UNDECIDEDS: OBAMA, SURPRISINGLY, IS NOT SATAN
McCain had gains in favorability after the debate, but Obama had huge gains, according to a CBS poll of undecideds:
Nearly half of those uncommitted voters who watched the debate said that their image of Obama changed for the better as a result. Just eight percent say their opinion of Obama got worse, and 46 percent reported no change in their opinions.
The same was true in Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg's focus group of undecideds, most of whom were '04 Bush supporters:
Obama went from a 6-point net favorability to plus-45, a shift of 39 points that placed him higher than McCain at the end of the debate (69% versus 62%).
Why? Well, the GOP playbook has one play in it: Make your opponent seem scary and dangerous and utterly unfit to serve. The Republicans have had quite a bit of success in doing that to Obama. (They would have run the same play against Hillary Clinton or John Edwards or Biden or Richardson or Dodd or whatever candidate emerged from the primaries, and they would have kept running it until they'd done serious damage.)
Alas for them, the real Obama is a hell of a lot more impressive than his caricature. He's prepared. He's sharp as a tack. He's gracious but persistent. And he's not a secret-Muslim-whitey-hating-flag-non-pledger.
If you set the bar in the gutter, don't give your opponent a chance to jump over it, because he'll clear it by a mile.