First poll results: Obama wins

Not spectacular, but solid. Obama obviously did better than hold his own. Sleep well.

Per CBS:

500 uncommitted voters


39% Obama

24% McCAin

37% draw

Opinion of Obama improved: 46%

Opinion of McCain improved: 32%

Would make right decisions about economy:

Obama: 66%

McCain: 42%

Would make right decisions about Iraq:

Obama 48%

McCain 56%


Southern political report, 411 undecideds, 42/41 for Obama.

Mark Halperin, speaking for the substance-free, process-obsessed, meta-meta-meta part of the commentariat, gives Obama an A- and McCain a B-.

TNR says the Luntz and Greenberg focus groups went heavily for Obama.

TPM has a CNN poll of debate watchers showing a big win for Obama:

Debate winner 51/38

Handle economy best 58/37

Handle terrorism best 45/49

Handle financial crisis best 54/36

Handle Iraq best 52/47

More intelligent 55/30

Expressed views more clearly 53/36

More sincere and authentic: 46/38

Stronger leader: 49/43

More likeable 61/26

More in touch with your needs and problems: 62/32

60% thought McCain spent more time attacking his opponent, v. 23% Obama.

Able to handle the job:

Obama 69% Yes – 29% No

McCain 68% Yes -30% No

To repeat myself: my analysis of the campaign overall is that this is 1980 in reverse: the voters are sick of Republican rule, not impressed with McCain, really not impressed with Palin, and have been waiting to see whether Barack Obama looks enough like a President to take a flutter on. If that’s the right analysis, then tonight was a huge triumph: Obama at least held his own with McCain on what is supposed to be McCain’s turf.

Yes, I was hoping that McCain would really McGovernize himself. He still might, but he didn’t do so tonight. But he doesn’t have to in order for Obama to score a solid win on Election Day. The actual human voters saw on the stage tonight simply was not the unprepared, naive, vague, irresponsible, un-American crook and fake messiah the Republicans have been trying to describe to them.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: