When Mitt Romney received little to no bounce out of his convention I initially discounted it as not a very big deal, assuming convention bounces were a thing of the past. I thought the lack of bounce was merely the byproduct of an election where most voters have already made up their minds and only a very small number of people are truly undecided. The race had been remarkably static and I assumed almost nothing could significantly move the numbers.
I was wrong. It is clear that unlike Romney, President Obama did receive a noticeable bounce from his convention. According to the Gallup daily tracking poll Obama’s lead grew by four points among registered voters. The CNN poll found Obama’s lead grew by six points among likely voters. The Washington Post/ABC News poll found Obama’s lead among registered voters improved by seven points.
Apparently, a candidate can still get a bounce out of a convention. The issue was not that it is impossible, only that the Romney campaign simply failed to do it.
What should be the most concerning to the campaign about Romney’s lack of bounce is not that he is currently trailing two months out from the election, but rather what it says about the two campaigns. For three days the American people listened to what was basically a non-stop free infomercial for Romney. The Republicans were uninterrupted as they put forward their best arguments for their candidate, and the electorate simply wasn’t moved by it. On the other hand, when Democrats got their three days to make their best arguments, it clearly resonated with enough voters to make a significant difference.
It indicates that at its core the current Obama messaging can work if people hear it while the current Romney messaging doesn’t seem to connect. This should cause Republicans to seriously examine how they are running this campaign. Even a big cash advantage won’t make a difference if it is being used to promote a message that doesn’t work.