Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Debate, Two Days Out

With a couple days to reflect back on the debate, as well as the live-blog, some thoughts:

First off, in re-reading the debate post, some of my responses needed to include more about what I was responding to. If I may get a little racial, some of my comments were like an audience at, say, Barbershop: "There you go!", "mhmm", "that's right!". I don't know, is that what our African American brethren say in movie theaters? It's what I imagine they do.

In 1980, before his debates with Jimmy Carter, lots of voters thought Reagan was a right-wing nutjob. Which, of course, he was. But at the debates he managed to convince people that he had sufficient temperament and knowledge for the job. At Friday's debate, Obama met this same threshold. While he probably did, on balance, lose the 2nd half of the debate after the focus switched to foreign policy, he managed to make himself at least on the same level as John McCain. After the debates in 1980, a close race became a bowout after the "new" candidate established himself as qualified and mainstream. I'm cautiously optimistic that we might be heading for a similar scenario now. Obama had a 3 point jump today in the Gallup tracking poll, which is a three-day rolling average of telephone polls. So a 3 point, one-day jump means that Obama's one-day lead over McCain in phone surveys done yesterday (after the debate) was 9 points (!!!) higher than his lead over McCain on Wednesday, the day which fell out of the 3-day average.

I think I might've explained the Gallup thing rather poorly... Take home message, Obama's ahead by much more today than he was before the debate and McCain's pseudo-suspension.

A preview of the VP debate preview: expectations for Sarah Palin are just about as low as they could possibly be, so it wouldn't take much for her to declare "victory".

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