Post-Debate Spin & Assessment

The MSM reaction is similar to though a bit stronger than in the second debate: Obama won, but Mitt got another high-profile chance to repeat his “economic referendum” rap and reassure swing voters he isn’t determined to go to war with Iran or stick around in Afghanistan.

GOP spinners say Mitt did enough. They are definitely playing the “Mitt’s already winning” and/or “Mitt has Big Mo” cards.

The CBS snap poll of uncommitted voters (which gave Mitt a 24-point margin in the first debate) went to Obama by a 53-23 margin tonight.

CNN’s snap poll of all debate viewers (and this time they acknowledged this sample skews Republican) showed Obama winning 48-40. And PPP’s, which covered swing state viewers, showed Obama winning 53-42.

So taken as a whole, with Biden winning the Veep debate (though marginally) and Obama winning two of three presidential debates (the “rubber match” pretty clearly), the question now is whether that first debate gave Romney a decisive, irreversible advantage, either by carrying Romney across some “acceptability” threshold for “wrong track” undecided voters or by exciting conservatives beyond all reality.

If the answer is “no,” Obama’s in pretty good shape going into the last two weeks, assuming the Democratic GOTV “ground game” is as good as advertised. Certainly Romney did nothing tonight to attract voters not already inclined to back him.

Back early tomorrow to assess the debate and the reaction more carefully. Again, feel free to give your own assessment in the comment thread.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.