This, however, is a devastating result for McCain for two reasons:
- McCain is behind and needed a game-changer.
- This debate will be the most watched, and was on McCain's presumed turf: foreign policy. Consequently, it was his best chance for a big win. I also think, after three weeks of devastating media coverage, there was an opportunity for a narrative shift, which does not seemed to have happened.
On the non-substantive issues, I think McCain lost as well. His churlish, angry behavior will be mercilessly mocked on Saturday Night Live tomorrow, and the CW will be set from this debate. As some have noted, McCain's sneer = Gore's sighs. Obama seemed calm, cool and collected.
The snap polls from the networks seem to indicate a universal opinion that Obama won this.
Personally, I think Obama won this narrowly. But he won it on the road, and now the series shifts back to Barack Field.
For the record, this debate series most closely resembles the old 5-game MLB playoffs. The worse team got the first two games at home, but the better team would get game 3, and then 4 and 5 if necessary.
McCain lost his home field early, and now cannot regain the advantage. He could always win on the road, but that is going to be much harder for him.