<html> <head><style type ="text/css">body { font-family: "Bloomberg Prop Unicode I", Verdana, sans-serif; font-size:125%; letter-spacing: -0.3pt; color: #FF9F0F; background-color: #000000; text-align: left; } p {line-height: 1.25em; max-width:900px; width:expression(document.body.clientWidth > 900? "900px": "auto" );} h1, h2, h3 { text-align: left; font-weight: normal; color: #FFFFFF; } h1 { font-size: 130%; } h2 { font-size: 115%; } h3 { font-size: 100%; } #bb-style { font-size: 90%; max-width:900px; width:expression(document.body.clientWidth > 900? "900px": "auto" ); } b, strong { font-weight: bold; } i, em { color: #FEC54A; } pre { font-family: "Andale Mono", "Monaco", "Lucida Console"; letter-spacing: -0.3pt; line-height: 1.25em; } table { border: 0; font-size: 90%; width: 100%; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; } td, tr { text-align: left; } td.numeric { text-align: right; } a:link { color:#53B2F5; text-decoration: none; } a:visited {color:#53B2F5} a:active {color:#53B2F5} a:hover {color:#53B2F5} </style> </head> <body> <p>By Albert R. Hunt</p> <p>Over the last 40 years, the shape of most presidential races was evident in the September polls that <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-09/obama-s-shaky-lead-in-post-convention-home-stretch.html">followed the convention</a>.</p> <p>A few anomalies, as measured by the <a href="http://www.gallup.com/home.aspx">Gallup</a> poll: Four years ago, when Senator John McCain of Arizona got a bump that even most Republicans knew wouldn't last. And in 2000, when the Democratic nominee, Vice President Al Gore, again with a convention bump, had a lead (actually, Gore ended up winning the popular vote that year).</p> <p>The real outlier was 1980, when Ronald Reagan trailed President Jimmy Carter by seven points in early September and ended up winning by almost 10 points; campaigns can matter.</p> <p>Here are Gallup's horse-race surveys in September of the last 10 presidential-election years compared with the final results.</p> <p>                                              Early Sept. poll              Final</p> <p>2008</p> <p>Barack Obama                        46                                52.9</p> <p>John McCain                           48                                45.7</p> <p>2004</p> <p>John Kerry                              47                                48.3</p> <p>George W. Bush                     49                                 50.7</p> <p>2000</p> <p>Al Gore                                      47                                 48.4</p> <p>George W. Bush                      41                                 47.9</p> <p>1996</p> <p>Bill Clinton                               52                                 49.2</p> <p>Bob Dole                                   29                                  40.7</p> <p>Ross Perot                                 7                                      8.4</p> <p>1992</p> <p>George H.W. Bush                 41                                   37.5</p> <p>Bill Clinton                               50                                   43</p> <p>Perot                                          n/a                                   18.9</p> <p>1988</p> <p>George H.W. Bush                 45                                     53.37</p> <p>Michael Dukakis                    43                                     45.65</p> <p>1984</p> <p>Ronald Reagan                       57                                     58.8</p> <p>Walter Mondale                     39                                     40.6</p> <p>1980</p> <p>Jimmy Carter                          41                                    41</p> <p>Ronald Reagan                        35                                     50.7</p> <p>John Anderson                       15                                        6.6</p> <p>1976</p> <p>Gerald Ford                              36                                       48</p> <p>Jimmy Carter                          49                                        50</p> <p>Eugene McCarthy                    4                                            0.91</p> <p>1972</p> <p>George McGovern                 34                                        37.5</p> <p>Richard Nixon                        57                                         60.7</p> <p>(Albert R. Hunt is Washington editor at Bloomberg News and a Bloomberg View columnist. <a href="https://twitter.com/AlHuntDC">Follow him</a> on Twitter.)</p> <p>Read more breaking commentary from Bloomberg View columnists and editors at the <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/view/the-ticker/">Ticker</a>.</p> </body> </html>