… It is fair to say that the outcome of the debate defied conventional wisdom. Indeed, drawing on political-science research, most journalists had confidently predicted that the first presidential debate would have a minimal polling impact. What went wrong?
Part of the answer, of course, is that Mr Romney was the more focused and energetic of the two on stage last Wednesday, while the president spoke in generalities and appeared both fatigued and mildly irritated with the whole idea of debating his rival.
But there is a more fundamental reason why, in the debate’s aftermath, this election campaign has turned into a horse-race. [cont.]
Matthew Dickinson, Middlebury College