All the relevant statistical data is saying Barack Obama won the debate, whatever else the ‘experts’ and blogosphere say.
TPM has the internals of the CNN poll of debate-watchers, which had Obama winning overall by a margin of 51-38. The poll suggests that Obama is opening up a gap on connectedness, while closing a gap on readiness.
Specifically, by a 62-32 margin, voters thought that Obama was “more in touch with the needs and problems of people like you”. This is a gap that has no doubt grown because of the financial crisis of recent days. But it also grew because Obama was actually speaking to middle class voters. Per the transcript, McCain never once mentioned the phrase “middle class” (Obama did so three times). And Obama’s eye contact was directly with the camera, i.e. the voters at home. McCain seemed to be speaking literally to the people in the room in Mississippi, but figuratively to the punditry. It is no surprise that a small majority of pundits seemed to have thought that McCain won, even when the polls indicated otherwise; the pundits were his target audience.
Even a Fox News focus group of undecided voters plumped for Obama, citing the exact same reasons:
This suggests McCain’s in deep trouble. His decision to ‘suspend’ his campaign was a disaster, the growing financial crisis isn’t playing to his advantage in any way, his temper is flaring and Sarah Palin’s interviews with Katie Couric have been lambasted by friend and foe alike as worse than risible. Even conservative commentator Kathleen Parker said:
Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.
So the question has been that if McCain dumped the only selling point his campaign has ever had (or somehow pulled her back from the front line), how on earth could he win? What new stunt could his train wreck of a campaign try in order to regain media prominence? Today the hints began:
In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.
Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”
It’s about the last possible, underhanded, pointless charade of a stunt they can pull to try to take the country’s attention off the disaster that is the McCain/Palin ticket. Given that all their recent stunts have backfired, it makes you wonder how successful it really would be though. One of these videos is real, the other one is a fake. Can you tell which is which, and then tell me either way whether you think Sarah Palin is a remotely acceptable candidate for Vice President or potential President?
My feeling is that short of a national or world disaster between now and November 4th, Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States.