The third and final debate was a largely sober, dry and wonky exploration of foreign policy in an election year where the economy is the most important issue on nearly everyone’s mind. Like the second presidential debate it was largely a stalemate, with the media overwhelmingly rejoicing in praise for the president and conservatives content. The media love didn’t help the president in polling last time around, we will see what it does this time.
If you already have picked your candidate, you likely thought that candidate came out the winner. I am voting for Mitt Romney. I saw a guy who looked and sounded like a commanding leader holding himself above the fray when his opponent trotted out tired campaign slogans. Romney was less aggressive and presented a more tempered and less aggressive stance. That is what you do when you are courting independent and undecided voters.
People like me are already locked in. The remainders don’t want to make waves and don’t follow this closely. If they did, they would have a definitive opinion or at least be clear about which direction they would be looking in. They are war weary and have been told for a year Mitt Romney will trot around the world bombing people at will. They saw a different Mitt Romney on stage last night. A guy who is measured, tolerant, focused on peace. That guy might resonate.
My guess? Most people likely tuned in and then tuned out. I live and breathe this stuff and even I was bored through most of it. If you came home last night after working a long day, fed the kids, put them to bed and then sat down, you likely found yourself nodding off a bit. That was the consensus I saw forming on social media and in my own house.
So did the debate matter? We are in the end of the election cycle. Things are going to break one way or the other. They would do that in the next week or so regardless of the debate. I believe many people will make their final decision now but they will simply select the direction they were already headed. I doubt most people saw this and were swayed to head somewhere they were not planning to go.
So we will see. I tend to think a stalemate favors Romney. The momentum was his and he solidified the gains he made from those who were originally shaken by Obama’s first debate performance and were surprised to see what metal Mitt was made of.
I have said repeatedly this is a 50/50 election. If it is going to change it will do so in the coming days. If not it will be a late election night.