The Slatest

Who Won the Debate? And the (Instant) Surveys Say …

A pair of instant polls conducted in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s debate suggest that President Obama narrowly came out on top in the town hall event.

CNN’s survey of registered voters showed Obama topping Romney 46 percent to 39 percent.* CBS News polled undecided voters, but the outcome was largely the same with the president again besting his Republican challenger by 7 points, 37-30. The remaining 33 percent saw the debate as a draw.

Obviously, these are small sample sizes we’re talking about (not to mention the dust has barely settled), but the insta-polls nonetheless typically set the stage for the Who Won? media narrative that dominates the debate day-afters.

*Correction: Due to a typo, an earlier version of this post misstated the percent of CNN respondents who scored the debate for Romney. Thirty-nine percent of respondents thought the GOP challenger had the stronger performance, not 36 percent as originally stated.