Thursday, October 16, 2008

Snap Polls: Obama Trounces McCain, 3-0

Remember in previous elections when the "spin room" reigned supreme? It was a room where all the talking heads and advocates for either candidate gathered, spinning the debate like crazy to spread the meme that their candidate won. Well, it looks like focus groups and snap polls have killed the spin room, and to that I say good riddance.

It's great to hear from the voting public given that it's their opinion that matters, anyway. It's also great to see what they think before they're exposed to the opinion of partisan pundits who, in this instance, will madly try to spin this debate as a win for McCain (I'm looking at you, Bill Bennett and Pat Buchanan).

The funny thing too, was that the reverse seemed to have happened: the snap polls appeared to have tempered the reaction of the talking pundits who desperately want to make this a horse race than it really is, lest they appear to have totally read the debate wrong and fall flat on their face.

It was also irritating to see the likes of CNN's John King pooh pooh the poll results, saying that they were unfairly eschewed towards Dems (they're not) and that results were tainted because respondents are too emotional after the debate. Well too bad for you, John King, the people have spoken. They don't give a crap what you think and they certainly don't like you telling them what to think, thank you very much.

First off, both CNN and CBS's snap polls show Obama pwned John McCain in the last debate:

The results over at CBS show Obama to have scored the biggest victory to date: "Fifty-three percent of the uncommitted voters surveyed identified Democratic nominee Barack Obama as the winner of tonight's debate. Twenty-two percent said Republican rival John McCain won. Twenty-four percent saw the debate as a draw."

It is, the site writes, "a clean sweep" for the Illinois Democrat.

Over at CNN, a separate poll of several hundred debate watchers again favored the Democrat by large margins: 58 percent for Obama to McCain's 31 percent. Perhaps more importantly, McCain's favorable rating dropped 51 to 49 while his unfavorable rating increased from 45 percent to 49 percent. Obama ended up with 66 percent favorable rating.

Digging into the details the news is even worse for the Arizona Republican.

Asked who "expressed his views more clearly" 66 percent said Obama, 25 percent said McCain. "Who spent their time attacking his opponent:" 80 percent said McCain, seven percent said Obama. "Who seemed to be the stronger leader:" 56 percent for Obama, 39 percent for McCain. And who was "more likeable:" 70 percent for Obama to McCain's 22 percent.
There was also Stan Greenberg's focus group:

In politics it is generally not considered a good sign when voters are laughing at you, not with you. And by the end of the third and last presidential debate, the undecided voters who had gathered in Denver for Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg’s focus group were “audibly snickering” at John McCain’s grimaces, eye-bulging, and repeated references to “Joe the Plumber.”

The group of 50 uncommitted voters should have at least been receptive to McCain—Republicans and Independents outnumbered Democrats in the group by almost 4 to 1, and they started the evening with much warmer responses to McCain than to his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama. But by the time it was all over, so few of them had declared their support for McCain that there weren’t enough for Greenberg to separate them into a post-debate focus group. Meanwhile, the Obama supporters had to assemble in two different rooms to keep their discussion groups manageable.
Ouch.

In addition, focus groups from CBS, CNN and even Faux News confirmed the same thing:

Meanwhile, virtually the entire Frank Luntz focus group on Fox News, which was staged tonight in Miami, said that Barack Obama won the debate. Luntz termed it a "clear majority," but not one person raised their hand when asked if they thought McCain 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."
Here is a compilation video showing snippets from all three:


These are of course, devastating results for John McCain, considering that several polls showed him trailing Obama by double digits right before the debates. A tie wasn't enough; he needed to win this and convince independents and undecideds to vote for him. Instead, he lost the debate and lost it big.

More reactions at Memeorandum.

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posted at 11:38:00 AM by Wonky Muse

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