Politics

Is President Obama’s Lead Built to Last?

Fri., Sep. 14, 2012 8:09 AM EDT
by Howard Franklin Jr.

President Obama continues campaigning aggressively around the country.

Over the past two weeks, the Republican and Democratic conventions have been billed as an opportunity to reset a presidential race that has remained unnervingly close.

Trailing all year, Mitt Romney in particular needed the convention in Tampa, Fla., to shift the conversation and help attract undecided voters. But despite Americans’ disappointment with the economy, Obama increased his lead over Romney after the conventions, and is opening up leads in key battleground states.

Three separate polls showed Obama making significant gains in the wake of last week’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Gallup gave Obama the biggest post-convention lead, putting him over Romney 49 percent to 45 percent. The same poll had Obama leading by a single point just three weeks ago.

Even more surprising is that Obama improved his standing in the wake of a disappointing jobs report, which found that the economy had produced only 96,000 jobs in August, and that 368,000 frustrated job seekers had simply stopped looking for work.

The bigger question is whether this is just a momentary bump or if it represents a meaningful shift in voter preferences that will persist beyond the month of September.

“Convention bounces almost always disappear,” said Larry Sabato, a political-science professor at the University of Virginia. “By the end of September, we’ll be back to where we were, which is in a very close race.”

The latest survey of swing states also offer promising developments for President Obama. According to polls taken Sept. 9 through Sept. 11, Obama leads Romney by seven points in Ohio, and by five points in Florida, Colorado and Virginia.

Building on large leads among women and people of color, the prospects for a second Obama term are starting to look pretty good.

Next stop?  The presidential debates:

Domestic policy debate – Oct. 3
University of Denver in Denver
Airing 9:00-10:30 p.m. EST

Foreign and domestic policy debate  – Oct. 16
Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
Airing 9:00-10:30 p.m. EST

Foreign policy debate – Oct. 22
Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.
Airing 9:00-10:30 p.m. EST

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