Polls: Obama Won Debate (Again)

Shocking news:  All the major polls show that Barack Obama won the third debate, just as they showed that he won the first two and Joe Biden won the VP debate.  Between the liberal media conspiracy and the fact that Obama and Biden are better debators than McCain and Palin, it’s not even fair.

At any rate, the numbers.  Bold text all added for emphasis.

CBS:

In the first presidential debate, second presidential debate and vice presidential debate, more uncommitted voters said the Democratic candidate was the victor. And tonight’s results have, by a wide margin, made it a clean sweep.

Here are the final results of the survey of 638 uncommitted voters: Fifty-three percent of the uncommitted voters surveyed identified Democratic nominee Barack Obama as the winner of tonight’s debate. Twenty-two percent said Republican rival John McCain won. Twenty-five percent saw the debate as a draw.

More uncommitted voters trusted Obama than McCain to make the right decisions about health care. Before the debate, sixty-one percent of uncommitted voters said that they trust Obama on the issue; after, sixty-eight percent said so. Twenty-seven percent trusted McCain to manage health care before the debate; thirty percent said so afterwards.

Sixty-four percent think Obama will raise their taxes, while fifty percent think McCain will.

Before the debate, fifty-four percent thought Obama shared their values. That percentage rose to sixty-four percent after the debate. For McCain, fifty-two percent thought he shared their values before the debate, and fifty-five percent thought so afterwards.

Before the debate, fifty percent said they trusted Obama to handle a crisis; that rose to sixty-three percent afterwards. More uncommitted voters trusted McCain on this — seventy-eight percent before the debate, eighty-two percent after the debate.

CNN:

A majority of debate watchers think Sen. Barack Obama won the third and final presidential debate, according to a national poll conducted right afterward. Fifty-eight percent of debate watchers questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll said Democratic candidate Obama did the best job in the debate, with 31 percent saying Republican Sen. John McCain performed best.

The poll also suggests that debate watchers’ favorable opinion of Obama rose slightly during the debate, from 63 percent at the start to 66 percent at the end. The poll indicates that McCain’s favorables dropped slightly, from 51 percent to 49 percent.

Politico had the best news for Mccain:

Voters are closely divided over which presidential candidate won the third and final general election presidential debate, according to an exclusive Politico/InsiderAdvantage nationwide survey of undecided debate-watchers.

Forty-nine percent of respondents said that Obama won the debate, compared to 46 who believed his opponent, Sen. John McCain, came out on top. The three-point gap separating the two candidates was equal to the poll’s margin of error. Five percent said they were unsure which candidate had the better evening.

Perhaps the best news for McCain is the rating he received from independent voters. Among respondents not identified with either major political party, McCain was judged tonight’s winner, 51-42 percent.

Obama’s most important lead may have come among Hispanic voters, who said he bested McCain by a 50-36 percent margin. The candidates were evenly matched among white voters, with McCain posting a narrow 49-46 percent advantage. African-Americans picked Obama as the winner, 88-10

I should note that that’s white undecideds.  All the general polls show McCain winning whites.

Overall, mostly good news for Obama:  People like him, trust him, and think he shares their values.   McCain, who has enjoyed very high favorables throughout his career, has clearly damaged himself by going on the attack, especially with dubious charges that don’t seem believable when applied to the nice, smiling gentlemen they see on their television sets.

Still, McCain got across his message on taxes.  Despite Obama’s repeated assertions that he would only screw over 1 of us in 20, almost no one believes him.  Then again, a majority think McCain, too, will raise their taxes.  The public is right on both counts.

McCain still retains the advantage on handling foreign policy crises.  Unfortunately for him, a majority trust his opponent, too.  More importantly, international affairs are not foremost on most people’s minds heading into the election.

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FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Rick Almeida says:

    It is particularly intersting to me that a clear majority of people believe Obama will raise their taxes (64% was a figure that I saw this morning) and yet most still intend to vote for him.

  2. James Joyner says:

    It is particularly intersting to me that a clear majority of people believe Obama will raise their taxes (64% was a figure that I saw this morning) and yet most still intend to vote for him.

    That struck me, too. Perhaps it’s because a majority think McCain will raise their taxes, too?

