A new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows 46% of people who watched Friday night’s presidential debate say Democrat Barack Obama fared better than Republican John McCain, who received 34% of the vote.
Obama won 52%-35% when viewers were asked which candidate offered the best proposals for change to solve the country’s problems. 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.
More than one-third of viewers, or 37%, said they had less confidence in McCain to fix economic problems after seeing the debate; 23% said more. For Obama, the survey results were 34% more confidence, 26% less.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey showed that 51 % of those polled thought Obama did the better job in Friday night’s debate, while 38 percent said McCain did better.
Men were nearly evenly split between the two candidates in the CNN poll, with 46 percent giving the win to McCain and 43 percent to Obama. But women voters tended to give Obama higher marks, with 59 percent calling him the night’s winner, while just 31 percent said McCain won.
Obama also leads McCain in a CBS News/New York Times Poll of 500 uncommitted voters taken just after the debate. Thirty-nine percent felt that Obama won, while 24 % gave it to McCain and 37% called it a tie.
Sixty-six percent of those polled thought Obama would make the right decisions on the economy, while only 42% said the same about McCain. On Iraq, McCain won by 56% to 48%, reflecting divisions over the war and lingering doubts about Obama’s readiness to be commander-in-chief.
Nearly half, 46%, said their opinion of Obama had improved; only 32% said the same about McCain — and 21% said their view of the Republican had worsened, compared with 8% for Obama.
The vice presidential debate between Republican Gov. Sarah Palin and Democratic Sen. Joe Biden will take place on Thursday (Oct. 2) at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. The next two presidential debates will be held Oct. 7 at Belmont University in Nashville (in a town hall format), and Oct. 15 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY (with a focus on domestic policy).
Meanwhile, the Obama campaign has a new video that gives viewers a taste of how a McCain victory would feel following a hypothetical Election Day vote of 51 percent to 49 percent in the Republican’s favor. The narrow margin of victory is supposed to underscore the importance of voting on Nov. 4.
The video guides viewers to www.VoteforChange.com, an Obama campaign Web site that anyone can use to check their registration status, request an absentee ballot, or find their polling station. The clip features a mock MSNBC newscast with the captions “John McCain elected 44th president” and “Voter turnout lower than expected” mixed with video footage of a smiling McCain addressing a crowd. [View clip below.]