Hillary Clinton's Convention Bounce Will Last

| by Mark Jones
Hillary Clinton speaking as Secretary of State in New ZealandHillary Clinton speaking as Secretary of State in New Zealand

Historically, presidential candidates have seen spikes in support in the days following their party's convention. The polls for this election year have reflected this phenomenon. Two weeks after the Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton appears to be holding on to the dramatic increase in voter support.

Post-convention support spikes are known commonly as “convention bounces.” With all of the excitement and energy surrounding a particular party, the idea of a convention bounce is not only understandable, but supported by historical occurrences.

Polling data collected by Gallup provides many examples of the post-convention bounce. In 1984, for instance, support for Democratic candidate Walter Mondale increased by nine points in national polls. He was defeated later that year by Ronald Reagan.

Michael Dukakis experienced a seven point increase in support after the 1988 DNC and before losing the race to Republican George H.W. Bush in November.

After the 2016 GOP convention, Donald Trump received a bump of approximately four points, sending him ahead of Clinton in national polls. After the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Clinton’s percentage point increase brought her seven points ahead of her opponent.

Typically, the convention-bounce lasts for a few days or maybe a few weeks before numbers return to equilibrium or closer to where they stood pre-convention.  This year, however, Clinton will likely retain her convention-bounce lead.

From Michelle Obama’s call for recognition that America is already the greatest country on earth to former President Bill Clinton’s anecdotal speech about his wife’s passion for politics, everything about the DNC was well received.

In an instant poll taken by CNN/ORC, 60 percent of voter viewers said that they are more likely to vote for Clinton after hearing her speech on the final night of the convention.

According to an election update by Fivvethirtyeight, Clinton is the 83-percent favorite to win the presidential election. This lead, however, may not have everything to do with the energy and excitement stirred by a well-received national convention.

Fivethirtyeight reports that controlling for “fundamentals,” including the convention bounce, Clinton is still the favorite for more than three quarters of poll respondents.  This is the largest lead that Clinton has had since June, when Fivethirtyeight began publishing election forecasts for 2016, and her numbers do not appear to be dropping any time soon.

Perhaps the increase in support for Clinton demonstrates an even greater decrease in support for Trump.

Recently, Trump has received criticism from members of his own party about his comments toward the Muslim parents of American soldier, Capt. Humayun Khan. According to CNN, some believe that his words toward the grieving parents, whose son was killed in Iraq, were simply too much.

According to The New York Times, President Obama called Trump “unfit to serve” in the wake of his comments. On CNN's "New Day," the Khans labeled Trump's remarks examples of “ignorance and arrogance.”

Referring to Trump, President Obama asked Republican leaders, “If you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?”

As this question enters the minds of more and more Republicans, Clinton’s grip on her post-convention lead may become stronger and stronger.  If Trump continues to receive backlash for his words and actions, Clinton’s dramatic lead will follow her all the way to November. 

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: Gallup, FiveThirtyEight (2), RealClear Politics, The New York Times, CNN, Twitter / Photo credit: US Embassy/Flickr

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