July 31, 2004

Newsweek: Kerry/Edwards Gets Smallest Bounce Ever

Newsweek did some polling late this week to determine the effect of the convention for John Kerry's candidacy. They report that even using the loosest possible polling for Democrats -- adults, rather than registered voters or likely voters -- that Kerry received the smallest bounce in the history of the Newsweek poll:

Kerrys four-point bounce is the smallest in the history of the NEWSWEEK poll. There are several factors that may have contributed to the limited surge, including the timing of the poll. On Thursday, Kerry had just a two-point lead over Bush (47 percent to 45 percent), suggesting that his Friday night speech had a significant impact. Additionally, Kerrys decision to announce his vice-presidential choice of John Edwards three weeks before the convention may have blunted the gatherings impact. And limited coverage by the three major networks also may have hurt Kerry.

Kerry made one of his better speeches of the campaign Thursday night, which may well have provided the lift described by Newsweek. However, the poll shows that the convention essentially fired up Kerry's base, which may have earlier been less enthusiastic and more inclined to consider Nader or no vote at all. The minibounce has to be a major disappointment for the Democrats, who predicted a swing of double or more what Newsweek shows they got. Moreoever, the Newsweek poll uses a sample which traditionally skews leftward. Had they restricted their sample to likely voters, I think that the bounce may have been smaller yet or entirely nonexistent.

I'd wait for Pew polling or perhaps another Gallup poll to determine the drift, if any, the convention provided Kerry. Even at that, I would guess that he's already negated much of it with his two stumbles out of the gate on putting Osama on a trial tour and buttonholing the Marines at Wendy's. Now that his campaign will officially "go dark" and stop its advertising, whatever momentum he has will slip away until after the RNC -- when it will be far too late to regain it.

UPDATE: Power Line points its readers to the Rassmussen daily tracking poll, which surveys voters and not the broader "adults" sample. Today's result shows Kerry leading Bush by one point, having actually lost ground from earlier in the week. Hindrocket points out:

The candidates have been more or less tied for a long time, with the lead going back and forth within three points either way. For the last three days, Rasmussen has shown Kerry with a three-point lead, which could be considered a slight bounce, since the candidates were tied going in. On the other hand, you could say that it wasn't really a bounce at all, since Kerry also recorded a three-point lead shortly before the convention started. Or you could say it wasn't really a lead at all, since the poll's margin of error is, I believe, 3%.

In any event, Rasmussen uses a three-day rolling total, and today was the first day that would reflect (albeit only in part) any reaction to Kerry's acceptance speech and the wrap-up of the convention. The result: Kerry's lead dropped to one point. Which means, I guess, that yesterday's polling had to be pretty bad for him.

UPDATE II: Gerry at Daly Thoughts has more on the Newsweek sampling. I think we'll see this more and more as we get closer to the election; it's the same thing the LA Times did with its sampling in the recall polling, and wound up a huge embarrassment to the Tribune Co.

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Captain Ed has details about the bounce--or lack thereof--that Kerry received from the Democratic Convention:Newsweek did some polling late this week to determine the effect of the convention for John Kerry's candidacy. They report that even using the ... [Read More]

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