"Gallup's respondents said that Kerry "did the better job in the debate" by a decisive 53% to 37% margin. But if you look at the internal numbers, they give Kerry very little comfort. The only area where people actually say Kerry did better was in "expressing himself more clearly," by 60% to 32%. The candidates were tied in having a good understanding of the issues. By 49% to 46%, respondents said Bush "agrees with them on the issues they care about." By 50% to 45%, Bush was more believable; by 48% to 41%, Bush was more likeable; and by a whopping 54% to 37%, Bush demonstrated he was "tough enough for the job."
Equally important, the Gallup poll indicates that watching the debate had almost no effect on respondents' assessment of who can best handle the situation in Iraq (Bush, by 54% to 43% post-debate) or who would be the better commander in chief (Bush, by 54% to 44% post-debate).
So unless the media succeed in spinning the "Kerry won" story so that it takes on a life of its own, it looks like the debate advanced Kerry's cause little, if at all."
Ahem. As I was saying...