Who Won the Debate?

| Sun Sep. 28, 2008 12:53 PM PDT

WHO WON THE DEBATE?....A non-snap poll done on Saturday suggests that Barack Obama really did win Friday's debate:

A new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows 46% of people who watched Friday night's presidential debate say Democrat Barack Obama did a better job than Republican John McCain; 34% said McCain did better.

....The poll suggested the debate was to some extent a wash for McCain: 21% of those who watched say it gave them a more favorable view of him, 21% say less favorable and 56% say it didn't change their opinion much.

Three in 10 said their opinion of Obama became more favorable after seeing the debate, compared to 14% who said less favorable and 54% who said it didn't make much difference.

Polls done on weekends are tricky, and "winning" debates doesn't always translate into a tangible advantage. Still, it's notable that a significant number of people who were apparently unsure about Obama before the debate now see him in a favorable light. That's a big deal, since being taken seriously is the biggest hurdle for a younger, less-experienced candidate to get over.

And while we're at it, here's the RealClear Politics poll average, which doesn't yet account for any possible bump Obama might have gotten from the debate. As of this morning, they have him 4.8 points ahead.

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