Rasmussen: 47% Say Obama Won Final Debate, 33% Pick McCain as Winner
[October 17, 2008]Link
Barack Obama scored a hat trick in the presidential debates: A plurality of voters said he won all three, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
Forty-seven percent (47%) of voters say Obama won the final debate Wednesday night at Hofstra University, while 33% say McCain was the winner. Twenty-one percent (21%) were undecided.
Men give the win to Obama by nine points, women by 17. While 60% of Republicans think McCain won, 76% of Democrats give the win to their candidate. Unaffiliated voters see Obama as the winner by an 11-point spread.
After the first debate on September 26, 36% thought Obama won versus 33% who saw McCain as the winner. Voters thought Obama beat McCain even more decisively – 45% to 28% -- in the second debate on October 7, but they also felt the Republican is better prepared to be president than his Democratic opponent by an 11-point margin.
Sixty-seven percent (67%) of voters in the latest survey say the debates were at least somewhat important in terms of how they will vote, with 27% describing them as Very important. Just eight percent (8%) say the debates were not important at all in their deciding how to vote.
Among unaffiliated voters, 27% say the debates were Very important in terms of how they will vote, and another 39% say they were somewhat important.
Nationally, with the steady drumbeat of bad economic news, Obama has opened a stable lead over McCain in both the Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll and the Electoral College projections.
Viewership Wednesday night was comparable to the two previous debates. Fifty-three (53%) say they watched all of the final debate, compared to 55% for each of the first two. Thirteen percent (13%) say they didn’t watch any of this week’s debate, roughly the same as the numbers for the earlier meetings.
In a survey earlier this week, 60% of voters described the first two debates as boring and were fairly evenly divided on whether the contests so far were informative or useless.
Fifty-one percent (51%) say Obama explained his positions more clearly than McCain on Wednesday night, while 33% think the Republican did a better job. Unaffiliated voters by a two-to-one margin say Obama was the better explainer. Even 22% of Republicans think Obama explained himself better.
Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters in an earlier survey rated Obama the more skilled debater, compared to 27% who believed that of McCain.
Despite voter concerns about the fairness of the debate moderators, 72% say Bob Schieffer of CBS News played a neutral role in Wednesday’s debate. Just 12% say he tried to help Obama, while 4% believe he tilted toward McCain.
This compares with the findings about PBS’ Jim Lehrer who moderated the first debate, although voters were slightly more critical of the performance of NBC’s Tom Brokaw at the second debate.