The Republican convention may have been “dark” and “disunited,” to use the MSM’s favorite descriptions, but its nominee appears to have gotten a “bounce” from the event.
Heading into the convention, Clinton had led in four of the five latest polls in the RCP list. In polls taken since the convention began, Clinton has led only once.
In the four most recently completed surveys, Trump leads by 1, 2, 3, and 4 points. The 4 point lead is in an LA Times/USC poll of more than 2,000 voters. It was taken between July 18 (the day the convention began) and July 24 (yesterday).
Heading into the convention, it looked like Clinton was ahead by around 3 points. Even if one goes by the current RCP average, the race is now deadlocked, meaning that Trump received a bounce of about 3 points.
But to measure the convention effect, one would have to exclude the pre-convention surveys. Doing so puts Trump ahead by around 2.5 points. This implies a bounce of at least 5 points. ( Nate Silver, looking more deeply at the data, finds that “a small-to-medium bounce is more likely than a large one”).
To be sure, the “dark,” “disunited” convention may not be the only reason why the state of the race has changed. Terrorist attacks, for example, may be helping Trump’s campaign. The Comey email revelations, which predate the convention, presumably aren’t playing a role except to the extent that Republican speakers drove home the scandal during the convention.
I should also note that there are still Republican votes on the table conceivably to be picked up by Trump. Mine, for instance. Heck, even Ted Cruz might come around.
The Democrats now get their shot. I expect that speeches by the likes of Bernie Sanders, President Obama, and perhaps Bill Clinton and/or Tim Kaine will give her a boost. The speech that matters most is, or course, Hillary’s. I expect it will be a good speech in the technical sense, but will the tainted messenger be able to move the needle?
More likely than not, it seems to me, Hillary will get a bounce from the Democratic convention. If she doesn’t, she’s probably in trouble.