  3. Fox news is unbiased says:

    the liberal media over at fox news also found that Obama won. And I think most Americans realize that we’re all gonna have to contribute to get ourselves out of this mess. A bitter pill to be sure.

  4. DC Loser says:

    It’s 1992 all over again. “It’s the Economy, Stupid!” Negative campaigning is not going to work this year.

    Did anyone see this yesterday?

    Reagan Dems and Independents. Call them blue-collar plus. Slightly more Target than Walmart.

    Yes, the spot worked. Yes, they believed the charges against Obama. Yes, they actually think he’s too liberal, consorts with bad people and WON’T BE A GOOD PRESIDENT…but they STILL don’t give a f***. They said right out, “He won’t do anything better than McCain” but they’re STILL voting for Obama.

    The two most unreal moments of my professional life of watching focus groups:

    54 year-old white male, voted Kerry ’04, Bush ’00, Dole ’96, hunter, NASCAR fan…hard for Obama said: “I’m gonna hate him the minute I vote for him. He’s gonna be a bad president. But I won’t ever vote for another god-damn Republican. I want the government to take over all of Wall Street and bankers and the car companies and Wal-Mart run this county like we used to when Reagan was President.”

    The next was a woman, late 50s, Democrat but strongly pro-life. Loved B. and H. Clinton, loved Bush in 2000. “Well, I don’t know much about this terrorist group Barack used to be in with that Weather guy but I’m sick of paying for health insurance at work and that’s why I’m supporting Barack.”

    I felt like I was taking crazy pills. I sat on the other side of the glass and realized…this really is the Apocalypse. The Seventh Seal is broken and its time for eight years of pure, delicious crazy….

  5. Billy says:

    Perhaps it’s because a majority think McCain will raise their taxes, too?

    Or maybe people have been actually paying attention to what happens to the economy when the “cut taxes always” politicians are in power?

  6. Bithead says:

    Or maybe people have been actually paying attention to what happens to the economy when the “cut taxes always” politicians are in power?

    Yeah, can’t have things like the economic growth lower tax rates bring, can we?

  7. That struck me, too. Perhaps it’s because a majority think McCain will raise their taxes, too?

    Or maybe, you know, because people realize that promises of a free lunch are unrealistic? The fact is… and conservatives hate to hear this… but the fact is there are not enough politically viable spending cuts possible in the federal budget to justify more tax cuts.

    People have been promising to reduce inefficiency and fraud, but no matter how many earmarks you cut or how well you “reinvent” government or reform it, in the end the big 4 — interest, social security, medicare, and defense — eat up so much of the budget that even across the board cuts in other programs barely make a dent. So, if you are serious about cutting taxes, you had better also be supporting gutting defense, taking on the elderly, or defaulting on our debt, because otherwise the numbers don’t add up.

    Back in the 1980s, conservatives argued that taxes were often too high and that in particular that marginal rates well above 50% suppressed economic activity. Nowadays, conservatives argue that taxes are always too high. There is a tremendous chasm between those two positions. The first appealed to a broad range of Americans, the second appeals largely to ideologues.

    The American people are not stupid. They understand that paying taxes is part of living in a modern society that provides a variety of public goods and safety nets to the population. They just want to know that their taxes are not being wasted and that everyone is paying a fair share. There is a lot of room for debate on what those two concepts entail, but conservative anti-tax rhetoric is so devoid of context or subtlety that it turns off many, many people.

  8. Billy says:

    Yeah, can’t have things like the economic growth lower tax rates bring, can we?

    At the risk of directly engaging you, I can’t help but be astounded at your grasp of reality. Please demonstrate how much the economy has grown from the beginning of the Bush presidency to date (and I do mean today).

    Bonus points if you can link Obama to Al Qaida while doing it.

  9. FireWolf says:

    the liberal media over at fox news also found that Obama won. And I think most Americans realize that we’re all gonna have to contribute to get ourselves out of this mess. A bitter pill to be sure.

    I already contributed to a (what will be) trillion dollar bank roll for Wall Street, and most corrupt execs, why should I contribute more (other than I will be raped for my tax dollars whether I like it or not)?

    Secondly:

    It is particularly intersting to me that a clear majority of people believe Obama will raise their taxes (64% was a figure that I saw this morning) and yet most still intend to vote for him.

