnson says to expect more character attacks:


 

 The Obama campaign and its surrogates have claimed Mitt Romney’s apparent victory was based on faulty claims and outright lies. Former VP Al Gore has even said that he believes the high altitude in Denver affected the president, who only arrived in the area a few hours beforehand.

Johnson Jr. says Democrats are trying to convince voters they “didn’t really see” what they thought they saw on Wednesday night in Denver, presenting “one excuse after another.” He predicts the left will launch a wave of attacks against Romney in the coming days and weeks.

“We’re going to see, I believe, the hugest campaign of character assassination in American history that’s going to go forward. And I also predict it’s going to backfire,” said Johnson.

Have they actually stopped using this tactic?  They’re not talking about a second-term agenda; all they’re talking about is how bad Romney will be for America as President.  They have focused more lately on his tax plan, misrepresenting it as a massive middle-class tax hike, but that didn’t work for Obama in the debate when Romney was on stage to answer that attack.  Nor did the character attacks work particularly well as a knock-out blow to Romney over the summer, when Team Obama dominated the airwaves with those attack ads.  Now that voters have seen Romney on stage with Obama and looking at least as presidential as the incumbent, if not more so, Johnson’s right — those attacks are likely to backfire.


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