Traditionally, presidential nominees enjoy a bump in the polls following the conclusion of their party’s nominating convention, which typically translates into momentum for the final stretch of campaigning before the general election.
In a new poll released Saturday, however, Democratic nominee Joe Biden did not really see that traditional post-convention bump while President Donald Trump did, which allowed the incumbent to make up substantial ground against his challenger, USA Today reported.
The National Pulse noted that, historically speaking, candidates who receive little or no boost in the polls after being formally nominated typically end up losing on Election Day, which is bad news for the Biden campaign.
Trump gains ground in poll
USA Today looked closely at data from the Morning Consult polling firm, which showed that Trump had cut four points off Biden’s 10-point lead prior to the start of the Republican National Convention.
Heading into the Republican National Convention (RNC), Biden led Trump 52-42 percent in a survey of 4,810 likely voters with a margin of error of one point. On Friday, after the RNC concluded, a survey of 4,035 likely voters with a margin of error of two points showed that Biden’s lead had shrunk to six points, 50-44 percent.
The polling firm noted the similarity in Trump’s 2020 post-convention bump with that of 2016, with one significant difference — the number of undecided voters this time (7 percent) is roughly half the number of undecideds in 2016 (16 percent).
Further, it was surmised that Trump’s gain largely came via white voters and suburban voters while the poll showed that the president had lost some ground among minority voters.
No bump for Biden
Now, compare the post-RNC 4-point swing in Trump’s favor to the fact that Biden’s standing remained virtually unchanged following the Democratic National Convention just one week prior with the same polling firm.
In a survey of 4,141 likely voters with a margin of error of two points at the start of the DNC, Morning Consult had found Biden with an 8-point lead of 51-43 percent. However, a survey of 4,377 likely voters with a one-point margin of error after the DNC showed that Biden’s lead had grown by only a single point, 52-43 percent, which is within that margin of error and therefore statistically unchanged.
In 2016, nominee Hillary Clinton gained three percentage points of support while Trump lost four, placing Clinton in the lead by 43-40 percent. That said, the polling firm again highlighted the fact that there are substantially fewer undecided voters this time around.
RCP average remains largely unchanged … for now
Meanwhile, as of Sunday, the RealClearPolitics average of polls showed Biden with a 6.9 percent lead over Trump, 49.7-42.8 percent, down about a half a percent from just prior to the start of the RNC.
However, it must be noted that none of the polls included in the RCP average at this point are dated later than the middle of the RNC, Aug. 25. The bump that Trump received after the RNC concluded on Aug. 27 has yet to be factored in, meaning Biden may experience some slippage once the post-RNC polls have been added into the average.