Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Ryan Bounce doesn't show up in Gallup.... so what?

A new Gallup poll shows a statistically meaningless 1% inch improvement for Mitt Romney since picking Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Before the pick, Romney led Obama, 46%-45%, and today, he leads him 47%-45%.

So does that mean Ryan hasn't mattered? Not at all... he has.

1. Ryan has changed the national dialogue. Does that mean a change in polls? Not necessarily, but it means a changed race, and those dynamics will undoubtedly move this election into a different place.

2. Yesterday, the Romney campaign announced that it had raised $7 million since the Veep announcement, and the new energy evident everywhere has been priceless. Both of those things are bounces -- one financial, the other rabbit-like. Democrats, as well, have been bouncing about their offices like bubbly, birthday bunnies since Ryan was picked.

So, no, there hasn't been a statistical bounce, but there have been many others, and it's a mistake to hold up this poll and say the last three days haven't meant anything.

3. Nothing has really moved polls this cycle. It's been noted that numbers just haven't moved much, at all, despite the candidates' intents -- massive spending on TV ads and accusing the other side of everything short of killing someone -- well, er, maybe even that line was crossed.

This is just an enormously partisan moment where about 90% of voters have picked their candidate, no matter what.

That means you're unlikely to see big bounces, at any point, even after the conventions.

It's a relatively new trend. In fact, as recently as 2000, there were huge swings. Here's a September 2000 poll showing Al Gore jumping out to a 12% lead on George W. Bush, and we all know what happened. It's just hard to imagine any of those drastic hops in this election.