Well we are still awaiting all the fallout from the debate to settle. (If you didn’t watch it, here you go.)
Substance-wise it was a heavy duty discussion of tax policy that even bored Ezra Klein (it’s a wonky article — recommended but not required.) Style-wise it was a pretty clear win for Romney, a judgment that gathered steam over time so that by Friday it was the general consensus, echoed in the polls. But Friday also brought good unemployment numbers (they dropped under the symbolic 8% number) which was perceived as a boost to Obama.
This morning it looked like Romney’s bounce in the polls had peaked Friday and started to subside by Sunday, which looked like a pretty good Obama day. The daily trackers today showed distinct signs of an Obama recovery. BUT, this afternoon a Pew poll, usually favorable to Obama, showed a 4 point Romney lead (though to be clear, most of the interviews were done Thurs.-Sat.) and a PPP poll (done Thurs.-Fri.) will come out tomorrow with another Romney lead. We know Thursday and Friday were good days for Romney with lots of enthusiastic Republican poll respondents — what we don’t know is whether his bounce has subsided, though we have some reason to think it is doing so. On the other hand, Sunday’s numbers may be the fluke.
Prof. Barbour’s advice — sit back and enjoy the ride. This piece on the polls by Nate Silver is kind of heavy going, but I think it is basically right.
Meanwhile, to give some context to Obama’s surprisingly laid back performance, here is a good article on why incumbents usually lose their first debates. Most of them do lose it — some go on to lose the presidency too and some hang on to win. As I said, sit back and enjoy.