National polls show a tight race, but the campaign has stabilized and the map still favors Obama.
While not quite a Luddite, I do find myself averse to any more technology than is necessary to get through life and do my job. So on Monday night, I found myself in a California hotel room, watching the final presidential debate on CNN (so I could watch their squiggly lines of undecided voters rating the candidates on dial meters), while my laptop was watching a second dial test of "Walmart Moms" in Orlando, Florida, all the while also catching the Twitter reactions of an array of journalists and political operatives from both sides on my iPad. Although the debate was not nearly as interesting and fun to watch as the first two, the sensory overload made up some of the gap.
- Fact-Checking the Debate
- The Foreign-Policy Debate Was All About Ohio
- Post-Debate Polls Show Obama Won
President Obama seemed to win the debate on points, but Mitt Romney seemed to take the course pass/fail and clearly passed. Yet it seems unlikely that this third debate will have nearly the impact that the first debate had in boosting Romney and hurting Obama, or that the second debate had in stabilizing the race. Clearly, Romney wanted to come across as nonthreatening and broadly acceptable; he also wanted to clear the threshold for being commander-in-chief. He did not take risks, being careful on a subject that is not in his lane.
The conventional wisdom seems to be that the momentum that Romney built up after his first debate victory had continued to grow, but my sense was that it was arrested by an Obama win in the second debate, albeit less decisive than the Romney's victory in the first. Going into this third and final debate, the national polls looked dead even, and, coming out of the debate, my guess is that the polls will still be dead even.