The Year When Polls Don’t Bounce

Maybe he was just keeping expectations under control after the euphoria over Michelle Obama’s and Bill Clinton’s featured Convention speeches. Maybe he’s hedging bets in case the President’s acceptance speech gets panned. In any event, Obama’s guy David Plouffe is warning that the Convention may have little or not effect on the standing of the two candidates in the polls:

Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday, the day President Obama is set to deliver his campaign speech and a day after former President Bill Clinton delivered his convention speech, Plouffe said he expected the race to remain tight up until election day.

“This is a very tight race,” Plouffe said. “We’ve always believed that there’s very little elasticity in the election. I don’t think you should expect a big bounce. I think this is a race where we’ve got a small but important lead in some battleground states. It’s going to be very, very close all the way out.”

“Very little elasticity” is another way of saying there are remarkably few undecided voters, and a lot of them aren’t much paying attention to the campaign yet. Maybe they watched Clinton last night; maybe they tuned out promptly at 11:00; maybe they skipped it all and watched football or spent their Wednesday night doing something else entirely. It’s hard to say. But the one thing that should always come out of a national convention is activist enthusiasm, and nothing could rain on that parade more than excited anticipation of a “bounce” that never happens.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.