Did Kerry win the debate? Well, he didn’t lose, and that’s all that counts.
You’re going to hear a lot about how much better Bush did this time around, but that’s starting from a pretty low standard. Besides, it doesn’t really matter anymore how well Bush does. As long as Kerry performs well, he wins.
Let’s face it, the incumbent is a lying sack of shit with a record of incompetence, possibly unparalleled in American history. Now perhaps the majority of “undecided” voters wouldn’t phrase it so strongly, but if after four years of Bush they are still undecided, they clearly share the sentiment to some degree. All Kerry needs to do to win this election is present himself as a credible alternative, and he has clearly done that. (Again, a pretty low standard to start from.)
The fact that Bush didn’t fall flat on his face this time, doesn’t add up to a victory. Indeed, even by standard debate scoring, Kerry clearly won, a fact the “instant polls” confirm.
When Kerry wins this election, it will be because the undecided made up their minds on Bush a long time ago.