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Polls say Obama won

The Baltimore Sun

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - According to two polls, Barack Obama beat John McCain in Tuesday night's debate.

CNN's national poll of debate watchers found that 54 percent said Obama did the best job, compared with 30 percent who said McCain performed better. While 51 percent of those polled said they had a favorable opinion of McCain, unchanged from before the debate, 64 percent said they had a favorable opinion of Obama, up 4 percentage points from before the debate.

By more than a 2-to-1 margin, 65 percent to 28 percent, more people said they found Obama more likable than McCain during the debate, according to the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey.

On the question of who won the debate, a CBS News/Knowledge Networks poll of uncommitted voters found a similar result. Forty percent said Obama won, 26 percent said McCain won, and 34 percent thought it was a tie.

According to a new online Ipsos/McClatchy poll, Obama beat McCain in the eyes of undecided voters by 61 percent to 39 percent.

Before the debate, the 389 undecided voters favored McCain by 55 percent to 45 percent, but after it they shifted to favor Obama over McCain, 57 percent to 43 percent.

The online survey's value is like that of a large focus group; it is not a scientific random sample of the population. Still, its results are illustrative of how many undecided voters perceived the debate.

While 57 percent said their opinion of each candidate wasn't changed much by the debate, 31 percent said it made them more favorable toward Obama, while only 18 percent said that about McCain.

McCain was judged more mean-spirited and disrespectful by 62 percent, compared with 38 percent who thought that about Obama. Fifty-seven percent of the voters polled thought McCain demonstrated that he was tough enough to be president, while only 43 percent said that about Obama.

However, 65 percent said that Obama expressed his opinions more clearly, while only 35 percent thought that of McCain.

The online poll was conducted October 7-8. A national sample of 389 undecided voters from Ipsos' U.S. online panel was interviewed online.

The Associated Press and McClatchy-Tribune contributed to this article.

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