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Clinton's post-convention bounce gives her the upper hand

Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton waves as she arrives to accept the nomination on the fourth and final night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 28, 2016.
Jim Young | Reuters
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton waves as she arrives to accept the nomination on the fourth and final night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 28, 2016.

After the conventions, here are the three things we know about where the race for president stands:

Secretary Clinton won the convention battle.

While all the polling data is not in yet released post the Democratic convention, it looks like Hillary Clinton got about a 4-point bounce from her convention while Donald Trump received roughly a 2-point convention gain. Several individual polls showed Mrs. Clinton gaining 7-points, which would be higher than the average of 5-points by all candidates after their convention, and a couple showed Donald Trump getting no bounce. But, in averaging all polls conducted before both conventions and then again after each convention, we see modest gains for both candidates with Hillary slightly better off.

But, in looking at some research out of the Gallup organization, Americans were much more positive about the Democratic convention and Hillary Clinton's speech than they were about Donald Trump's convention. According to Gallup, 44 percent of Americans had a more favorable view of the Democratic Party after the Democratic convention. And, while 35 percent had a more favorable view of the Republican Party after the GOP convention, a full 52 percent said they were less favorable towards the Party. The same numbers rated the speeches, 44 percent were more favorable toward Hillary Clinton after watching her speech while 35 percent were more favorable after watching Trump's. I suspect if these questions were asked only of registered voters, the gap would narrow, but there is enough evidence now to confidently say Mrs. Clinton won the convention battle.

Hillary Clinton has a higher favorable rating than Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton has experienced a 6-point gain in her image since mid July, and now has a 44 percent favorable rating. Donald Trump is at 32 percent, largely stuck where's he's been for months. Clinton is of course coming off her convention and this could drop again, but whoever leads the favorable "race", nearly always wins the election.

President Obama's job approval rating is up to 54 percent.

Incumbent Presidents nearly always poll their approval rating at the ballot box. So, you could infer that if President Obama were running for re-election, he'd be pushing 54 percent of the vote. He's not. Hillary Clinton is. If the president's ratings hold, this is a positive sign for her party and campaign. Some of the president's increase in image and job approval is surely credited to the fact that he looks pretty good compared to the two leading candidates for his current office.

It's not all bad news for Donald Trump. He did win the ratings race and nearly 2 million more people tuned in to watch his speech than Secretary Clinton's. Still, if the election were held today, Hillary Clinton would win by at least 5 points.

Commentary by Sara Taylor Fagen, a partner at DDC Advocacy and a former political director for President George W. Bush. Follow her on Twitter @sarafagen2.

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