But the things I see as an amateur political analyst might not be the same thing as Americans who are tuning in for the first time. Much of what I saw might have been inside baseball, because the polls taken immediately after the debate show Obama winning a crushing victory. Here are some results via Raising Kaine:
CBS News poll of 500 uncommitted voters: Obama 40%-McCain 22%.Americans took a big first step towards embracing Barack Obama. Obama showed he could stand up to John McCain. McCain seemed angry and a little cowed by Obama, refusing to look at Obama throughout the entire debate. Obama continues his march to victory.
CNN/Opinion Research telephone poll: Obama 51%-McCain 38%
CNN "Quick Vote" (not scientific): Obama 67%-McCain 28%
MSNBC "Live Vote" (not scientific): Obama 49%-McCain 36%
Poltico (not scientific): Obama 70%-McCain 26%
Michigan Live (not scientific): Obama 73%-McCain 26%
Rocky Mountain News (not scientific): Obama 93%-McCain 5%
Chicago Tribune (not scientific): Obama 91%-McCain 9%
Atlanta Journal Constitution (not scientific): Obama 78%-McCain 22%
CNN focus group of Iowa undecideds had Obama the winner, 61% to 39%.
GOP pollster Frank Luntz's Fox focus group of undecided voters swung for Obama.
Next up: the Joe Biden and Sarah Palin debate next Thursday, assuming Palin does not withdraw before then. Palin skipped the debate last night, while Joe Biden was there working hard for Obama. There are calls from some conservative commentators for Palin to pull out of the race. Either way, McCain loses. Palin has shown that she isn't ready to answer unscripted question, but if she withdraws now, then it reflects very poorly on McCain's judgment in picking her.