The new ABC News/Washington Post poll reveals that while President Obama’s approval rating jumped to 55%, more Americans still disapprove of Romney than approve of him.
The ABC News/Washington Post poll found the same short term boost for Romney that eventually subsided after the debate, “Night-to-night data indicate a sizable boost for Romney, and drop for Obama, on Thursday night, a day after their first debate, which Romney widely is seen as having won. But both of those trends subsequently subsided in this poll, conducted Thursday through Sunday.”
Once the new jobs numbers were in the news, and Mitt Romney went back to being Mitt Romney, his bump went away. According to the ABC News poll, Romney gained a net 1 point in favorablility. He went from 44%-49% before the debate to 47%-51% after the debate. President Obama gained a net 4 points in favorability. Obama went from 52%-45% before the debate to 55%-44% after the debate. While Independents remain split on Obama, 49%-50%, Romney is way underwater with them at 44%-52%.
Only other four presidential candidates have had higher unfavorables than favorables at this point in the race in the ABC News/Washington Post poll, and all have gone on to lose. Jimmy Carter in 1980, Walter Mondale in 1984, George H.W. Bush in 1992, and John Kerry in 2004 were all in Romney’s position and they all lost.
Both Romney and Obama saw their approval ratings improve since the debate. Romney’s approval ratings improved because Republicans are warming up to him, while the data suggests that the declining unemployment rate has given President Obama a boost.
There is a ton of conflicting polling data floating around right now, because many of these polls captured more of Romney’s post debate bounce than Obama’s increase after the new jobs numbers. For example, most of the polling in the latest Pew poll that shows Romney up by 4 points was done immediately after the debate. Pew polls are very good, but the latest one appears to have caught a snapshot of the race in the midst of the post Romney bounce.
The bulk of the polling in the latest PPP/Kos poll was done on Thursday and Friday in midst of Romney’s bounce. This is why it shows Romney leading 49%-47%.
In short, the polls are going to tell you different things depending on when the poll was conducted. The ABC News/Washington Post poll was rolling poll over the entire Thursday-Monday period, so it is a bit more reflective of where the race stands right now.
The point is that Romney has not gained a sustained bounce from the debate. His debate performance did not change the fact that the majority of Americans still do not like him. Obama’s increase in favorability is likely due to a combination of his debate performance not alienating anyone, and the good news on the jobs front.
Despite all the panic on the left and conflicting polls, the fundamentals of this race remain the same. Voters like Obama, and they dislike Romney. If history is any indication, this is really good news for Barack Obama and bad news for Mitt Romney.
We need a few more days, and some more swing state data before we have a better idea where the race stands. In the meantime, remember that not all polls are the same, and this election will not be won or lost in a day.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association