White House ’08: Edge to Obama?

Analysis by Chris Graham

The early polls conducted in the aftermath of the first presidential debate held Friday night give Barack Obama the edge, though it came across to me as probably about as close to a draw as it could have been.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey had 51 percent of those surveyed saying they thought Obama did the better job in the debate, with 38 percent saying John McCain did better. A CBS Insta Poll had Obama winning 39 percent to 25 percent for McCain. Insider Advantage had it closer, 42 percent for Obama and 41 percent for McCain. MediaCurves.com polled independent voters and had that voter group favoring Obama as the winner by a 61 percent-to-38 percent margin.

My take is that the debate was a draw, with Obama taking Round 1 on economic issues and McCain winning on points in the foreign-policy round. I think the explanation for the poll numbers showing Obama to be the winner overall is more a reflection of the mood of the electorate right now. Obama has anywhere from a five- to nine-point lead in the national polls right now, and my thought during and after the debate last night and again upon reflecting on things this morning is that he probably was effective in convincing his supporters and those in the independent camp leaning his way that he would be a solid leader and commander-in-chief. I also think this morning that McCain was just as effective in portraying himself as a strong leader to his supporters and those independents leaning his way.

A draw, then, in this case goes to the guy who is ahead in the polls.

That’s my story, anyway, and for now, I’m sticking to it.

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