Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 07:09 AM CDT
Barack Obama’s best debate — ever
But will it be enough to reverse the startling gains Mitt Romney has made in the past two weeks?
By Steve Kornacki
Barack Obama participated in a few debates during his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign and many, many more when he sought the presidency four years ago. His performance in these forums ranged from competent to forgettable to disappointing. There was also the debacle in Denver two weeks back. And then came last night, when Americans were introduced to a debate version of Obama they’d never before seen — a crisp, focused assertive president who refused to let his opponent’s critiques go unchallenged, answering them with forceful, orderly and digestible explanations. It was easily the best debate performance Obama has ever delivered — and I say this as someone who’s been a bit critical of him in the past.
But as strong as it was, it doesn’t necessarily follow that what Obama did at Hofstra will place him back in the driver’s seat he enjoyed just a few weeks ago, or if it will do anything to cut into the gains that Mitt Romney has made this month.
The insta-polls don’t offer a clear picture. A CBS News poll of undecided voters gave the debate edge to Obama, 37 to 30 percent. A CNN poll of all debate viewers put Obama up 46 to 39 (with CNN reporting — as it has before — that Republicans were over-represented in its sample by eight percent), and a PPP survey in Colorado gave Obama a four-point advantage among all voters, and 18 among independents. This is a huge improvement from Denver, obviously, but the margins aren’t exactly overwhelming. Based on these numbers, Romney certainly held his own.