President Barack Obama experienced a boost in his polling numbers after last week's Democratic National Convention, with Gallup now showing his job approval rating at a 52 percent. Obama is now polling at 48 percent to Mitt Romney's 45 percent among registered voters.
Candidates typically see their poll numbers bounce following the days-long convention "infomercials," as the events give them the opportunity to speak directly to voters on their priorities and proposed polices as well as candidly attack their opponent. Obama, who has been plagued by a poor economy, gave a solid if somber speech last Thursday. His wife Michelle and former President Bill Clinton also both gave very well-received speeches in their quest to re-elect Obama.
But despite the positive energy garnered for the president in Charlotte, the day after Obama's acceptance speech the monthly jobs report was released, showing less-than-expected job gains in August. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent, but the decrease was explained by the fact that more people have stopped looking for work altogether rather than because they've found jobs. This direct evidence that the economy is still struggling may negate the positive numbers Obama's seen post-convention.
"It is possible that these upticks are short-lived and that the race will devolve back to a parity by next week," says Gallup. "On the other hand, if Obama builds on and sustains his higher job approval rating and lead over Romney, it could signal a possible resetting of the presidential race as it enters the remaining three-and-a-half weeks before the first debate on Oct. 3."
Romney did not receive much of a bounce following his convention, despite an impassioned speech by his wife Ann, a fiery keynote by Gov. Chris Christie, and solid performance from Romney himself. The fact that his numbers did not bounce significantly should be of concern, some pollsters say, because history has shown that no modern candidate has won the election without taking the lead after his own convention. The Romney campaign says the bounce Obama's received is just a "sugar high" following his convention.
"The reality of the Obama economy will reassert itself as the ultimate downfall of the Obama Presidency, and Mitt Romney will win this race," said a memo from Romney pollster Neil Newhouse. "The key numbers in this election are the 43 straight months of 8% or higher unemployment, the 23 million Americans struggling to find work, and the 47 million Americans who are on food stamps."
What do you think? Will Obama's convention bounce last? Click here to take the poll and comment below.
- Presidential Race Heads Into Final Stretch
- Read the U.S. News Debate: Was the Democratic National Convention a Success for Barack Obama?
- Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy.