Two polls give Obama edge in first presidential debate
WASHINGTON - A pair of one-night polls gave Barack Obama a clear edge over John McCain in their first presidential debate.
Fifty-one percent of respondents said Obama, the Democrat, did a better job in Friday night's face-off while 38 percent preferred the Republican McCain, according to a CNN-
Obama was widely considered more intelligent, likable, and in touch with peoples' problems, and by modest margins was seen as the stronger leader and more sincere.
In a CBS News poll of people not committed to a candidate, 39 percent said Obama won the debate, 24 percent said McCain, and 37 percent called it a tie. Twice as many said Obama understands their needs than said so about McCain.
The CNN poll involved telephone interviews with 524 adults who watched the debate and had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points. The CBS survey involved online interviews with 483 uncommitted voters who saw the debate and had an error margin of 4 points. It was conducted by
Polls conducted on one night can be less reliable than surveys conducted over several nights because they include only the views of people available that particular evening.
Senior adviser Mark Salter said the Arizona senator spent the morning at his campaign headquarters placing calls to congressional leaders and White House officials involved in finalizing a multibillion-dollar deal to bail out failing financial firms. Last week McCain suspended most campaign activities to help develop a bipartisan agreement.
The campaign of Democratic rival Barack Obama promptly criticized McCain.
"Now the McCain campaign says he can negotiate the bailout by phone?" spokesman Tommy Vietor asked in a statement e-mailed to reporters.
"If this is the case, why did Senator McCain suspend his campaign?"
McCain jolted the political world Wednesday when he announced he would forgo most campaign activities to work on the bailout deal.
He hinted he might not participate in Friday's debate with Obama if a deal had not been reached, but he changed his mind and flew to Mississippi within hours of the event.