    Both “major” party candidates will raise our taxes (because we taxpayers just love to give)… Why is it no one has the moxie to vote for non-two-party candidates? Sure, you can minimize and belittle any politically motivated candidate but until the majority of the VOTING public tosses out the two-party hoaxsters, we won’t send any message other than “We love big government, spread the wealth, bailout failing companies, promote social welfare”.

  10. Alex Knapp says:

    Perhaps because taxes aren’t something people are worrying about right now.

  11. Michael says:

    Between the liberal media conspiracy and the fact that Obama and Biden are better debators than McCain and Obama, it’s not even fair.

    Well that’s how he keeps winning!

  12. rodney dill says:

    And I think most Americans realize that we’re all gonna have to contribute to get ourselves out of this mess.

    According to That One only if you make more than $250,000

  13. Michael says:

    According to That One only if you make more than $250,000

    And according to The Other, not even then.

  14. Matt says:

    I can’t help but be astounded at your grasp of reality. Please demonstrate how much the economy has grown from the beginning of the Bush presidency to date (and I do mean today).

    According to the IMF, the average growth from 2001 to 2008 has been 2.2% per year and the economy is about 19% larger now than when Clinton left office. But by all means, let us return to the glory days of 70% marginal tax rates and double-digit unemployment and inflation.

    I would care much less about which of the two utterly uninspiring candidates assumes the presidency, were the GOP not showing signs of handing off a filibuster-proof congress. Having nothing but a rubber stamp for Obama, however, is pretty much a sure recipe for completely out of control spending.

  15. anjin-san says:

    I am still trying to get some clarity on how McCain will lower everyone’s taxes and balance the budget by the end of his term. A hatchet, a scalpel, a chain saw, ginzu knives, laser weapons…

  16. I, for one, do not welcome our new statist masters. All hail the new triumvirate of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi. Who really thinks this is a good idea?

  17. Michael says:

    All hail the new triumvirate of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi. Who really thinks this is a good idea?

    I think maybe you over-estimate the unity of the Democratic party. Or maybe you’re just very well aware of the history of triumvirates, but the rest of your comment didn’t sound like sarcasm, so I think you believe a triumvirate will work in unison.

  18. But by all means, let us return to the glory days of 70% marginal tax rates and double-digit unemployment and inflation.

    But Matt, no one is talking about that. Good grief, conservatives have this bizarre notion that the Democratic party of 2008 is the same as the Democratic party of 1972. It just isn’t. You keep talking about stuff that happened 30 years ago as if it were yesterday.

    70% marginal rates are unacceptable. 39% as the top federal tax bracket — as during the 1990s — is a whole other issue.

    You may still think 39% is too high. Fine. We can debate that. But why invent a strawman to argue against?

    Ronald Reagan transformed American politics in a fundamental manner. No one is talking about going back to the 1970s — either in tax policy or in defense policy.

  19. Zukav says:

    Bithead wrote: Yeah, can’t have things like the economic growth lower tax rates bring, can we?

    No, what we can’t have is continuous tax cuts, “Stimulus Rebates”, a Trillion dollar war debt, and by the time it’s all said and done, a 2 Trillion+ dollar bailout. The only way out of that (short of pulling an Iceland and going belly up) is raising some taxes. Like Billy commented, American understands this and that’s why that McCain talking point isn’t resonating with people.

  20. anjin-san says:

    I am struck by how tightly the “spend, spend and go broke” Republicans cling to the notion that “tax and spend Democrats” is a catch-phrase that still has any traction.

  21. sam says:

    Despite Obama’s repeated assertions that he would only screw over 1 of us in 20

    Hmmm. Raising the marginal tax rate from 36% to 39% is quite a screwing over. I wish I made enough money to be screwed over like that. Of course if I was in that tax bracket, I could then hire a clever tax lawyer or accountant to make sure I never paid anywhere near that rate.

