Reading The Insta-Polls

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 23 2012 @ 9:20am

Last night, the insta-polls declared Obama the debate's winner. But Weigel examines the internals of CNN's poll and decides that "Romney won":

Do you think Mitt Romney can or cannot handle the responsibilities of Commander-in Chief? All voters: Yes, by a 60-38 margin. Independents: Yes, by a 62-36 margin. Next question: Did tonight's debate make you more likely to vote for Barack Obama or more likely to vote for Mitt Romney, or did tonight's debate not affect how you are likely to vote? Among all voters: Romney, 25-24. Among independents, it's Romney by a 32-20 margin.

On the other hand, Blumenthal looks at CBS's poll of uncommitted voters:

Before the debate, 24 percent said they leaned to Obama and 20 percent to Romney, with 54 percent completely undecided. After the debate, 46 percent said they would support Obama, 32 percent Romney and 19 percent were undecided.

Nate Silver warns:

There have been some past debates when the instant-reaction polls judged one candidate to be the winner, but the head-to-head polls eventually moved in the opposite direction.