Gallup today was Romney 51-Obama 45. Polls come and polls go, but this one is significant for several reasons:
1. 50% and up-It is the first time that Romney has gone above 50% in the Gallup tracker.
2. Surge Not a Bounce– Initially it was thought that Romney got a bounce from the first debate. Bounces fade. What this poll demonstrates is that Romney for the past two weeks has been enjoying a surge.
3. Incumbent Forty Blues-It is electoral death normally for an incumbent to be under 50% in a Presidential race this late in the election season, due to the fact that most undecided voters break for the challenger. Obama in the mid-forties is looking at a ceiling for his support well under 50%.
4. October Winner-The candidate ahead in mid-October has almost always gone on to win. The only exception I can think of is Reagan in 1980, and Democrat blather to the contrary Obama isn’t Reagan.
5. One More Debate-The events that can have a major impact on the election are running out. Just one more debate and that is on foreign policy, probably not the President’s favorite subject in these Benghazi haunted days.
6. Mitt the Known Quantity-Obama spent over two hundred million dollars to define Romney negatively. The first debate shattered that negative image and the rise of Romney in the polls indicates that he has established himself as an acceptable alternative to Obama.
7. Gallup the Gold Standard- Although not having the charism of infallibility, Gallup has a pretty good record over many decades. That Romney has such a high lead in Gallup probably indicates that Romney is in very good shape.
8. Big Push-The Romney campaign and their allies saved much of their ad money for a final surge, ceding ad dominance to the Democrats for months. Now the swing states are being deluged with Romney ads. (One of the good things about the ending of any Presidential race is the freeing of the air waves from political ads for a time!) Romney was able to move votes with this tactic in the primaries, and I suspect this tactic will gain him two to three points in most states, building upon the lead he currently enjoys.
9. Morale-Polls do have an impact upon the morale of the supporters of a candidate. Polls showing a favored candidate ahead raise morale and low polls depress morale.
10. Preference Cascade-I think a preference cascade is what we are seeing now. Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, defined the phrase preference cascade a decade ago:
Such regimes have little legitimacy, but they spend a lot of effort making sure that citizens don’t realize the extent to which their fellow-citizens dislike the regime. If the secret police and the censors are doing their job, 99% of the populace can hate the regime and be ready to revolt against it – but no revolt will occur because no one realizes that everyone else feels the same way.
This works until something breaks the spell, and the discontented realize that their feelings are widely shared, at which point the collapse of the regime may seem very sudden to outside observers – or even to the citizens themselves. Claims after the fact that many people who seemed like loyal apparatchiks really loathed the regime are often self-serving, of course. But they’re also often true: Even if one loathes the regime, few people have the force of will to stage one-man revolutions, and when preferences are sufficiently falsified, each dissident may feel that he or she is the only one, or at least part of a minority too small to make any difference.
With his mainstream media allies Obama attempted to build a Potemkin Village in this country where people could be gulled into disbelieving their eyes as they helplessly witnessed what a disaster the Obama administration has been. The first debate, as the polls indicate, shattered that spell.
Update: Gallup today, October 18, has the race at 52-45 in Romney’s favor. It is beginning to look like if there is a second debate bounce it is coming Romney’s way.