McCain Sets High Bar for Obama Post-Convention Bounce

By Natalie Gewargis

Aug 22, 2008 3:49pm

The McCain campaign’s director of strategy, Sarah Simmons, sent out an email to reporters today setting the post-convention "bounce" in polling to an almost impossibly high level.

"This cycle mirrors Bill Clinton’s Democratic convention in 1992: A historic 16-point bump," Simmons wrote. "Barack Obama is more similarly situated to Bill Clinton in 1992 than any other candidate in recent history.  Bill Clinton was a new candidate on the national scene; he was running in a ‘change’ oriented election cycle and the economy was voters’ top issue — a dynamic he was able to capitalize on.  He received a 16-point bump coming out of his convention.  Obama is also a ‘new’ candidate in a change-oriented environment.  And, like Bill Clinton, he will spend the convention presenting himself as the agent of change who will fix the economy."

Simmons notes that the day when Obama is scheduled to accept his party’s nomination will be the 45th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have A Dream" speech which will "result in effusive and overwhelming press coverage.  On Thursday, Obama will give a great speech, as has been his trademark.  The press will sing his praises and remark on his historic address and Obama’s place in history."

The McCain campaign predicts "nearly a 15-point bounce out of a convention in this political environment."

Let’s see how that prediction compares historically.

Historic Convention Bounces in the Gallup Poll, 1964-2000

2004  Kerry -1   GW Bush +2
2000  Gore +8  GW Bush +8
1996  Clinton +5  Dole +3
1992  Clinton +16  GHW Bush +5
1988  Dukakis +7  GHW Bush +6
1984  Mondale +9  Reagan +4
1980  Carter +10  Reagan +8
1976  Carter +9  Ford +5
1968  Humphrey +2  Nixon +5
1964  Johnson +3  Goldwater +5

So if Obama got a nearly 15 point bump, he would be on the receiving end of the second-highest convention bounce in modern American history by any candidate in any party.

Seems a little much.

- jpt

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