Barack Won?

27Sep08

Was McCain disrespectful of Obama during last night’s debate? Post-debate polls indicate that more people think Barack won the debate. The thought of this makes me sick.

CBS Insta Poll shows Barack Obama won 39% to John McCain‘s 25% with 36% saying the debate was a draw.

Insider Advantage reports those polled Obama won 42% to McCain’s 41% with Undecided 17%

CNN reports voter opinions that Obama “did better” 51%, McCain “did better” 38%

The CNN poll showed men were evenly split, but women gave Obama higher marks 59% to 41% for McCain.

This gender imbalance may provide the key if the debate creates movement toward Barack – women might of thought they were seeing McNasty, while men thought they were seeing acceptable male behavior.

McCain appeared angry and dismissive of Obama and generally impressed as someone who would slap colleagues across the aisle if reaching over to them. He said several times in the debate that he hasn’t won the Miss Congeniality contest in the Senate, and he proved why during the debate.

The Bush administration is very male – aggressive, preferring confrontation to conversation, lacking in compassion – so for females, the desire for change might be satisfied by seeing a metro-sexual candidate like Barack.

I suspect that women voters especially would be turned off by McCain’s sarcastic tone because women do tend to be the conciliators in our society and saw Obama display those conciliatory qualities very well in the debate. Obama looked at McCain, and McCain wouldn’t return the eye contact but rather glared or displayed a tight and angry expression.

In an era in which TV controls elections, the subliminal signals a candidate sends out are critical. McCain isn’t one to worry about the subliminal.

I also suspect (but don’t have the data to support) that older voters were also turned off by Senator McNasty. I believe older voters will also be reassured that, though McCain has been around longer, Obama has a good grasp of foreign affairs and can learn quickly. He impressed as a statesmen, in marked contrast to McCain’s warrior demeanor.

The Wall Street news cycle of the past two weeks has pushed the narrative of this campaign so strongly in Barack’s lap that it’s going to take more, perhaps, than being aggressive in trying to solve it, as McCain was this week, to pull things back his way.

McCain referred to Obama as naive or as not understanding on many issues when the listener probably saw a mere difference of opinion. McCain’s condescension felt annoying; to the listener who might agree or disagree with Obama, Obama nevertheless was making good points, not naive ones.

Is it possible that McCain’s age isn’t really an issue for voters, but being of a different era is? Making the allegation about his lack of computer use one of symbolic importance to voters?

In general, I think the country is tired of negativity, and McCain’s performance didn’t give anyone the impression that age has mellowed him. In fact, he seemed rather proud of his continuing bellicose manner. The country seems ready for a change from the “fighting as first choice crowd.”

I thought McCain was very good last night, and that while Barack was presidential in demeanor, there was a clear lack of sparkle. Being a male in his 50’s, perhaps that response is predictable, and unrepresentative of where America is today. We’ll see.

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One Response to “Barack Won?”

  1. 1 Anonymous

    Once again, the media trying to control. John McCain was so much more knowledgeable than Obama. McCain did not look “mean”, as a matter of fact he smiled throughout the debate and gave his answers in a mild-mannerd way, similar to Ronald Reagan.
    The one thing he did not do, and I think he should in future debates, is look Obama in the eye when he is referring to him.


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