Nate Silver is a must-read. This is a fascinating nugget:
The CBS poll of undecideds has more confirmatory detail. Obama went from a +18 on "understanding your needs and problems" before the debate to a +56 (!) afterward. And he went from a -9 on "prepared to be president" to a +21.
The more it sinks in, the more I think Obama actually knocked it out of the park last night. He is, in some ways, the inverse McCain. McCain is all drama and explosions but then ... the air smells like damp, finished fireworks smoke. Obama seems calm and cautious but then ... you realize he cleaned your clock.
A few more morning after thoughts: the body language matters. McCain couldn't look at Obama as if he is offended by even having to share a stage with him. But Obama engaged him directly several times. Check the photo below. Even when shaking hands, McCain looks away. This is, in fact, a sign of insecurity.
The presidential factor:
Even Obama's critics will concede that he was McCain's equal last night. For a lot of undecided voters, the big question has always been whether this new and odd-looking guy could look like an American president, whether he passes Middle America's gut-check on how a president Obama feels in their psyches. I think Obama passed that test, as Reagan did in 1980 and as Kennedy did in 1960. We forget now how both those iconic presidents were regarded as iffy and perhaps not ready for prime time as candidates.
Lastly: the relating to ordinary folks. It has been Obama's greatest weakness. Yet he was far more focused on economic anxiety than McCain last night.