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From Plan A to Plan G

Time Magazine Death Spiral Watch (Mark Halperin Edition)


CBS instant poll, survey of "about" 500 uncommitted voters: 53 pct said Obama won; 22 pct said Mccain. Uncommitted voters; 28 pct now committed to obama; 14 pct to McCain....

CNN focus group: 15-10 OBAMA

Mark Halperin:

Grading the Final Presidential Debate:

Obama: Substance... B; Style... B-; Offense... C+; Defense... B+; Overall grade: B.

McCain: Substance... A-; Style... B+; Offense... A-; Defense... A-; Overall grade: A-.

Special bonus Halperin-in-the-tank-for-McCain moment:

McCain Defense: Dramatically proclaimed "I am not President Bush" with toughness and clarity, in one of the few true "moments" in any of the debates—the tangible ripple of reaction from the (albeit silent) crowd signaled that the video clip will be replayed many times...

Why oh why does Mark Halperin still have a job?

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?

UPDATE: Sam Stein:

Who Won The Last Debate? Obama Dominates By Largest Margins Yet: John McCain didn't just fail to get the game-changer he needed -- he was trounced in this third and final debate, if the instant post-debate polling provides any indication.

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. CNN also conducted a smaller focus group of 25 undecided likely voters in Ohio, and Obama won that too, 15-10.

Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, meanwhile, conducted some polling before and after the debate and here are his findings. Before the debate: McCain: 54 favorable / 34 unfavorable Obama: 42 favorable / 42 unfavorable. After the debate: McCain: 50 favorable / 48 unfavorable Obama: 72 favorable / 22 unfavorable.

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."

On the flip side, The Page's Mark Halperin offered the following grades: Obama a B and McCain an A-