1:49 CDT: [Sean] Late update from the road... Chris Matthews doesn't like noogies.
11:21 CDT: More instapolling: SurveyUSA has Californians giving the debate to Obama 53-30, Washingtonians to McCain 40-38. McCain won indies in Washington, lost them in Cali. From the internals: in both states, voters thought Jim Lehrer was exceptionally fair, wanted more discussion about the economy, thought McCain looked tired, thought Obama looked Presidential.
11:16 CDT: [Sean] Well, Brett and I haven't gotten in the car and driven hundreds of miles in, what, at least half a day? So we're headed out. What to expect in the next week for On the Road... a bit of a slowdown. We'll cover Missouri with a few posts, and we'll liveblog from Washington University in my hometown of St. Louis next week. Then a frenzied month in the midwest and east covering battlegrounds from the road. We're gonna give Chris Matthews a noogie on the way out. Thanks for sharing the night with us, I'll let Nate wrap up with any final comments.
10:53 CDT: [Sean] Nate's right about that, and I'd only add that if people were especially tuned into the content they were tuned into the economic content in the first half of the debate given that we're in a big crisis.
10:49 CDT: [Nate] Really, I think a lot of pundits go about watching the debate in the wrong way. Namely, they're paying too much attention to it. That's not how most people watch the debate. They're talking with friends, taking care of their kids, drinking a beer, flipping channels, surfing the Internet. I think what those people saw is that Obama looked good, he sounded good and forceful, he spoke directly to the middle class in the first 20 minutes, and he probably had the best individual moment of the night on Iraq. And by the time that McCain woke up, they had fallen asleep or had flipped over to the White Sox game.
10:47 CDT: [Sean] Did anyone see the Pat Buchanan comments just now? As he spoke, they showed McCain replying to a question in a large window box next to Buchanan. McCain was silent, and so you could only get body language. He looked angry as hell. That's my dead horse. Folks should watch this thing again, silently, and just observe the body language of these two candidates. That's the big takeaway for me. The always-smart Eugene Robinson agrees.
10:36 CDT: [Sean] The two debates in my memory bank that one candidate just destroyed the other were the first Mondale-Reagan debate and the Gore-Kemp debate. But Reagan won the election, huge. Another big win was the first Kerry-Bush debate, but Kerry didn't win the election either. So I agree that Obama won, I think the "you were wrong" moment was the most memorable moment, but I'm not sure anything really happened tonight. It was more of what didn't happen.
10:31 CDT: [Nate] CNN/Opinion Research telephone poll went to Obama. Hearing that Luntz and GQR focus groups went to Obama. Yes, I'm beating this horse to death.
10:28 CDT: [Sean] This campus seems pretty nice. Wish we could stay and see it a little more. Oh well.
10:24 CDT: [Sean] Another thing about Biden is he can come on TV after these presidential debates and be a surrogate, and the various networks have to cover it -- he's the VP nominee. You will not see Sarah Palin doing the same thing once.
10:14 CDT: [Nate] OK, here's that link to that CBS news poll. And it wasn't 500 independents -- it was 500 uncommitted voters. I would say, just from my own point of view, that Obama didn't win by anything like a 2:1 margin, but that's partly because I was so pleased with his first 45 minuets that he raised my expectations for the last 45, when McCain seemed almost literally to wake up.
10:13 CDT: [Sean] Richard Wolffe made a strong point. McCain made a series of declarative statements "you don't understand" and then Obama came back with fluency in foreign policy. If you consider that "You Don't Understand"/demonstration-of-understanding-in-reply template lifted up and placed onto next week's Biden-Palin debate, where if you imagine Biden saying it to Palin and Palin trying to respond, it's clear it works less well when a guy is more than holding his own.
10:10 CDT: [Nate] It doesn't appear to be on the web yet, but several commentators point to a CBS News poll of 500 independents gave the debate to Obama 40-22, with 38 percent declaring it a tie. Beware, however, because the reaction in these instant polls doesn't always match the movmenet in the horse race polls in the proceeding days.
10:01 CDT: [Nate] Independents in the MediaCurves focus group gave the debate to Obama 61-39. They also think he won every individual segment. Republicans gave the debate to McCain 90-10, Democrats to Obama 93-7.
9:55 CDT: [Nate] Obama moved up 3 points in the Iowa Electronic Markets, but lost 3 points on Intrade. Given the funny business we've seen on Intrade lately, you'll know which of those two indicators I'd tend to trust.
9:52 CDT: [Sean] When you think back about the debate and the big moments, I think the "You were wrong" moment and the McCain getting angry about negotiating with dictators are the two that stand out.
9:50 CDT: [Nate] Alex Castellanos says it was a tie, and that a tie goes to the candidate who is town in the polls. I don't see how that makes any sense. Besides, I think Begala is right that Obama's confrontation of McCain on Iraq was the moment of the night -- and the one that likely breaks the tie.
9:45 CDT: [Sean] First reaction. On the "looking presidential" front, Obama clearly seemed calm, poised, knowledgeable. McCain had a couple of angry moments. Obama looked at McCain and seemed comfortable engaging with McCain. Obama looked into the camera. McCain looked into the camera but his body language was worse, and him not looking at Obama definitely didn't make him come across as confident.