07 October 2008

Thoughts on the Second Presidential Debate

Watching CNN.

The hyper-distracting graph at the bottom of the screen seems to plummet when the speaker shifts from Obama to McCain. Sadly, the viewers’ responses seem, largely, to flatline when McCain speaks (although I could be noting it at the "wrong" times). Obama seems to be a hit with CNN’s focus group tonight.

I’m feeling a bit sorry for McCain tonight; although the town hall format favors him, that he’s alongside Obama. . .well. I felt this way when, after McCain spoke at a car plant in Michigan, a crowd of workers saw him out the door with a chant of “Obama Oh-Eight” (I really did used to like McCain. A lot).

Obama’s running overtime doesn’t look good. And I didn't like his "just trying to keep up with John" in response to Brokaw's attempt to check him. He seemed way close to losing that much celebrated cool demeanor.

McCain’s snark (“that one”?) doesn't look good. Sadly, his repetition of “I can do this. I know how to do this” is, well, repetitive. And it seems pleading--plaintive--rather than confident or reassuring.

McCain's comment about "on the job training"? As Sullivan points out, this is simply foolish. McCain chose Palin to be "a heartbeat away."

Can we just please drop the word “fundamental” and its variants?

In many ways, tonight’s debate seems more contentious than the first debate, but this is probably a result of the town hall format.

"I don't know what the unexpected will be"? Senator McCain, join the rest of us.

Nothing new is being said. We all know this material already (some of us have it as well committed to memory as the candidates themselves).

It's no surprise how pundits will play this (Libs= Obama won; Cons= McCain won). But, for the people, is this a game changer for McCain?

Doubtful. Very doubtful.

1. The Detroit/chant event occurred on 17 September.

2. On McCain's reference to "that one": It was a condescending, contemptuous dismissal of Obama. It wasn't racist. Regardless, it gave the public a watercooler topic that McCain might well regret.

3. Post-debate polls are calling it for Obama. From the Kansas City Star's poll of polls:
SurveyUSA shows polls from California and Washington. Obama won the debate in California voters' eyes 56% to 26. In Washington Obama wins the poll of those who watched the debate 54% to 29.
[. . . .]
MediaCurves in a poll of 1001 people reports that Republicans thought McCain won the debate 68 to 20; Democrats thought Obama won the debate 84 to 10; Independents thought Obama won the debate 52 to 34.
[. . . .]
VERY early poll results from CNN show Obama winning the 2nd debate 54 to 30.

CNN also reported that a CBS poll of undecided voters showed an Obama advantage of 39 to McCain's 27, remaining voters unchanged.

It's noteworthy that the major polls continue to shift (Obama's dropped a bit from last week's RCP average of 5.8: he's at 4.9 today). A chunk of the electorate remains uncertain. Obama has yet to lock it all down.

No comments: