The Final Presidential Debate: Obama Overwhelms McCain by Huge Margins

The Final Presidential Debate: Obama Overwhelms McCain by Huge Margins

Barack Obama Sweeps Post-Debate Polls

The New York Times gives interested readers a detailed review of last night’s third presidential debate between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, as well as a transcript of the debate. In addition, the Times provides a video of the debate.

A new CBS News/New York Times poll showed that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama entered the debate with a wide lead over Republican rival John McCain nationally. According to that poll, the Obama-Biden ticket now leads the McCain-Palin ticket 53 percent to 39 percent among likely voters, a 14-point margin. Just one week ago, prior to the Town Hall debate that uncommitted voters saw as a win for Obama, that margin was just three points.

Further, among independents who are likely voters, a group that has swung back and forth between McCain and Obama over the course of the campaign, the Democratic ticket now leads by 18 points. McCain led among independents last week. It appears that McCain’s campaign strategy is hurting hurt him: Twenty-one percent of voters say their opinion of the Republican has changed for the worse in the last few weeks. The top two reasons cited for the change of heart are McCain’s attacks on Obama and his choice of Sarah Palin as running mate.

A number of post-debate polls have concluded that Obama trounced McCain by wide margins in the debate. Early results in the CBS News and Knowledge Network’s national poll of uncommitted voters after last night’s debate found that fifty-three percent of the uncommitted voters surveyed identified Democratic nominee Barack Obama as the winner of tonight’s debate. Only twenty-two percent said that Republican rival John McCain won. Twenty-four percent said the debate was a draw.

The Huffington Post surveyed some other post-debate polls. A CNN poll of several hundred debate watchers favored Obama by large margins: 58 percent for Obama to McCain’s 31 percent. Perhaps more importantly, McCain’s favorable rating dropped from 51 to 49 while his unfavorable rating increased from 45 percent to 49 percent. Senator Obama ended up with a 66 percent favorable rating.

Meanwhile, virtually the entire Frank Luntz focus group on Fox News, which was held last night in Miami, said that Barack Obama had won the debate. Luntz termed it a “clear majority,” but not one person raised their hand when asked if they thought McCain had won. Said Luntz: “None had made a decision to support Sen. Obama before the debate, but more than half supported him after the debate. It was a good night for Barack Obama.”

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