Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ignore the bounce

Walter Mears looks at the history of poll bounces after conventions and notes that there isn't much of a correlation between the polls going up after a convention and the ultimate winner. The one danger sign is when a candidate's numbers go down after his convention.
Historically, the post-convention bounce in the polls seldom has been an indicator of the verdict in November - except in the rare cases in which a nominee lost points. Democrat George McGovern dipped by three after his nomination in 1972, and lost in Richard Nixon's landslide. And John Kerry was down one in the Gallup Poll after the 2004 Democratic convention; he came close but lost to President Bush.

Even the most divisive of Democratic conventions, in Chicago in 1968, sent the nominee away with a bounce. Despite the riots and turmoil outside and Vietnam war disputes on the floor, nominee Hubert H. Humphrey picked up four points in the polls. He lost narrowly to Nixon.

President Carter picked up 10 points after he was renominated by a convention marked by his disputes with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Ronald Reagan overwhelmed Carter in that election.