What to expect in the polls

I think this Nate Cohn post-debate analysis sounds about right:

But if Romney’s gains were a product of a genuine shift in perceptions of Romney’s character, as suggested by several polls showing Romney with improved favorability ratings after the first debate, then Obama might not make many gains at all. If someone thought Romney was a good enough guy after the last debate, they probably still feel that way. Romney appeared capable of handling the presidency and an undecided voter who was previously open to supporting him would probably still be open to him tomorrow morning. Indeed, the CNN poll showed that an equal share of voters said they were more likely to support Romney and Obama after tonight’s debate.

As a result, it wouldn’t be wise to expect a big shift in the polls. After all, Romney’s September standing was deflated after months of attacks, the DNC and the 47 percent comments and Romney surged to just over 47 percent of the vote–just about the share of voters who disapprove of the president’s performance. Realistically, Romney won’t lose many of these voters from this point out and he would probably win them back by the election if he did.

Like I said last night, I still think it reasonably likely for Obama to get at least a small bump out of this.  And at this, point small is big.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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