  22. Floyd says:

    “”Overall, mostly good news for Obama: People like him, trust him, and think he shares their values.””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Can ANYONE cite an election in which a tyrant or a dictator was freely elected by people who thought otherwise?
    I’m looking forward to Obama beating Kim in 18 holes! It’s bound to happen??….

    http://tinyurl.com/4nayon

  23. Billy says:

    It’s fascinating how people who actively and rabidly supported Bush – the president who has actively pursued torture, illegal partisan patronage and expulsion of government employees, extraordinary rendition, the suspension of habeas, illegal domestic wiretapping, spying on Americans abroad and at home, the undermining of free speech and press rights, the undermining of due process rights, the general trashing of the doctrine of separation of powers, the unilateral executive prerogative to ignore the law, and a general veil of unaccountability and secrecy on its own actions – discuss Obama as if he will be the tyrant.

  24. DC Loser says:

    Maybe they’ll all move to Colombia once Obama the tyrant is elected….we can only hope.

  25. I’m looking forward to Obama beating Kim in 18 holes! It’s bound to happen??….

    Judging by how badly he bowls, I suspect Kim would smoke him even after the stroke.

    Who else will be in this foursome? Will Kim and Obama invite Ahmadinajed? Or Hugo Chavez? Or maybe Putin? How about Osama bin Laden? He’s tall and lanky and probably a solid golfer.

    BTW, Floyd, your post doesn’t reek of desperation at all.

  26. James Joyner says:

    Or maybe, you know, because people realize that promises of a free lunch are unrealistic?

    Of course, Obama is promising one — for 19 in 20 people, anyway. He states, repeatedly, that the bottom 95 percent won’t have to pay any more. So, all the new spending will be paid for by “the rich.”

  27. Floyd says:

    It’s fascinating how people of limited comprehension can think that a rejection of Obama means an endorsement of Bush.
    What in the Fact that “Axelrod’s Puppet” is a vacuous A-hole,precludes Bush from being the same?

    Besides that; the hypothetical was a commentary on the projection of public image by the propagandists, not a slight of Obama himself.

    “” “Axelrod’s Puppet” is a vacuous A-hole,””
    Now THAT is a comment on the candidate himself!
    See if you can perceive the difference.

    Neither comment is an endorsement of Bush,who,BTW is not a candidate in this election anyway.

  28. Michael says:

    Of course, Obama is promising one — for 19 in 20 people, anyway. He states, repeatedly, that the bottom 95 percent won’t have to pay any more. So, all the new spending will be paid for by “the rich.”

    Yes, but it’s that one out of 20 that makes the difference. You can’t give all 20 people lunch without any of them paying, but you can give 20 people lunch with one of them paying.

  29. Rick Almeida says:

    Of course, Obama is promising one — for 19 in 20 people, anyway. He states, repeatedly, that the bottom 95 percent won’t have to pay any more.

    This is by no means a free lunch. Paying “no more” is not at all equal to “none.”

  30. Bithead says:

    No, what we can’t have is continuous tax cuts

    And a look at the income at the federal coffers seems to sugegst we’ve not had continuous tax cuts.

  31. James… look… can we be serious here. Just for a little bit.

    Obama’s tax cuts are relatively small in the aggregate since he does increase taxes on the wealthy. The average American will save like $200 a year under Obama, but that is because folks in the upper brackets will pay a lot more. McCain’s average tax cut is around $1200, but most of it goes to people making more than 250k. But the point is, McCain is start off with 6x more aggregate tax cuts.

    Now, Obama’s spending plan — the so-called $850 million in new spending. Let’s break it out a little. A bit less than 1/2 of that is his tax cuts… So… look… McCain is talking about roughly 3x more “new spending” than Obama by that measure. But it is a dumb measure. I hate calling tax cuts new spending.

    So, we’re left with $500 billion in “new spending” under Obama over 4 years. Some of that is, in fact, a free lunch, only because it is simply about reallocating where money comes from a goes. $350 billion — more or less — would go to Obama’s health care plan. But much of that money is ALREADY being spend — just not always by the government. It is being spent in higher premiums by health care plan holders and indirectly by anyone using health care due to the need to fund uninsured emergency care, etc. So yeah, in this case, we don’t have to invent new economic growth assumptions to off-set that money. It is money that is already being spent in the economy that he want to allocate more effeciently. You can debate whether his plan will do that… fair enough. But calling it outright new spending is simply wrong.

