Friday, October 19, 2012

Poll-vaulting to debate glory

First we all watched the first debate and stood gaping as Obama's lead vanished in the aftermath. Then we learned that Obama's poll slide had in fact started about a week prior.

Next, we watched Obama win the second debate and held our breath for a bounce in the polls. Now, Jonathan Bernstein avers casually that the race is  "slightly trending towards Obama, perhaps beginning after the second debate or perhaps a bit before that."

A bit before...a new theory presents itself unbidden!  Whichever candidate is starting to rise in the polls outperforms in the debate.

The candidates personally are as much in the grip of campaign "fundamentals" as political scientists tell us the race itself is. The workings of their minds and bodies are pulled by electoral tides as surely as we are all subject to gravity. Or poll--arity.

Okay, maybe not. Sounds compelling, though, doesn't? I mean compolling.

1 comment:

  1. The fact that we got such a huge swing after the first debate (or around it), and much less after the second debate, makes me believe what a member of Obama's team (Plouffe I think?) said: many of the voters that swung toward Romney after the first debate were Republican-leaners. They were only looking for an opportunity to support Romney and probably would have supported him at one point or another.

    So we probably got one huge swing, rather than a slow trickle towards Romney. This is about where the race should be: Obama +1 or +2, maybe tied. Obama barely holding on to the Pennsylvania/Wisconsin/Nevada triumvirate, with Iowa and Colorado being tossups and the others (Virginia, NC, Florida) leaning Romney.