Monday, September 29, 2008

USA Today/Gallup Poll: Obama Won Debate, Gained Support

Yet another poll is showing that Americans believe Barack Obama bested John McCain in the first presidential debate Friday night and, more importantly, the survey suggests Obama picked up more support from the debate than did McCain.

A USA Today/Gallup Poll taken Saturday shows that 46 percent of those who watched the debate say Obama did a better job than McCain, with 34 percent saying McCain performed better.

But in a few key metrics in this election about change, Obama came out ahead including the majority feeling that Obama is the most likely to make positive change happen. Poll results show that 52 percent of respondents believe that Obama "offered the best proposals for change to solve the country's problems" with McCain coming in with only 35 percent.

Thirty percent of debate watchers said they came away with a more favorable image of Barack Obama, while only 21 percent said that they developed a more favorable image of McCain. Another 21 percent say they got a less favorable image of McCain as a result of the debate, while only 14 percent said the same about Obama.

And in a debate that was initially supposed to focus on foreign policy, but that devoted the first half to the economy due to the extreme turmoil on Wall Street, Obama came away with the better marks there as well. Debate viewers ended up with more confidence in Obama's ability to deal with the economic problems facing the country
(34 percent), rather than less confidence (26 percent) as a result of the debate. McCain had a net loss in that category with 23 percent developing more confidence in his ability to deal with the economy and 37 percent losing confidence.

To me, the take away from this and all the other polls showing Obama prevailing is cautious optimism. Democrats almost always have the smarter candidate and the better debater -- but that clearly doesn’t mean we always win.

But at the very least, it looks as if Obama may have gained even more ground on McCain and in what could be a tight election that's a great result.