Reading the Tea Leaves.
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Three of the national polls that came out Tuesday had Romney up. Three of them have Obama up. What does it all mean?
What to make of this pattern? Not much, I don’t think. On Monday, the national polls did seem to form a nice, tight distribution, clustered around the mean. On Tuesday, they didn’t. If the differences persist, they will be worthy of our attention, but the strong suspect here is simply statistical noise. People spend far too much time trying to determine which polls are right, when the correct attitude is to endeavor to infer which polls are less wrong.
Of course, any potential bounces for either candidate from last night’s debate aren’t likely to show up yet.
Over at Dominion of New York, I wondered what the race would have looked like if the president had looked like this two weeks ago:
The panic that beset Democrats after Obama’s Denver disaster was eased, if not completely stanched, by Joe Biden’s scenery-chewing outing last week. Obama followed up with aplomb, and aplomb isn’t really something he’s known for. His debate performance was so strong that one wonders what the polls might look like had he pulled this off two weeks ago. As it stands, his great night was probably just enough to get him out of the hole.
Indeed, while it’s hard to say how this will play out in the polls, what we can say is that President Obama has re-engergized Democrats by giving this strong performance. Obama may not see a boost, but he will make up ground on account of greater Democratic enthusiasm. And he can use this win to build momentum for the final debate, on foreign policy. This is Romney’s weakest area, and it’s where he has the opportunity to either overperform, or completely tank.