The bump is in


CLINTON RETAKES THE LEAD IN POST-DNC POLLS – The first few polls conducted completely after the Democratic convention indicate that Clinton is benefitting from the party’s week in the spotlight. A CBS poll recorded a 4-point bounce for Clinton, which, combined with a 3-point drop for Trump since their last poll, means that Clinton leads by 7 points, 46-39. Morning Consult, which had Trump up by 4 points last week, has Clinton up by 3 now. The HuffPost Pollster chart shows Clinton up by about 4 points, compared to a narrower 2-point margin last week at this time…

As with Trump’s convention bump, Clinton’s might not last either –HuffPollster: “And just as with last week’s polls, you shouldn’t get too excited or upset about sudden shifts. Convention bounces are common, and often temporary.…Trump…seemed to gain a few points off the convention, and it was enough to make the race nearly tied in the HuffPost Pollster averages, regardless of whether third-party candidates were included in the polls. Now that Clinton and the Democrats have had their turn, the polls are likely to show her in the lead, although the main question will be by how much. Some polls might not show a shift in the race. We’ll have to wait a few days to find out. If it becomes clear that Clinton’s convention bounce is substantially larger than Trump’s was, that’s probably a good sign for Democrats. If it’s about the same size as Trump’s, expect the race to remain very close.” [HuffPost]

Of course, likely worst case for Clinton, if we are back to the pre-convention status quo ante, that’s a small, but solid Clinton lead of 3-4 points.

Nate Silver:

Initial polls conducted after the Democratic National Convention suggest that Hillary Clinton has received a convention bounce. In fact, it appears likely that Clinton’s bounce will exceed Donald Trump’s, which measured at 3 to 4 percentage points. Thus, Clinton will potentially exit the conventions in a stronger position than she entered them, perhaps also making up for some of the ground she lost to Trump earlier in July. This is good news for Clinton, but we’ll need to wait a few weeks to see if she can sustain her bounce before we can conclude that the race has been fundamentally changed… [emphasis mine]

So far, however, the post-convention polls have been strong enough for Clinton that there isn’t a lot of need to worry about semantics. They suggest that she possibly holds a lead over Trump in the mid- to high single digits, instead of being tied with him…

Personally, I think polls-plus makes the most persuasive case for itself and is telling the story that best fits the evidence we have in hand. We know that the polls can be pretty wild around the party conventions. We also know that, by a few weeks after the conventions, they do a very good job of picking the eventual winner:

But we don’t have a lot of evidence about what happens when the parties hold back-to-back conventions, because it’s a relatively new development. Polls just after the 2008 conventions significantly inflated the standing of John McCain and Sarah Palin, who held their convention last. And post-convention polls in 2012 also mildly exaggerated the standing of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, when Democrats held their convention second. While our now-cast may show a relatively sudden shift toward Clinton, our other models will be more cautious, moving a couple of percentage points at a time toward Clinton if she continues to poll well over the next few weeks.
My take.  I’ll be honest, I fully expected Clinton to get a decent bounce, but mostly I’m relieved that she did.  If she had not, I would be very, very worried right now.  This race is certainly not a done deal, but these are definitely promising signs for a Clinton win (and therefore, the future of democracy in America 🙂 ).  This is still a volatile period.  Now, if the polls are still consistently showing Clinton up 5+ three weeks from now, we are really onto something.  

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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