    Which leaves, something like $150-200 billion in real new spending — most of it on investing in new energy. Obama claims that will promote new green jobs and grow the economy. It may, but probably not since it is just moving funds around from one place to another. In all likelihood, achieving greater energy independence would have strategic benefits, but likely not that many economic ones.

    So… in short…. Obama is proposing about $50 billion a year in actual new spending and about $50 billion in tax cuts. McCain’s proposal is around $300 billion a year in tax cuts alone. McCain is very vague on actual spending cuts, and both candidate claim like $100 billion in various efficiency savings that will never materialize. McCain wants to freeze spending on like 10% of the budget, although even that is fuzzy. Give him the benefit of the doubt and between that and earmark reform, he squeezes $40billion a year out of the budget. So, Obama’s plan is $100billion a year out of whack, McCain’s $260 billion.

    You just can’t compare the two plans in terms of fiscal responsibility.

  32. Where does the money come from after you’ve eaten the rich?

  33. Floyd says:

    “But calling it outright new spending is simply wrong.”
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Bernard;
    Flawed logic, money not confiscated by government is likely to be spent anyway, so with the above logic, there can be no “new” spending at all.

    “New Spending” in this context actually refers to “new Government spending”, and don’t forget that there is nothing you can do for a dollar, that your government can’t do HALF as well for a thousand.

    So you contend that government spending your money on your behalf is eqivalent to you spending it for yourself, Why not then just have the government confiscate all income and let the them make all your decisions for you, since it would result in “no new spending”…..

    OH! That IS the ultimate plan???

    Shades of Roseanne Roseannadanna!!NEVERMIND!!

  34. Floyd… yes, that is a fair point in a way… except that a lot of it spend by the government in medicaid and other subsidies to hospitals and such.

    But you are right… part of Obama’s plan is to reduce your health care premiums and then increase government spending which will lead to new direct or indirect taxation.

    That said, it is not as if he is talking about taking productive resources from, say, job creating activities and diverting them to something else. He is just talking about pooling resources already spent, but spend badly, and making it more efficient.

    It is sort of how we pool resources to pay for a police force rather than each of us having to individually arm ourselves. Or pooling resources for fire departments rather than each of us investing in fire fighting equipment.

  35. Floyd says:

    Bernard;
    For 17 years I lived in a small town with a volunteer fire dept with the budget to maintain the trucks raised raised with a once a year pig roast. The nearest actual police were at the county seat 30 miles away. My real estate taxes on a decent house w/two outbuildings was $300.
    Just before we moved a new taxing body[A Fire Protection district]was formed, the spending for the fire dept went from $1100 to 180,000 per year in just three years. When I last talked with the new owner of our old house, the taxes had reached over $4000 about a 1200% increase in less than 10 years.
    There are still some who want to hire a police officer and buy a squad car. When I left the town, that purchase would have generated an immediate 300% village budget increase.
    So I guess it is rather like you describe.
    Be careful what you get for free, you may NEVER be able to pay it off![lol]

  36. I grew up in New York city, then lived in Boston and Washington DC. I assure you, a volunteer fire department and no police department would not have worked.

    Small towns are wonderful places… but most of the population of the United States lives in cities and an even larger percentage of our wealth as a nation is created in cities.

    And unfortunately, we can’t govern the whole country according to what works in a small town.

  37. G.A.Phillips says:

    It’s fascinating how people who actively and rabidly supported Bush – the president who has actively pursued torture, illegal partisan patronage and expulsion of government employees, extraordinary rendition, the suspension of habeas, illegal domestic wiretapping, spying on Americans abroad and at home, the undermining of free speech and press rights, the undermining of due process rights, the general trashing of the doctrine of separation of powers, the unilateral executive prerogative to ignore the law, and a general veil of unaccountability and secrecy on its own actions

    lol

  38. G.A.Phillips says:

    Oh and any one who thinks 0bama won that debate is not only drinking cool aid,but is also smoking a uberblunt of donkey pole.

  39. G.A.Phillips says:

    So… in short…. Obama is proposing about $50 billion a year in actual new spending and about $50 billion in tax cuts.

    lol!!!!!

  40. Floyd says:

    Bernard;

    So… we must govern a whole country by what obviously DOESN’T work in the cities??