The presidential campaign of John McCain is setting some pretty lofty expectations for Obama’s poll bump coming out of the Denver convention. McCain’s Director of Strategy Sarah Simmons wrote a memo that suggests that Obama will get a 15 point poll bump from the convention.
“Monday marks the beginning of the Democratic National Convention in Denver. A combination of factors makes this particular convention historic on many levels. Democrats have just completed an incredibly compelling primary cycle that has both energized and divided the Democratic Party. Because of the unique nature of the Democratic primary, we believe Obama will receive a significant bump from his convention,” the memo said.
It compared Obama to Bill Clinton’s bump in 1992, “This cycle mirrors Bill Clinton’s Democratic convention in 1992: A historic 16-point bump. 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. ..”
Simmons thinks that Obama will give a great speech on Thursday that will get massive media coverage, “Obama’s stadium address on Thursday — the 45th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech — 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. For example, The Associated Press today published an article comparing the historic nature of the addresses – a week before Obama’s speech. This coverage will be impenetrable and will undoubtedly impact the polls.”
She concludes that Obama will get a 15 point bounce, “We believe Obama will see a significant bump, and believe it is reasonable to expect nearly a 15-point bounce out of a convention in this political environment.” There is a bit of gamesmanship involved in this estimate. If the post convention polls show a smaller bounce, then the McCain people can point to it as a sign of Obama’s vulnerability.
On the other hand, if Obama hits their number, they can say that this is what they expected. I think their analysis is fairly right on. The only problem they face is if Obama gets a truly massive bounce of 20 points. That level of a bounce would be historic, and it would likely signal some real problems for McCain this fall.