Bush Is 0-3
This is the look of a man who is 0-3 in debates and just experienced the realization that he got spanked again.
If you want to take a bunch of online polls, go here.
We saw a return to the smirking Bush, one who tried to tell us with a straight face that most of the tax benefits of his giveaways to his “base” have gone to the middle class; who tried to tell us with a straight face that he never remembered ever saying that Osama doesn’t concern him anymore; and who then tried once again to take the moral high ground.
The pundits seem to agree that from here on the race will be waged through commercials and personal appearances, and then depend on Election Day GOTV. CNN said tonight that the Bush camp wanted to get through the debates as quickly as possible so that they could return to where they feel the most comfortable: on the stump in front of their Stepford Crowds. And that is why Bush will lose. If all Rove has this late in the game is to rely on outspending Kerry and sending Bush out to give the same Ole' Time Religion to the same screened, pass-required Stepford Crowds, then Rove is done.
First, Bush by Rove's design will never be able to expand beyond what he has today because they have given up on the undecideds and swing voters, whereas Kerry is doing just the opposite: going after the undecideds and swing voters.
Second, Kerry and the Dem 527's are still sitting on more money than Rove thinks they have.
Third, don't be surprised if Kerry pulls a fast one and suddenly dumps money at the last minute into a state they psyched Rove into thinking they abandoned (hello Missouri).
Fourth, Michael Whouley's GOTV effort will best anything that Rove will put out there.
The early polls show that Kerry beat Bush again tonight:
Kerry Wins CBS Poll 39% - 25% [CBS, 10/13/04, 10:51pm]
Kerry Wins CNN's Focus Group 10 – 7 [CNN, 10/13/04, 10:46pm]
Kerry Wins ABC Republican-heavy Poll: Of the 566 People Polled (38% Were Republican, 30% Democrat, 28% Independent) Kerry Won 42%-41%. [ABC, 10/13/04, 10:50pm]
Let's have your thoughts.
Update: Gallup gives it to Kerry by a 53%-39% margin. Ouch.
Update #2: Bill Schneider just said on the air that Kerry won by 52%-39%. Kerry won by 53%-46% on which candidate agrees with you more on issues you care about. Kerry wins 51%-46% on the economy, and on health care. Bush wins on taxes, but Kerry has closed the gap greatly, down to 3% (Bush 50%, Kerry 47%)
Update #3: Check out the Washington Post daily tracking poll, taken today before the debate and note that Kerry has pushed past a falling Bush for the first time. What do you think it will look like by the weekend?
Update #4: Given John Zogby's comments today that Bush's support amongst the undecided has fallen through the floor, and Bush's tone and demeanor tonight, this should just about finish him off with any remaining undecideds.
Here are the results of a just completed Democracy Corps poll of well over a thousand voters tonight, who gave the final debate to Kerry by 5%, 41%-36%. More importantly, after this debate, Kerry moved out to a 3% lead nationally and a 9% lead in the battleground states.
John Kerry won the final presidential debate and produced the biggest shift yet in the actual vote for president. In this national representative survey of 1,030 likely voters, with data collected by Knowledge Networks, Kerry moved into a 3-point lead over Bush, 50 to 47 percent, after the debate. The survey participants began the evening evenly split, 48 to 48 percent, as the country as a whole. But Kerry got a clear a boost from Wednesday's debate, which will very likely reverberate in the coming days.
Kerry gained 2 points in the first presidential debate, according to the Democracy Corps survey, and 1 point in the 2nd Town Hall Debate.
Kerry also gained 2 points in the battleground states, where his lead is substantial, 54 to 44 percent after the debate.
As with nearly all other polls, the Democracy Corps national survey shows Kerry winning the debate by 5 points, 41 to 36 percent. Among independents, he won by 6 points and by 9 in the battleground states. While there are a small number of undecided (61 respondents), Kerry won by 8 points. (Among college educated women, Kerry won by 20 points.)
The biggest vote shift came among older men, an important target group in the election. Kerry moved from a deficit of 2 points to an advantage of 4 points, 51 to 47 percent. .
This was very much a personal victory for Kerry. There was a net 8-point shift in favorability: positive responses rose 5 points to 48 percent; negative ones dropped 3 points to 42 percent. Bush gained only 2 points on favorability. Kerry's gains reflected sharp rises on personal attributes, without a comparable gain for Bush.
•On strong convictions, Kerry rose 6 points to 63 percent.
•On honest and trustworthy, up 6 points to 57 percent.
•On gives me confidence, up 5 points to 52 percent.
