A couple of news outlets have just flashed that Gallup's tracking poll now has Obama up by 5%. Other media are just now trumpeting that Pew Research finds Romney leading Obama by 4%.
So what's a political junkie to do?
Keep waiting. And I HATE waiting! I want to KNOW!
The hard truth is that we won't really know until after the polls - the voting polls, that is - close on Election Day. I have to keep telling myself this, but I don't want to hear it.
Two things are encouraging for Obama supporters while Romney is going through what appears to be a post-debate bounce that may be fading.
The first thing is that Romney is still a jerk.
The second is that there's an enormous amount of background data which still augurs well for Obama. In their infinite unwisdom the pundits keep overlooking this data. Such as a post-debate Ipsos/Reuters poll that shows, even though twice as many think Romney won the debate, these same people still "like" Obama better by 2 to 1. Further, more of them still think he's "a good person" by 47% to Romney's 37%. And even though Romney picked up a couple of points on "being tough", Obama still out-polls him on toughness by 42% to 38%.
Perhaps most important, those polled by Ipsos/Reuters picked Obama over Romney by 6% on "has the right values to be president" and by 8% on "understands people like me".
So how much did one debate change people's perceptions of the two contenders? Not enough, it appears. It certainly did not change the African-American vote after the GOP has been running on racism for a year or more. Nor can it conceivably have much changed the alignment of even bigger blocks of supporters who were going for Obama before the debate. Some of these blocks - like the Latinos - are beyond big and are enormous in their, like the 70% support among Latinos. And will women move away significantly from their 20% margin for Obama? These groups have strong vested interests - their basic rights - at stake. Is one debate going to shake that?
And can Romney win back the sizable percentage of seniors he has lost to Obama? Pre-debate polls showed Romney losing a lot of the big margin the GOP usually has with seniors. That is most understandable. They know that Romney and Ryan are enemies of Medicare. In the debate Romney denied nuch that he has previously espoused but did NOT deny that he wants vouchers to replace Medicare. Like the Latinos and women, seniors have sharp hearing for signals about what's not in their best interest nor in the best interest of their middle-aged children. Can one debate put them to sleep on such a critical issue?
It's just not likely that these groups will put their heads on the chopping block for Mitt Romney merely because of one debate. After all, Big Bird wouldn't do that. He's no dumb turkey.
So we have to be patient and wait for the dust to settle. We have to wait for some consistency in the polls. And above all else we have to wait for some good polling of the swing states, not just the pro-GOP polls of Rasmussen (which stupidly exclude cell phones, i.e. 30% of the population).
But I'm not going to say we have to wait until the election results come in. We do. But I can't stand to say it!
Yoo hoo, Mr. Romney! Even though the Count died recently (or the guy who did his voice), lots of our kids learned how to count from Sesame Street. Is that why you want to kill Sesame Street? Afraid folks can do the arithmetic when we get hold of those tax returns?