James Carville said on CNN that if this debate last night had been a Little League game (I have a lot of experience on those fields) they would have called it after four innings, due to the “mercy rule.” That’s when one team is more than ten runs ahead.
That’s only a slight exaggeration. In my view, it was as clear an Obama win as the first debate was for Romney. One difference: GOPers and Fox did not admit that, as Dems and MSNBC did in the first instance.
Now to what really (sort of) matters, the post-debate polling.
CNN’s national poll of voters who watched gave it to Obama 48 percent to 40 percent—and once again CNN quietly admitted the sample skewed GOP. In previous polls, the skew was about 8 percent GOP (see final paragraph below). Obama won the previous debate by about the same margin. Without GOP skew, the edge would have been much bigger. CNN, of course, did not highlight that little detail.
First instant poll, and most valid, from CBS, with 521 undecided voters, scientific sample: big win for Obama, 53 percent—23 percent, with 24 percent claiming tie. Margin of error: 4 percent. CBS poll after first debate: Romney wins by 24 points. CBS poll after third debate: Obama wins by 30 points. But you won’t see many stories about passive Romney failing to prep or wake up.
A PPP poll of swing state voters: Obama won the debate 53-42.
By the way, a new CBS poll tonight on the national race gave Obama the lead 48 percent to 46 percent. A Washington Post/ABC poll earlier today had Obama up 1 percent. So the Gallup is truly an outlier. Nate Silver at The New York Times has full review of the latest polls here. Again he says election will come down to Ohio. Also: to Ohio. And: to Ohio. NBC now sees only seven "battleground" states, with Nevada going to Obama.
For updates on post-debate reactions all day Tuesday, go here.
As for TV pundit reaction: Even some conservatives, such as David Gergen, said Obama “won on points” but then claimed Romney “passed commander-in-chief test.” Gergen called it Romney’s “weakest” debate but still, somehow, it proved he could be president. If being out of your depth was a qualification, perhaps.
Rachel Maddow went ballistic vs. Romney on changing position again on Afghan war. Calls it “disqualifying.” Don’t hold your breath waiting for media to hit Romney on the many flip-flops, but instead many will praise him for becoming more “moderate.”
Senator Rob Portman in spin room: “Romney if anything seemed more ready to be commander-in-chief.” Charles Krauthammer said this debate probably will make Romney president. But wanted him to be more “bellicose.” Karl Rove on Fox complained to Greta’s third face that Obama said he “took a shot at bin Laden”—no, SEALs shot him, Karl “corrects” him.
As for the limited issues raised, we bring you Charles P. Pierce: "A discussion of foreign policy that did not mention climate change. (Four debates and nary a mention. Somebody else is going to have to tell the polar bears.) A discussion of foreign policy that mentioned teacher's unions exactly as many times — once — as it mentioned the Palestinians, and I am not making that statistic up. A discussion of foreign policy that did not mention hunger, or thirst, or epidemic disease, but spent better than ten minutes on The Fking Deficit. (Here Romney cited in defense of his position that noted political economist, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.)"
By the way, Bob Schieffer was awful. Another thumping for old white men. Biggest winners of the year so far: female debate moderators. I’ll be updating post-debate reactions all day Tuesday, you can go here.
For more debate coverage, <a data-cke-saved-href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/170747/foreign-policy-really-foreign-mitt-romney" href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/170747/foreign-policy-really-foreign-mitt-romney" read="" john="" nichols="" on="" mitt="" romney's="" foreign="" policy="" ineptitude.