Anyway, I felt like it was a wash. Neither of them really came out ahead. Romney was pretty good, but he got distracted on a few points, and missed when he got the Libya softball tossed to him. Too bad.
But the more significant point was that for a challenger to hang with the incumbent is usually a win for the challenger. That's a big deal.
And the recent polls are bearing this out. This article refers to the Rasmussen poll:
The Left seemed pretty pleased with Barack Obama’s performance in Tuesday night’s debate, cheering his renewed energy and aggressiveness. How did it play with voters overall? The spot polls produced mixed results, generally agreeing with most pundits that it had been a draw. Today’s Rasmussen tracking poll shows Obama falling slightly further behind as the first post-debate data gets added to the mix:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows Mitt Romney attracting support from 49% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns the vote from 47%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and another two percent (2%) are undecided. See daily tracking history. …Interestingly, Romney’s 49% is solid with or without leaners. Without leaners, Obama only gets to 46%. Among those “certain” to vote, Romney leads 46/44. Republicans now have an eight-point advantage on enthusiasm, 83/75, with independents nearly as enthused as Democrats at 72%.
These updates are based upon nightly polling and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. As a result, roughly two-thirds of the interviews for today’s update were completed before Tuesday night’s presidential debate. Saturday morning will be the first update based entirely upon interviews conducted after the second debate. Matchup results are updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update).
Pretty cool, methinks. Even more surprising is that Gallup shows Romney ahead today by 7 points. Although Gallup is becoming less reliable lately and this looks like an outlier, it's still significant.
Also, RealClearPolitics finally has the electoral map in favor of Romney for the first time this whole campaign, although there are still lots of toss-up states.
It's a looking very up. If Romney can continue to hang tough in the debates, and not stumble to the finish, he has a real shot at this.