Post-debate instapolls notwithstanding, most folks I’ve talked to — Democrats and Republicans — scored President Bush as the winner in the final debate Wednesday night. Yesterday I spoke to a large civic club in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and several attendees said they were particularly repelled by John Kerry’s reference to Dick Cheney’s daughter. This was before the issue had taken off on the newschannels and talk shows. One moderate voter in attendance said that the episode changed her vote; she has not liked Bush’s decisions on the war and budget, she said, but now she can never trust Kerry to do the right thing.
Further evidence for a Bush edge on Wednesday night is that John Zogby’s tracking poll now shows the president with a four-point lead, representing a measurable jump from his pre-debate position on the Zogby poll — which is, by the way, designed not to show much variation in opinion from day to day due to partisan weighting.