The Bounce Has Begun

The first round of post-debate polls are beginning to roll in. We are seeing a modest, but real, bounce for Romney in a number of key swing states.

On Wednesday before the debate, Obama was leading in Florida by one point according to the NBC/WSJ/Marist poll. Though only a small advantage, he was ahead and had been for the past month. Today’s numbers from the WeAskAmerica poll show Romney in front by three.

We see a similar story in Virginia. The President held a two-point advantage before the debate and is now either trailing by one point in the latest Rasmussen numbers or by three in the WeAskAmerica survey.

The numbers out of Ohio are also showing a bounce for Romney and depending on the survey, even more than the 3-4 point swing I predicated from the debates. While Obama’s lead in Ohio has been arguably exaggerated over the past few weeks due to oversampling Democrats – he was ahead by eight in the latest NBC/WSJ/Marist poll – he was most certainly in the lead. The PPP poll from Monday was probably the most accurate, giving Obama a four-point edge. Today’s WeAskAmerica numbers have Romney ahead by one while Rasmussen has Obama still in the lead, but only by one point. Though there is arguably not much difference between these two figures, especially considering the margin for error, I am inclined to think that Romney has actually pulled ahead in Ohio, but by a very small amount as the WeAskAmerica poll reflects.

As I have argued before, Romney was going to receive a bounce from his debate performance and these swing state polls bear out that reality. His bounce of 3-5 points is a just reward for a terrific debate where Obama’s performance could be described anemic at best.

That said, today’s positive jobs report has turned the tide a bit. Though Romney’s debate performance is the crucial event of the week for the campaign, the fact that the unemployment rate has gone below eight percent (7.8%) for the first time in 40+ months does take a little air out of the Romney campaigns’ tires. The report will infuse the Obama campaign with new energy and we are sure to see a more confident, and indeed aggressive, President at the next debate.

The polling numbers that will continue to come in over the next few days will show exactly how close this race really is. Gone are the days of swing state leads of almost double digits. Until election day, expect to see things go back to how they were two months ago when either candidate’s advantage is within one or two points.

Romney’s bounce from the debate has pushed him back into an effective tie for the presidency. It’s going to be very close from here on out.