One of the things I've been looking for in the wake of last week's debate was a sign that Romney's bump was short lived, or weak. Now, I don't think so. It looks like real movement in the electorate. I've read the Obama Campaign's case as reported by Halperin and others and I think they have it correct: groundgame is banking the vote and we've seen some minor movement for Romney in the toss up states that matter. But, what I do see is this unmistakable trend overall: Romney has regained almost all the ground that he lost over the Summer.
Now, the lack of significant movement in the toss up states could mean that the movement we are seeing in the national numbers is occurring in states that are uncontested. There is some evidence of this.
For example, in Massachusetts, a PPP poll of the Senate race there also noted Romney gained +4 points in Mass. According to a New Jersey poll, Romney gained three points there post debate. Yet Obama remains comfortably ahead there 51 to 40.
In the Red states, PPP found Obama trailing Romney in Montana by 5 points prior to the debate. Now, they find him down by 11. I suspect if they went into the field in any of the deep red states in the South, Romney probably picked up similar margins there too.
If you look into the last two Pew Polls, you'll see a healthy chunk of movement in the polls were in two regions of the country:in the South where Romney gained a dramatic 13 points and in the Northeast where Romney gained 8 points. Of course, these two regions are for the most part uncontested. It doesn't matter if Romney is up 8 or up 20 in Alabama. Nor does it matter if Obama is up 6 or up 30 in Vermont.
So, it is clear to me that Romney has gained some ground and that there wasn't just a temporary bounce here. However, I stick by my contention that this swing was mostly among non college educated white women, mostly unmarried. These are voters that can be won back if Romney is exposed for the fraud he is. But, I speculate a good chunk of them are in states that are uncontested. Where the campaign is heavily engaged, these key swing voters already know who he is.