ELECTIONATE AUGUST 13, 2012
So far, there's not much evidence that Romney is benefiting from a post-veep bounce in Gallup or Rasmussen, but it's probably too early to be sure.
That's unusual as a historical matter, but it's not that surprising in 2012, which has been a remarkably stable race. And Paul Ryan is not exactly the candidate you would expect to produce a large bounce, since he isn't well-known and many voters will be introduced to questions about him (the Ryan budget) as they're learning about him for the first time.
On balance, today's national surveys confirmed Obama's slight advantage. A GWU/Battleground survey that has traditionally been relatively favorable to national GOP candidates showed Obama with what was reported as a one point edge, but in reality was actually a 2 point advantage. It looks like the topline numbers were reached by adding rounded numbers, which wound up giving Romney an undeserved point. In the other direction, a poll of registered voters from the volatile IBD/CSM/TIPP survey showed Obama building a 7 point advantage, which is largely consistent with the most recent national polls of registered voters. Both surveys were conducted before the Ryan pick, and tend to confirm a modest Obama advantage heading into any possible VP or convention bounce.
Perhaps the most surprising poll was the SurveyUSA finding in Missouri, which showed Romney up by just one point in a supposedly safe state. Realistically, Romney's up by more, but the hidden detail was that Senator McCaskill was down by 11 in the same survey, revealing an unexpected cohort of Obama-Akin voters. This isn't the first time that SurveyUSA has unexpectedly found Obama doing better than an incumbent Democratic senator who was presumed to have a better shot than the president, and it's an emerging pattern to watch heading into the heart of the campaign season.
Odds and Ends
--Reuters ran a quick poll this weekend and found that there weren't too many voters eager to switch their votes after the Ryan announcement, but they didn't release survey results. The biggest takeaway from the poll was that voters don't know much about Ryan and that will make it imperative for both sides to define him early.
--If Romney looks well positioned with respect to expectations in any swing state, it might be Iowa, where Romney's locked in a tight race in a traditionally competitive state that tilts toward Democrats. But the Obama campaign is exploiting regional divisions in the Republican Party that might ultimately make a difference in Iowa. First, Obama has criticized Romney for opposing wind energy tax credits, which many coastal Republicans see as wasteful spending for inefficient technologies, while conservatives from the plains offer full-throated support for a subsidy supporting a growing industry helping to create jobs in a growing industry. Second, Ryan's in trouble for holding up the Farm Bill, which is essentially untouchable in Iowa. It's hard to say how much these federal programs that benefit the Midwest will matter in a national presidential election, but many insist that they do, and Obama could certainly use the help. Iowa's an underrated state in the electoral math, since it effectively holds the keys to Colorado: without Iowa, the southwestern strategy of the Kerry states plus Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico can't put Obama over the top.