We're now seeing voter reaction following last Friday's debate in the form of public opinion polls performed over the weekend and the result is that Obama is staying even or moving ahead. In no instance that I've found do any of the polls show McCain gaining ground. Here's a poll highlight roundup courtesy of ABC News, and CNN.
- A majority of debate watchers in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Saturday picked Obama over Republican John McCain when asked which candidate offered the best proposals to solve the country's problems, 52%-35%. They said Obama did better overall in the debate than McCain, 46%-34%.
- Obama was the only national leader or institution with a net positive rating on handling the Wall Street crisis in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday and Saturday -- 46% approved, 43% disapproved. For McCain, the numbers were 37% approve, 58% disapprove.
- Four national tracking polls Sunday showed Obama with leads of 5 to 8 percentage points over McCain. The Gallup version had the largest margin, 50%-42%. All four tracking polls are based on three-night averages, so Sunday's results were the first to include interviews after the debate.
- Saturday's USA TODAY poll [...] suggest McCain did not lose or gain ground: 21% said the debate gave them a more favorable view of him, 21% said less favorable and 56% said it didn't change their opinion much. By contrast, 30% said their opinion of Obama became more favorable after seeing the debate, compared with 14% who said less favorable and 54% who said it didn't make much difference.
- In particular, the debate had a positive impact for Obama on handling the economy; 34% said they had more confidence in him to fix economic problems after seeing the debate, while 26% said they had less. For McCain, 37% reported having less confidence, and 23% said they had more.
- Women in the poll gave Obama a 30-point advantage on ideas for change and a 20-point edge on doing a better job in the debate. Men were more evenly divided, with a slight tilt toward McCain on both questions. Independents said Obama did a better job, 43%-33%.
- Though half the debate focused on national defense and foreign policy, McCain's strong suit, neither man dominated. About a third of viewers said the debate gave them more confidence in each on that front; slightly less in each case said it gave them less confidence.
- The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey showed that 51 % of those polled thought Obama did the better job in Friday night's debate, while 38 percent said McCain did better.
- Men were nearly evenly split between the two candidates in the CNN poll, with 46 percent giving the win to McCain and 43 percent to Obama. But women voters tended to give Obama higher marks, with 59 percent calling him the night's winner, while just 31 percent said McCain won.
- Obama also leads McCain in a CBS News/New York Times Poll of 500 uncommitted voters taken just after the debate. Thirty-nine percent felt that Obama won, while 24 % gave it to McCain and 37% called it a tie.
- Sixty-six percent of those polled thought Obama would make the right decisions on the economy, while only 42% said the same about McCain. On Iraq, McCain won by 56% to 48%, reflecting divisions over the war and lingering doubts about Obama's readiness to be commander-in-chief.
- Nearly half, 46%, said their opinion of Obama had improved; only 32% said the same about McCain -- and 21% said their view of the Republican had worsened, compared with 8% for Obama.
- CNN's latest poll of polls shows the Democratic nominee with a 4 point advantage over his Republican rival. Obama has the support of 47 percent of voters to McCain's 43 percent, with and 10 percent unsure about their choice for president. In CNN's previous poll of polls, released Wednesday night, Obama was ahead by 5 points - 49 percent versus 44 percent. Thursday's national general election poll of polls is comprised of the following four surveys: Marist (September 22-23), Fox News/Opinion Dynamics (September 22-23), Gallup (September 22-24), and Diageo/Hotline (September 22-24).
It should be noted that following the 2004 Presidential debates John Kerry was deemed the winner of the debates, and he then went on to lose the election.
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