Two Days Later, Obama Won the Debate Even More

Yesterday, Josh Marshall put up this post, about Friday night’s debate:

In my initial reaction last night, I wrote that while I thought the debate was basically a draw, that amounted to a narrow win for Obama since foreign policy is supposed to be John McCain’s forte. Now, after half a day, with more time to think about it and the benefit of seeing initial polling data and surveying other people’s reactions, I’m only confirmed in that view.

In fact, I think it was a much bigger win for Obama than I was ready to figure last night. And that’s for two basic reasons.

First, the pattern in the 2000 and 2004 presidential debates was essentially this: the Democrat generally won each debate on points and even in the snap polls of undecided voters. But there was usually some remark or bit of affect that — ludicrous or not — right-wing commentators and yakkers fixed in on and were able to parlay into the dominating conversation of the next few days. In this way, strong debate performances turned into weak debate performances.

I’m not seeing anything like that this time. Mainly that’s because Obama just didn’t make any mistakes. But I suspect it’s also because there’s now more meta-media parity between right and left.

Second was McCain’s attitude. Whether it was contempt or condescension or some sort of fear or inability to — in the most literal sense — face Obama, it made McCain look small and angry. I apologize that I can’t link to them because I don’t remember who wrote it. But as someone wrote after the debate, for that kind of attitude to have ‘worked’ for McCain, Obama needed to come off as completely ignorant and unprepared. And I don’t think even his harshest critics believe that is what happened. Roll it all together and Obama just seemed like a bigger person than McCain. And in a race in which the issue agenda and party identification already work strongly in Obama’s favor, that’s an advantage that is very hard for McCain to give up.

A USA Today/Gallup Poll out today confirms Josh’s perceptions:

A new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows 46% of people who watched Friday night’s presidential debate say Democrat Barack Obama did a better job than Republican John McCain; 34% said McCain did better.

Obama scored even better — 52%-35% — when debate-watchers were asked which candidate offered the best proposals for change to solve the country’s problems.

Gallup Daily for Thursday through Saturday shows Obama with an 8-point lead over McCain. This period reflects initial post-debate reaction, but tomorrow’s poll (which will release on Tuesday) will give a more complete picture:

These results, from Sept. 25-27, span the time period since John McCain made the announcement that he was temporarily suspending his campaign and returning to Washington to work for a bipartisan solution to the financial crisis, and since Congressional leaders first announced progress towards the resolution of a financial bailout bill. The results also include one complete day (Saturday) after the first presidential debate on Friday night. McCain had reached a point where he was tied with Obama earlier in the week, but Obama has gained steadily in each of the last three days’ reports. Overall, Obama has gained four percentage points over the last three days, while McCain has lost four points, for an eight-point swing in the “gap” or margin.

The full impact of the debate and its aftermath will not be reflected in the tracking data until Tuesday’s report, which will be based on interviewing conducted Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Still, Gallup’s one-day read on the standing of the two candidates on Saturday suggests that Obama held the lead over McCain among registered voters that night, just as he had for the two previous nights.

6 Responses to “Two Days Later, Obama Won the Debate Even More”

  1. DNC + RNC = ROT says:

    Spoil what? Waste what? Steal what?

    Barack Obama we do not doubt your intelligence. To be an effective leader one must also display honesty, compassion, & guts. Stand with Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, & Cynthia McKinney. NOT John McCain. Your choice – your move.

  2. tas says:

    You forgot Bob Barr. And Ron Paul, is he even running for anything anymore? Should people just debate Ron Paul just because?

  3. ChenZhen says:

    It was pretty telling that the only criticism coming at Obama from places like Malkin and Fox & Friends was that bracelet scene. That’s all they got? He looked at his bracelet?

    Certainly evidence that Obama performed well.

  4. Jake Crawford says:

    This just in from AP. After their latest difficulty with their ability to avoid stalls and create spin recovery, the Republicans have asked VP debate committee for the questions to be changed from a multiple choice to a true or false format.

  5. Ralph Nader, Ron Paul and Bob Bar are all wasted votes. This isn’t to say I disagree with their stance and ideas, but American isn’t ready for them…

    First Obama then bring up more progressive politicians.

  6. radical_Moderate says:

    One mistake that Obama DID make, and I can see why Conservatives didn’t jump on it, LOL, is that he said that McCain’s Health Care plan would tax the Employer. on what he pays toward providing health insurance for his workers..which is wrong, it is Labor’s benefits that McCain will tax; we need to remember that McCain’s stealth goal in his tax credit scheme is to “unburden” employers from having to provide health care for their workers, McCain hides this goal by saying that he wants Americans to take control of their own health care, but to achieve this goal he offers meager tax credits that will probably work for the young and healthy, but are woefully underfunded to help those of us who are older, and have pre-exsisting conditions. I invite my fellow progressives to point out this outrageous tax hike on any blog, or in any conversation, where someone claims that it is Obama that will raise taxes on the Middle-Class.

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