According to this CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll, Kerry/Edwards experienced a negative bounce after the convention.Poll Article
The explanation that the electorate is so polarized is a possible one. I also know that the first thing out of a lot folks mouths on this story is going to be "The Republicans are just trying to create unrealistic expectations to make themselves look better". OK, that may be the case, but a 1 point drop, while the opponent gains four points? Something doesn't seem right to me there.
Even the Newsweek poll, which paints a much rosier picture for Kerry, admits that the bounce is the smallest in the history of the poll. Polarized electorate or bad omen for Kerry?
History of convention bounces: Source: Gallup
Year Candidate Bounce
2000 Gore +8
2000 Bush +4 Winner
1996 Clinton +5 Winner
1996 Dole +3
1992 Clinton +16 Winner
1992 Bush +5
1988 Dukakis +7
1988 Bush +6 Winner
1984 Mondale +9
1984 Reagan +5 Winner
1980 Carter +10
1980 Reagan +8 Winner
1976 Carter +9 Winner
1976 Ford +5
1972 Nixon +7 Winner
1972 McGovern +0
1968 Nixon +5 Winner
1968 Humphrey +2
1964 Goldwater +5
1964 Johnson +3 Winner
Losses by the incumbent:
1976: Carter defeats Ford. Carter gets 9 point bounce (Ford=+5)
1980: Regan defeats Carter. Reagan gets 8 point bounce (Carter=+10)
1992: Clinton defeats Bush. Clinton gets 16 point bounce (Bush=+5)
Losses by the challenger:
1964: Johnson defeats Goldwater. Goldwater gets +5 bounce
1972: Nixon defeats McGovern. McGovern gets +0 bounce
1984: Reagan defeats Mondale. Mondale gets +9, still loses.
1996 Clinton defeats Dole. Dole gets +3 bounce
I think the above data can support some conclusions in particular: No candidate who received a negligable post-convention bounce or was "out bounced" by a large margin has been able to win. The possible exception is Bush 43 himself, where Gore got twice the bounce.
If we just look at challengers to an incumbent
, the picture is worse for Kerry. No challenger has won without a large bounce. Period. History predicts that Kerry will not and cannot win. Then again, Bush has defied history, so why can't Kerry? Also, it should be said that a large bounce by the incumbent does not equal victory. My argument is that the challenger must
experience a substantial bounce to win.
Regardless of who you support, what do you think about the above?