The first batch of state polls are in, following last week’s Republican National Convention. Two surveys were completed 8/30 in North Carolina, and five more finished 9/2 in North Carolina, Michigan, Colorado, and Florida (2). It’s not a whole lot to go on, but so far, all indications are that voters have not swung towards Romney as a result of the RNC. If anything, Romney’s level of support appears to be continuing its slight downward trend from mid-August.
Is this surprising from a historical standpoint? Absolutely. A week of high-profile, positive convention exposure for the Romney campaign should have made at least a few percentage points of difference. Traditionally, it has. (And indeed, some analysts claim to be seeing a bounce; though others don’t.) But if there was truly no effect of the RNC on voter opinion – even in the short term – then it strongly suggests that either voters didn’t like what they were hearing, had already made up their minds, or simply weren’t paying much attention (all relatively speaking, of course). Considering Obama’s current lead in the polls, none of these scenarios are good for Romney. And if it turns out that Obama does receive a bounce coming out of the DNC, then we can likely conclude that the reason Romney didn’t get a bounce from the RNC isn’t because voter opinion is just fundamentally difficult to move this year.
As more polls are released this week, estimates of the state trends during both the RNC and DNC will continue to update. Each time a new survey is added to the dataset, the model re-calculates the entire set of trendlines for all 50 states. So we may see some corrections. On the other hand, the states where this latest group of polls were fielded had all been pretty well-polled leading up to the RNC. If Romney gained ground from the convention, it should be showing up somewhere, and right now it’s not.