The Morning After — Part Two: Electric Boogaloo

Ken AshfordElection 2008Leave a Comment

You will read or hear that the flash polls conducted by CBS of uncommitted voters showed that Biden "won" the debate:

Forty-six percent of the uncommitted voters surveyed say Democrat Joe Biden won the debate, compared to 21 percent for Republican Sarah Palin. Thirty-three percent said it was a tie.

CNN had similar results:

Fifty-one percent of those polled thought Biden did the best job in Thursday night’s debate, while 36 percent thought Palin did the best job.

This is, of course, great news for Democrats, because these are polls of the ever-crucial uncommitted voters.  You simply cannot win the election without winning them.

It is clear to me, however, that the McCain team strategy with Palin wasn’t to win those votes.  Palin was selected to appease the conservative base, who were always luke warm for McCain anyway.  And Palin’s task in the debate was to stop the bleeding of the previous week – bleeding caused by Palin herself in her Couric interviews, but also some gaffes by McCain.  She did that — the neoconservatives are gushing.

But it should come as no surprise that Biden "won" among uncommiteds.  He was the only one reaching out to them.

By the way, Joe Klein’s wrap-up of the debate is quite good, particularly in his crystallization of exactly what Palin managed to do last night to be judged competent. "She displayed an ability," writes Klein, "for the first time since her convention speech, to repeat with a fair amount of credibility, the formulations that her handlers had given her." That was it.