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President Obama Enjoying Ratings Surge Following Democratic Convention

President Barack Obama is enjoying a small bounce in ratings following last week’s Democratic Convention in Charlotte, according to polls released over the weekend.

Both Gallup and Rasmussen Reports cited weekend telephone tracking surveys that showed a small spike in the president’s popularity following a strong convention that featured particularly memorable speeches last week by himself, First Lady Michelle Obama and former president Bill Clinton.

It’s unclear how long the bounce will last as the presidential election heats up over the next two months between the president and Republican rival Mitt Romney. The presidential election is Nov. 6.

Both reporting organizations had found a roughly even race on interviews conducted prior to both parties’ conventions. The GOP held its convention in Tampa over the last week of August before the Democrats followed suit last week.

The two polls now show Obama leading Romney by similar margins (5 and 4 percentage points, respectively), various media outlets reported Monday.

The latest Gallup Daily interviews spanned the full week, from September 2 to 8, with roughly half coming before the speeches by Presidents Clinton and Obama on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Rasmussen’s recent interviews were conducted September 6 to 8, so two-thirds of their respondents were called after Obama’s speech.

Like Gallup, the Reuters/Ipsos Internet tracking survey also spanned the full week from September 2 to 8. It shows Obama leading Romney by a four-point margin (47 to 43 percent). Ipsos had also shown Obama leading by a four-point margin just before the Republican convention, though they showed Romney ahead by a two percentage points (44 to 42 percent) in interviews conducted during the Republican convention.

Both the Gallup and Rasmussen tracking surveys have typically produced results more favorable to Romney than most of the other national surveys.

But sources of tracking surveys are in agreement about a boost in Obama’s job approval rating. As of Sunday, Gallup reported Obama’s approval rating at 50 percent, while Rasmussen put it at 52 percent. Both numbers were significantly higher than the average job approval ratings they reported in August (45 and 48 percent, respectively).

Historically, party conventions have produced a polling bounce for each party’s candidate, although the changes are typically short-lived.

George H.W. Bush (1988), Bill Clinton (1992) and George W. Bush (2004) all surged from behind following the convention period and went on to win the election. Many voters begin to start seriously paying attention to the campaign during the conventions.

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