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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

10:03 PM [Sean] We’ll have a bit more on the debate later. Also an announcement about our trip involving Brett. Nate on Colbert tonight wasn’t the only news of the day.

9:57 PM [Sean] By the way, a special shout out for an absolutely horrible experience on the campus of Belmont University. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a less welcoming place. We hated this campus and the staff here so much that we left to watch the debate at a pizza joint. I don’t like to regret things, but it would be hard to overstate how terrible a day this has been, and how crappy every interaction we had in Tennessee was. It was a terrible decision to leave Indiana and come down here. That had to be said for the record.

9:34 PM. [Nate] Strong close by McCain at least, echoing his underrated convention speech.

9:33 PM [Sean] On “what don’t you know and how will you learn it?” the women diverged from the men in their dial response. The women LOVED Obama’s answer. Nearly a perfect score. Men merely liked it. Men are liking McCain’s answer more than women are. But the men are liking both guys’ answers about the same.

9:31 PM. [Nate] Well, Sean, since you broke the seal, I guess I’ll just say that I think this was a clear win for Obama — much clearer than Round 1 — and that I expect the polls and focus groups will reflect it. Again, it’s all about tone and body language … if you read a transcript of the debate, it might be a tie.

9:29 PM [Sean] The dials love Barack Obama. I’ll be surprised if he didn’t win the focus groups.

9:26 PM: [Nate] McCain’s winning the Terry vote! But seriously, I thought McCain’s shaking hands with that guy was effective.

Belmont University - BrettMarty.com

9:25 PM: [Nate] Good off-the-cuff answer from Obama on a relatively difficult question on Russia.

9:16 PM: [Sean] This is the weirdest thing, where each one of these guys is begging Tom Brokaw for permission to break the rules. I don’t think it makes either one of them look good. And the dials are not liking McCain.

9:16 PM. [Nate] Damn, would love to see how the dial tests played over those last five minutes. It’s tough going cold turkey like this.

9:08 PM. [Nate] The phrase “cool hand at the tiller” appears only 2 times in Google. (Or at least it did before now).

9:06 PM [Sean] On the actual topic of the debate — two things. Obama’s “there are some things I don’t understand” pivot was effective. And well-received on the dials. That was definitely a pre-planned line. Another thing, McCain looks weird puttering around in the background on some of these wide shots, my friends. Hey, General Petraeus! They must think that every mention of Petraeus moves a point or two in the polls.

9:05 PM. [Nate] 24 minutes left for a McCain game-changer.

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