Meaningless Polls Looking Good for Obama, Refuting Meaningless Bounce Stories

One week ago, just a couple of days into the Democratic National Convention, a number of media outlets declared that Barack Obama had failed to receive a bounce from his selection of Joe Biden and from his convention.

But bounces don’t usually happen overnight; they take a few days to develop, especially when a V.P. candidate who was previously unknown to most Americans is involved. So it wasn’t exactly surprising when Obama’s numbers began ticking up over the last two days of the convention. After his and Biden’s acceptance speeches, Gallup’s tracking poll showed the Democrats ahead by eight points – easily Obama’s best standing in Gallup’s poll since clinching the Democratic nomination in June. There had been a bounce, after all.

Now, we seem to be back where we were a week ago. Over the last 24 hours, four new polls have been released, each showing Obama ahead of John McCain by between six and nine points – a marked jump from his standing in pre-Democratic convention polls, which had shown the race essentially even. Perhaps most notably, the latest daily Gallup poll has Obama breaking the 50 percent mark for the first time (a 50-42 percent lead over McCain).

And so, we’re starting to hear talk again about the lack of a bounce, this time for McCain. (The latest numbers also seem to put to rest – at least for now – a brief wave of Obama’s-convention-bounce-is-dead stories from yesterday, which were written in response to a narrow CNN poll that, again, for now, suddenly looks like an outlier.)

Maybe the latest Obama-friendly polls show that he made a deep and lasting impression in Denver last week, winning over a few million more converts who won’t swing back to McCain (or undecided status) quite so easily. And maybe they don’t. As with the no-bounce stories early in the Democratic convention, this latest news should be taken with a grain of salt.

Over the next three nights, most Americans will hear from John McCain, meet Sarah Palin for the first time, and watch some prominent leaders (Joe Lieberman, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani) talk up McCain and – presumably – shred Obama. Talk of Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy and the other surprise revelations about her may be ancient history by then, and McCain may yet secure a bounce every but as strong as Obama’s.

Let’s just give it time.

Meaningless Polls Looking Good for Obama, Refuting Meaningless Bounce Stories