Obama Looked More Presidential
by Jonathan Singer, Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 04:03:00 PM EDT
One of the main points I noted both during the debate and shortly thereafter was that Barack Obama looked and sounded like a President while John McCain looked and sounded like a Senator. Apparently the polling indicates that this was exactly the case for others watching the debate (h/t Marc Ambinder):
Obama was seen as more "presidential" by 46% of the debate watchers, compared with 33% for McCain.
The difference is even more pronounced among debate watchers who were not firmly committed to a candidate: 44% said they believed Obama looked more presidential, whereas 16% gave McCain the advantage.
I suspect this is one of the main reasons why the earliest indicators seem to suggest that Obama is getting a bounce out of the first debate and McCain continues to founder in the low- to mid-40s in nationwide support. There might not have been any major body blows landed by either candidate, and perhaps nothing overly memorable occurred during the 90-minute debate, but that doesn't mean that the debate didn't have an impact. Obama needed to come off as looking at least as "presidential" as McCain -- he needed to seem like a palatable and not risky alternative -- and not only was he able to achieve this, he seems to have come off significantly more"presidential" than his more established Republican opponent.