Obama’s poll numbers up says Gallup

The first preliminary Gallup poll numbers are in after the two conventions, and the numbers are up for president Obama.

Obamas approval rating has jumped to 52 percent, the highest since May 2011, and he increased his 47 to 46 percent lead over Mitt Romney to 48 to 45 percent among registered voters in the election tracking.

The latest figures don’t include last night’s speech by Obama. They also don’t include today’s negative job numbers. By the middle of next week, we will be able to see if these new figures are a blimp or part of a longer, and for Obama,  positive trend.


Democrats come out ahead after Charlotte convention

The two political conventions are over and the question is: who won?

We will know in a week or so. The Republicans, with a bland speech by Mitt Romney, a speech by Paul Ryan that drove the fact-checkers crazy, and with Clint Eastwood…, they did not have a strong convention. It seems that they received only the smallest of bounces in the polls, but the verdict is not in yet, for either party.

I would be surprised, though, if the Democrats do not come out ahead, thanks to the cumulative effect of the past three days in Charlotte. It had the better speeches and the greater enthusiasm. It had the unforgettable testimony by Michelle Obama and the equally unforgettable, masterly lecture by Bill Clinton. And, of course, last night it had Barack Obama himself, whose speech left the delegates enthusiastic and strengthened in their resolve to win in November, although he did not deliver another glorious, mesmerizing speech that we have almost been spoiled with. It was a good speech, more than ok, solid, and, at times, eloquent, but there was also somehow something missing.

Joe Klein on his blog in Time Magazine was disappointed. He wrote that the president did not close the deal and it left Klein him wondering what Obama will do in his second term, if he is re-elected. And John Cassidy in The New Yorker wrote that the president was playing it safe, short on new ideas and policy proposals, knowing he was head in the polls and not wanting to give the Republicans new ammunition.

I don’t know, maybe our expectations were set too high, maybe we failed to take into account the fact that, this time, it was the President speaking, not a young State Senator like in 2004, or a presidential candidate like in 2008. Here was a battle-hardened leader of the country, who had been dealt an awful hand, and who realized that things were not improving as fast as he, or the country, would like. Yet, he said that the country was better off today than four years ago and that the choice in November was one between going forward and turning back to the failed policies of the Bush years, policies that got us in this fix in the first place.

“All they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years: “Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.” “Deficit too high? Try another.” “Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”

And, he asked for more time:

“I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”

Today, on Friday morning, the hard reality struck when the latest job figures were published, pointing to a continued slow recovery. Only 96,000 new jobs were created in August, although unemployment decreased from 8.3 to 8.1 percent, but mostly because so many had stopped looking for a job.

Will such numbers decide the election or will the American people let Obama continue his unfinished work? That’s the big question.

Successful start for the Democrats in Charlotte

So how did the first day of the Democratic National Convention go?

As expected, liberal commentators were full of praise, but, Peggy Nonnan in her blog in conservative Wall Street Journal, also called it “a great success,” and concluded:

“I remember when Republicans did better conventions than Democrats—better staging, better films, better speeches, more fun. So far, looking at both last week and last night, that’s being turned on its ear. Does any of this matter? Will it affect the outcome? We’ll see. But if I’m a Democrat, I’m looking at last night and thinking, “That didn’t hurt. That didn’t hurt at all.”

Michelle Obama’ speech was the highlight of the first night, a speech widely praised, both on the left and on the right, a speech which Noonan called “remarkable and memorable.”

At both conventions now, the spouses of the two candidates, first Ann Romney and now Michelle Obama, have played major political roles. For a European observer, where wives to politicians and political candidates play a much more “behind-the-scenes” role, this takes a bit getting used to. But like the rest of us, I was fascinated and impressed by both, although I have no idea how politically important these speeches will be down the line, on Election Day.

The role of the candidates’ wives is serious business, as can be seen in Ann Davidson’s comments on The New Yorkers ‘Daily Comment’ under the headline, ”Love and Presidents: The difference between Michelle and Ann”.

“While Ann Romney, as I wrote last week, elevated modesty, telling the audience that her husband didn’t like to talk about his good deeds, Michelle emphasized humility, which, she suggested, brought with it an obligation to public life—that after passing through the “doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you.” The flip side of the American dream, which she said her husband had lived, is what Americans owe. Her husband, she said, “wants everyone in this country, everyone to have the same opportunity no matter who we are or where we are from or what we look like or who we love.”

Tonight, the main speakers will be former president Bill Clinton and Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, one of my favorite liberal voices, who is trying to unseat Republican Senator Scott Brown and get elected to the U.S. Senate.

More on this later. Meanwhile, here is Michelle Obama’s speech: