GALLUP POLLSTER: The Mitt Romney Debate Bump Is Over

Frank Newport Gallup

Photo: Gallup

Frank Newport, editor in chief of Gallup, predicts that the debate bump Mitt Romney has enjoyed over the past week is coming to an end. “Our data does appear suggestive of the fact that although Romney clearly got an immediate gain from his debate, that is dissipating now,” Newport told Business Insider Wednesday. 

Newport pointed to Gallup’s data over the past two days, which shows President Barack Obama gaining back some of the ground he lost in the immediate aftermath of last week’s disastrous debate. According to Newport, Gallup’s post-debate polling appears to show Obama in a slump, rather than a prolonged slide. 

Among registered voters in Gallup’s seven-day rolling tracker, Obama led Romney last Thursday, the last day that did not include post-debate tracking. Romney cut into that advantage a bit over the course of the week immediate aftermath, trailing by only 3 points over the weekend. But by Wednesday, Obama had regained his 5-point lead with registered voters. 

Moreover, Obama’s approval rating sits at 53 per cent among registered voters — up from pre-debate tracking — a sign that he is not losing favour with voters.

“What our data showed is that Romney got a significant increase in position immediately after the debate,” Newport said. “But it looks like it’s subsiding now.”

Gallup did, however, recently shift to a likely-voter model, which is generally more favourable to Romney and puts the race in a tie.

When asked if he expects the debate to be the most poll-moving event of the election, Newport said it was too early to make a definitive judgment. But he pointed to the Democratic National Convention as the event that has had the biggest and most prolonged effect thus far. 

Obama went into Charlotte with a one-point advantage in Gallup’s polling. The convention bump accounted for a 6-point bump for Obama, and the president held a three- to six-point lead throughout much of September. 

“Although there were some fluctuations, Obama gained in registered voters after the convention and has stayed ahead a good time since then,” Newport said. “So the Democratic convention did work to Obama’s advantage to a big degree. I think it’s still too early to tell what effect the first debate will have in the long-term on Romney.”

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