Anatomy of a Bounce

I see that the predictable pronouncements about polling and “Obama being in trouble” are making their way around the media/blog world, so let’s just nip this in the bud shall we? This is what we in the game call a “convention bounce.” It happens every 4 years after both parties’ conventions. In fact, we know it always happens, because we speculate about it incessantly. Funny how we go from talking about it non-stop to forgetting it exists as we’re actually watching it huh?

In any event, let’s break this polling down a bit shall we? The best place for bounce watching is Real Clear Politics because they have a convenient, interactive chart of polling averages you can scroll across to see what the polling average on any given day was/is.

Obama’s post convention low point in averages came on August 22, a day before he announced Joe Biden as his VP nominee, at 44.8%. His post convention peak comes on September 2nd, the first full day of the Republican convention, at 48.8%, so it stands to reason that we can measure out a 4% bounce from this. John McCain’s pre-convention trough comes, understandably, on September 2nd at 42.8%. His post-convention peak seems to have come yesterday and today at 48.3%, for a bump of 5.5%.

So looking at this, McCain’s ginormous bounce was all of 1.5% bigger than Obama’s, and his peak, thus far, a full 0.5% lower, on average, than Obama’s peak standing. And McCain still has yet to crack 48.5% in the avrage of polling, something Obama has done 3 times. And oh yeah, this past Sunday, September 7th, marks the first time since April 2nd, that McCain has led Obama in the averaging of polling. Moreover, Obama’s trough-to-peak rise in averages lasted from 8/21-9/2, or 12 days, whereas McCain’s started on 9/2 and seems to have ended on 9/8, or 6 days. In other words, Obama’s combined VP/convention bounce lasted fully twice as long as McCain’s. And that’s with it being dampened a bit by the Palin announcement coming directly after the Democratic Convention, and media coverage being diverted to Hurrican Gustav.

And all of this of course should be digested with one fact in mind; we call it a “bounce” for a reason. What goes up must come down.

Remind me again why Obama is in trouble?