•On likeable, up 5 points to 62 percent.
•On having clear plans, Kerry gained 6 points in comparison to Bush and ended up ahead (45 to 42 percent).
Bush attacks on Kerry missed their mark. In fact, worries about Kerry on flip flops, weakness on defense, being too liberal, and on taxes all went down after the debate.
The personal attributes moved more than issues, but even here, among independents, Kerry was more trusted than Bush on the economy by 16 points (54 to 38 percent) and on health care by 20 (54 to 34 percent).
Comments from the Media:
Tom Shales, Washington Post:
An essentially dignified and thoughtful performance by John Kerry, contrasted with an oddly giggly turn by George W. Bush, combined to give the last debate of the presidential campaign to the challenger last night, but very narrowly.
Bush seems to have been taken apart and put back together again after each debate, reassembled according to estimates of how he'd done. Last night it looked as though his handlers had told him to smile, smile, smile, especially when Kerry was trying to make points, points, points.
Bob Novak: “Kerry seems to be overpowering Bush.” [cnn.com, 10/13/04]
Candy Crowley: “If what you’re looking for in a candidate is the best debater, I mean, that is definitely John Kerry. He has a quick command of the facts, he is very articulate, and I think the poll reflects that.” [CNN, 10/13/04]
Ron Reagan: “I will predict that the polls tomorrow, just as they have in the two previous presidential debates, will say that Kerry won.” [MSNBC, 10/13/04]
Pat Buchanan: “Kerry was, I thought, very much at the top of his game and I thought toward the end, when you saw Kerry, you saw more of the humanity of the man in some of those questions, which was very helpful to them; talking about the daughters and things. I thought he had some excellent moments.” [MSNBC, 10/13/04]
John Roberts: “I would probably have to give it to John Kerry. He seemed a little bit more poised.” [CBS, John Roberts, 10/13/04]
Joe Scarborough: “It gave Democrats a reason to be excited about John Kerry.” [MSNBC, 10/13/04]
Jon Meacham, Newsweek: “John Kerry took the populist war straight to the President.” [MSNBC, 10/13/04]
Tavis Smiley: “I think, Peter, that you have to shore up your bases…I think Mr. Kerry did that with people of color on the left.” [ABC, 10/13/04]
Bill Schneider: “Well this was a decisive win for John Kerry. It was just about as decisive as his win in the first debate, which everyone agreed was a blowout. His, the first debate he won by 16 points; this debate, Kerry won by 13 points. According to the views of the viewers polled immediately after the debate so they had no chance really to be influenced by the spin.” [CNN, 10/13/04]
Andrea Mitchell: “Kerry says, well we all, you know, married above ourselves and some would say, me more than most – joking about Teresa Heinz and her extraordinary fortune and I thought that was actually showing a lot of self confidence of John Kerry to joke about that disparity.” [MSNBC, 10/13/04
David Gergen: "John Kerry, Sen. Kerry gained strength as the debate went on and I thought he became much more effective and if anything I thought the last part of the debate was his." [PBS, 10/13/04]
Carlos Watson: “As we went along, as we talked about social security, as we talked about immigration, as we talked even about the Supreme Court, I thought John Kerry ultimately found his voice. And when all is said and done I think Kerry will be proclaimed the winner, which I think will be significant because I think he will be viewed as having won all three debates.” [CNN, 10/13/04]
Dean Reynolds: “I think the candidate whose numbers have been moving in the right direction for the last 10 days has been Senator John Kerry, this debate did nothing to stop that, and I think from the Kerry point of view they’ll be happy about the results tonight.” [ABC, 10/13/04]
Anthony Mason: “Dan, the uncommitted voters in our survey have given the edge in this debate, to this final debate, to John Kerry.” [CBS, 10/13/04]
David Gergen: "What I thought John Kerry did very effectively tonight was reach out to women voters and they've become critical to his election Charlie, it’s the biggest change that's taken place since these debates started. And tonight, I would imagine with the Yankees and Red Sox on, there were probably a lot of women in that audience tonight." [PBS, 10/13/04]
"After viewing two presidential debates, a group of local independent voters has decided whom to support - and will use tonight's face-off simply to make sure they've got it right. Currently, Kerry is the pick of the majority. The Denver Post gathered the five panelists last month to view the debates. At the time, none of them had decided." [Denver Post, 10/13/04]
