At first blush, this looked like a repeat of last time, with CBS’s undecided voters calling it for Kerry by double digits and ABC’s all-voter sample calling it about even (Kerry up 42-41). That’s consistent with what I thought I saw.
(The ABC sample tilted heavily Republican, 38-30; independents in that sample broke for Kerry 42-35, and Democrats were more likely to think that Kerry won than Republicans were to think that Bush won, so ABC’s characterization of the results as a “draw” isn’t really right.)
But the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows a Kerry blow-out about the size of the first debate, the one that turned the election around:
Q. Who won tonight?
Candidate K B
2004 Oct 13 52 39 1 8 *
2004 Oct 8 47 45 1 7 *
2004 Sep 30 53 37 1 8 1
42% percent came away with a more favorable impression of Kerry, vs. 15 less favorable. For Bush, it was 27-17.
Kerry now has small edges on education and believability, though Bush came across as more likeable to 48 percent to Kerry’s 43%. Kerry is perceived not only as caring more about voters’ needs (53-41) but as more closely sharing their values (50-46). (I guess the “valuing families” line hit home.)
Kerry now leads 49-37 on who has the better understanding of the issues; that question was even after the first debate.
And Kerry has closed his personal “tax gap” to three points; Bush is favored on the tax issue 50-47, which has to be giving Karl Rove a bad night’s sleep.
Actually, these numbers are so good, compared to the ABC numbers and my own impression of what happened tonight, that I’m tempted to ask whether the baseball game skewed the sample. But if that’s not the case — if Gallup’s sample really reflects what the country saw tonight — then I’d better ask my friends in the Kerry campaign about tickets to the Inauguration.
(The Tradesports bettors aren’t as enthusiastic as I am, but Bush is down 4 points on the day to 55 and Kerry up 4 to 45.)
Update: Democracy Corps shows Kerry winning, 41-36. More important, it shows Kerry’s net favorability in the sample going from -2 to + 6, and Presidential preference among the debate-watchers (which isn’t the same as a horserace estimate) going from a 48-48 tie before to 50-47 Kerry after. (Since it’s the same group being interviewed twice, that represents change, not just sampling variation.)