A focus group of the election's crucial demographic sees the candidates as "talking to each other" rather than to women voters.
As you may have heard, the crucial election demographic is women. They are the group that moved most to Mitt Romney in his polling surge of the last couple of weeks; their concerns were front and center at Tuesday's presidential debate, with Romney drawing mockery for his line about "binders full of women." Working-class women in particular -- the so-called "waitress moms" -- are seen as 2012's most important swing group.
So whether the candidates impressed these women in the second debate is surely more consequential than how the pundits score the face-off. And according to one focus group, they gave the debate to Obama -- but they wanted more policy specifics, didn't like the cheap point-scoring, and failed to connect strongly with either candidate.
The group consisted of 20 suburban Milwaukee "Walmart Moms" -- women with children under 18 who shopped at Walmart in the past month. (The study was sponsored by Walmart, though the chain's shoppers are also presumably a decent demographic sample of downscale voters.) Led by a bipartisan polling team -- Republican pollster Public Opinion Strategies and Democratic pollster Momentum Analysis -- the 20 used dials to record their positive and negative reactions during the debate, then broke into discussion groups afterward.