Bill Schneider: “Well I think he did appear more presidential than the president, which is exactly why he won the first debate and why he won this debate.” [CNN, 10/13/04]
Richard Wolfe: “John Kerry has looked more presidential and more personable as these debates have gone on.” [CNN, 10/13/04]
Perry Bacon, Time Magazine: “And still, Kerry came out looking more presidential…” [CNN, 10/13/04]
Andrea Mitchell: “I think Kerry cleared up any confusion that might have existed about how he as a Catholic was dealing with this very complex issue [abortion].” [MSNBC, 10/13/04]
George Stephanopoulos: “I thought Senator Kerry was most effective on talking about jobs, minimum wage, healthcare and social security.” [ABC, 10/13/04]
"Kerry's answer on health-care costs may be his best yet. He lays out the case against the administration logically and clearly." [Kit Seeyle, New York Times online, 10/13/04]
"In response to the flu vaccine, Bush narrowly focuses on the question and tells people not to get a flu shot. Kerry smartly takes the topic back to health care." [Kit Seeyle, New York Times online, 10/13/04]
Chris Wallace: "I thought perhaps because of the subject matter that John Kerry did better in the second half on subjects like minimum wage which the president seemed somewhat uncomfortable on." [Fox News, 10/13/04]
Mark Shields: “I thought Kerry's best answer by far was on the assault weapons. When the President begged off, it was Bob Schieffer's question to him Jim, why didn't you, you said you'd sign it, why didn't you lift a finger to do it, he said well they told me in Congress they didn't have the votes to do it and he said I would have gone to Tom Delay, and said we're going to have a fight, we'll go to the country on this. I thought that was probably Kerry's best answer. [PBS, 10/13/04]
Chris Matthews: “Senator Kerry tonight was able to score on the class issue.” [MSNBC, 10/13/04]
Tom Brokaw: “I think that they were seeing on the war issue that John Kerry had tapped into something out there in America. That there were doubts even among the president’s supporters on the Republican side of the agenda and especially in a lot of those traditionally red states where they have a lot of people overseas and beginning to wonder if this was going well or not. So they had to move it; move the agenda, if you will, off the war and harder onto the social issues.” [MSNBC, 10/13/04]
Ron Reagan: “George Bush made a mistake. Kerry quoted him accurately as it turns out in saying he’s not really worried about Osama bin Laden and Bush came back and said, well I don’t recall ever saying anything like that, we’ll you’ll see the clip of him saying exactly that tomorrow.” [MSNBC 10:32 pm]
Mark Shields: “I think Kerry is far more factual.” [PBS, 10/13/04]
Brian Williams: “We heard the name Osama Bin Laden mentioned again tonight and tonight our fact checkers found the President in a major contradiction. Here is what the President said on stage tonight in response to a charge by Sen. Kerry [Bush clip, exaggerations]. But here is what the President said about Bin Laden in March of 2002 [Bush clip saying he is not concerned about Bin Laden]. [NBC, 10/13/04]
Chris Jansing: “He painted the president as some one who led us to a misguided war, who has put Americans at risk because they don't have health insurance, who has lost more jobs than any president.” [MSNBC, 10/13/04]
George Stephanopoulos: Most Americans believe we’re going in the wrong direction right now. [ABC, 10/13/04]
Jeff Greenfield: “I think to the extent that the Republicans were looking for the president to lay the heavy lumber on John Kerry, that did not happen. And so if we’ve gone this last ten days with Kerry slowly moving up on Bush, I don’t see anything in this debate that will change that.” [CNN, 10/13/04]
John King: “I do think Republicans will agree that the president was perhaps not emphatic or focused enough in doing as much as he wanted to do to calling the Senate record into play and put the liberal label on Senator Kerry.” [CNN, 10/13/04]
Bob Novak: “Bush looks wishy-washy on the assault-weapons ban.” [cnn.com, 10/13/04]
Richard Wolfe: “John Kerry, I thought, took this one by points. The president really needed to get a big victory tonight and he fell short of that. You know, he beat himself in the previous debates, but that really wasn’t good enough.” [CNN, 10/13/04]
"Bush seems more on edge than Kerry. His voice is rising, almost to a shout. And he pounds his hand for emphasis. Kerry is trying to show he is cool, calm and collected." [Kit Seeyle, New York Times online, 10/13/04]
Bob Novak: “Bush's chuckles are not so good.” [cnn.com, 10/13/04]
Chris Matthews: “I think the president had sort of an unhappy look but it was a very controlled and disciplined look. He was obviously told ‘they’re looking at you, don’t put on a show.’ But he didn’t look happy. He wasn’t used to this kind of brow-beating.” [MSNBC, 10/13/04]