That isn’t the result of the latest poll, but my guess as to where this race will be. I think that Bush will maintain his lead but Kerry shored up his numbers with swing voters. Realistically Kerry was as low as he could go in this race this month. Kerry isn’t going to do worse than 42%-45% no matter what – the Bush haters would see to that. At the same time, President Bush’s base is secure, and I don’t think Kerry changed any minds on that. We know who President Bush is, and while his debate performance was crummy, voters aren’t debate judges. We all know Bush is a horrible speaker but believes what he believes and sticks to it. My prediction is a slight Kerry bounce, but not enough to give him the race. Drudge was reporting earlier that even Joe Lockhart thought it was a draw – and in the end I think that’s true in terms of the electoral momentum. Kerry achieved his objective, which was to keep this race close. Bush achieved his objective which was to not screw up and lose his lead. In the end, it seems like a lot of voters tuned out the end where Kerry really took off. We’ll see how the polls match these predictions by next week.
Gallup has the results of their snap post-debate polling. The numbers didn’t move much. Bush has maintained his strong lead on national security and Iraq, even though Kerry did make up some lost ground.
The ABC post-debate poll finds the same thing. People’s views did not change much after this debate. I’m still thinking Kerry will get a soft bounce just based on the fact that he looked Presidential, but I’m not sure it will last. In the end, I think people just trust and like Bush more, and Kerry’s technical win didn’t endear him to enough people to swing this race to where it was pre-RNC.