It has been a hard day for us few and far between Americans who think a little outside the box. Conventional Wisdom has become a freight train smashing us all into submission about last night’s first debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Obama stumbled, Romney has re-set the race, revenge of the Etch-A-Sketch you name it the punditocracy has spoken. Well, not all of the punditocracy picked up a ticket for the Conventional Wisdom Express ™. I think Barack Obama did well in the debates, Mitt Romney just did better, and the gap between their two performances and the ultimate impact of these debates is not is not nearly as wide and far reaching as most analysts think. And apparently most voters agree.
Instant polls after a debate are good for one thing, assessing who “won” the debate, but last night it was pretty clear that most Americans, despite the declared victory on Romney’s behalf didn’t know who won. How do we know this? Because the third most googled phrase right after last night’s debate was “Who won the Presidential Debate” (the 4th was Big Bird). What’s that tell us? That even after a “resounding victory” on Romney’s behalf, and a lot of whining and crying by Democrats most people who actually watched the debate still didn’t know how they actually felt when it was all said and done. If I’m Googling “Was Judge Dredd a good movie” as soon as the lights go up I probably don’t really know if the flick was good or not and I’m looking for some type of validation. However the more telling part of the post – debate was clear this morning in the CNN polling, something I pointed out on Headline News with Robin Meade this morning.
After the debate 35% of viewers polled said they were more likely to vote for Mitt Romney, 18% said they were more likely to vote for Barack Obama and 47% said that the debates didn’t change their mind one bit. Wow, 47%….47%… now where have we heard that number before? That’s right NOW I remember it was all right in front of us, laid out like a 50,000 a plate dinner. The same group of people that Mitt said were pathetic and unimportant have also not been swayed by what was by far his best performance in almost 5 years of running for president. That is more ironic than Joe Biden having to come to Obama’s political rescue in next week’s debate.
So if the race may not have changed most people’s minds, and we don’t know what the state level shifts might be, is this debate a game changer? I’ll end with a quote from a good friend of mine. “Just because the Braves lose a game does not mean all their fans start rooting for the Mets. Obama lost a game, it’s not the whole season.” The race is no more over now than it was two weeks ago when Romney was in the tank. Let’s not forget that 47% of the public hasn’t been swayed by anything.