First off, if you are reading this to get a review of what happened Friday night, you’re in the wrong place. I presume that everyone interested enough to read about the debate after the fact, will have had enough interest to watch the debate for themselves, or at least chase down the details from a few of the many places which did offer detailed accounts. Wizbang, for example, has five different threads about what was said, as well as the tone and pace of the event. What I am writing here is a heads-up on what to expect this week, or more accurately, what not to expect.
For me, the most significant observation during last night’s debate came when John McCain said ”I'm afraid Senator Obama does not understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy". Besides the obvious reference at the time to military operations, it was a significant observation as to how Barack Obama misunderstood the strategic purpose of the debate. Chew on that, and I will come back to it in a later piece.
During this week to come, there will be even more frothy expectation of glorious poll results by those addicted to bumper stickers and headlines for their news. But unless the pollsters twiddle with the party-affiliation numbers again, they will not be likely to change much. First off, that’s the historical model. By the way, the National Council on Public Polls says you should pretty much ignore those “instant polls” which come out right after a debate. Why? Here’s why:
“Keep in mind that the instant post-debate poll: (1) measures only top-of-head reaction to the debates, (2) does not measure the debate's effect on candidate preference, and (3) applies only to those viewers who were contacted and participated. Remember that who won the debate may have little or no influence on candidate preference.”
Bet no one at Fox, CBS, CNN, or any of the other stations and networks bothered to note that, but as I said in an earlier post, the media is in the business of selling a story, not giving you facts.