Polls: Obama Won Debate
Once again, the early media polls show that Barack Obama won the debate.
CBS “conducted nationally representative poll of uncommitted voters to get their immediate reaction” and found:
Forty percent of the 516 uncommitted voters surveyed identified Barack Obama as tonight’s winner; 26 percent said John McCain won, while 34 percent saw the debate as a draw.
After the debate, 68 percent of uncommitted voters said that they think Obama will make the right decisions on the economy, compared to 55 percent who said that before the debate. Fewer thought McCain would do so — 48 percent after the debate, and 41 percent before.
Before the debate, 59 percent thought Obama understands voters’ needs and problems; that rose to 80 percent after the debate. For McCain, 33 percent felt he understands voters’ needs before the debate, and 44 percent thought so afterwards.
There is some good news for McCain, who still dominates Obama when it comes to perceptions of readiness to be president. Before the debate, 42 percent thought Obama was prepared for the job, and that percentage rose to 58 percent after the debate. But 77 percent felt McCain was prepared for the job before the debate, and 83 percent thought so afterwards.
Meanwhile, CNN merely “national poll of debate watchers,” with no mentioned attention to weighting for demographic factors, and found:
Fifty-four percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey conducted after the debate ended said that Obama did the best job in the debate, with 30 percent saying John McCain performed better.
A majority, 54 percent, said Obama seemed to be the stronger leader during the debate, to 43 percent for McCain. By a greater than two to one margin — 65 percent to 28 percent — viewers thought Obama was more likeable during the debate.
A majority of debate watchers polled thought Obama was more intelligent, by a 57 percent to 25 percent margin over McCain. Twice as many debate watchers also thought Obama more clearly expressed than McCain, with 60 percent giving the nod to the Democratic nominee and 30 percent to his GOP opponent.
Paul Mirengoff also makes a good point here:
I thought that Barack Obama won the “visuals” of tonight’s debate. He looked younger and more vigorous, of course, but, in addition, John McCain did too much moving around. He seemed focused on addressing a “town hall,” as he has done so well over the years. But in reality, as Obama seemed quicker to appreciate, the audience tonight was in the television land. To them, McCain’s movement must have seemed a bit aimless.
I, too, thought it odd that McCain seemed to randomly turn his back to the camera to talk to people in the studio audience rather than the millions watching at home.
We’ll see in the national polls — and the more important battleground state polls — whether either candidate gets any movement out of last night’s debate. My guess, though, remains that it will be a wash. Which, given the dynamics of the race, is as good as a win for Obama.