Friday, April 27, 2007

Obama Wins

SurveyUSA conducted a poll on last night's Democratic Presidential candidate debate in South Carolina and found Senator Barack Obama came out on top:

Thirty-one percent gave that honor to Obama. Senator Hillary Clinton took second place, with 24 percent. Fourteen percent of respondents thought Senator John Edwards emerged as a leader among the candidates.

Obama did three times better than Clinton and twice as well as Edwards among South Carolina's Independents. Obama and Clinton tied among Democrats. Edwards and Obama tied among Republicans. Clinton won among white viewers. Of the respondents, 60 percent were white and 36 percent were black.
The debate got a lot of attention from South Carolinians. A third of the South Carolina adults contacted by SurveyUSA listened to the debate. Those who watched were asked who won the debate:

6% Biden
24% Clinton
2% Dodd
14% Edwards
2% Gravel
3% Kucinich
31% Obama
4% Richardson
13% Not Sure

More information on the SurveyUSA poll results, or how the survey was conducted, is available here and here.

The main stream media must not have listened to the same debate. The New York Times reported:
By the end of the night, none of the eight appeared to have distinguished themselves in any appreciable way with the kind of statement or dramatic moment that they might have hoped for; that said, none appeared to have made any campaign-altering mistakes either.
It's peculiar that the same url earlier brought up a story dated the 26th and titled "Democratic Hopefuls Square Off for First Time." Yesterday's article was less nuanced:
It was a night where no candidate appeared to particularly distinguish themselves. Mr. Obama, in particular, was so soft-spoken and reserved that he appeared at times to recede off the stage.
The Washington Post described the Candidates as "balanced:"
The field seems both talented and evenly balanced.
Long Island Newsday was less kind to Obama, saying he stumbled:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a cool, confident performance Thursday night in the first primary debate of the 2008 presidential season, while her fast-gaining opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, seemed to sweat a bit in the national spotlight.
According to McClatchy, the debate failed to alter the campaign:
Absent direct challenges - or any pronounced gaffes - the debate probably did nothing to fundamentally change the shape of the contest with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina leading in the polls and the rest trailing well behind.

Clinton and Biden were asked if they support Senate Majority Leader Reid's comment that the war in Iraq is lost. Both simply didn't answer the question:
"The American people have spoken," Clinton said. "The Congress has voted as of today to end this war, and now we can only hope that the president will listen. … This is not America's war to win or lose."

Look, Brian, this is not a game show," Biden told moderator Brian Williams. "This is not a football game. This is not win or lose."
I watched the last half of the debate. I didn't see a winner. What I saw was another opportunity taken by the Democratic candidates to beat up on President Bush. Something all eight did with abandon. I agree with the Washington Post that Kucinich and Gravel "provided a counterpoint of left-wing idea that drew rebukes for a lack of seriousness from Biden and Obama." The rebukes were well deserved.

Finally, I think Edwards was the biggest loser. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, when Edwards was asked whom he considers his moral leader, he "paused for a long and uncomfortable moment, seemingly at a loss for an answer:"
"I don't think I could identify one person that I consider to be my moral leader," Edwards said. "My Lord is important to me. … My wife … is a source of great conscience for me. My father … "
Watching the debate, that pause was way too long. The message conveyed was I don't have a moral leader. I found it devastating. When video of the long pause comes out on YouTube, it will require a great deal of spin from the Edwards campaign


ben bang said...

Shit, if anyone LOST it was Obama when it comes to the democratic base. He was pretty unimpressive and gave some lame answers, though he never in a million years could've lived up to all the hype and it's still very early.

If you comb the sites frequented by the netroots and dem base like dailykos, you'll find that Edwards is edging out Obama in the post-debate polls.

For more coverage, peep my blog, mofo.

ben bang said...

AND, Edwards clearly won the debate.

The pause is nothing. He seemed to really think the question through, which I appreciated. And the answer was golden. No one in the pack could've given a more substantive answer, excepting maybe Obama and he didn't have the mojo to pull it off last night.