Sunday, Washington/Greensboro, (North Carolina) - A national poll of people who watched the first presidential debate suggests that Barack Obama came out on top, but there was overwhelming agreement that both Mr Obama and John McCain would be able to handle the job of president if elected.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corp survey is not a measurement of the views of all Americans, since only people who watched the debate were questioned and the audience included more Democrats than Republicans.
Fifty-one per cent of those polled thought Mr Obama did the better job in Friday night’s debate, while 38 per cent said John McCain did better.
Men were nearly evenly split between the two candidates, with 46 per cent giving the win to McCain and 43 per cent to Mr Obama.
But women voters tended to give Mr Obama higher marks, with 59 per cent calling him the night’s winner, while just 31 per cent said Mr McCain won.
“It can be reasonably concluded, especially after accounting for the slight Democratic bias in the survey, that we witnessed a tie in Mississippi tonight,” CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib said.
“Both candidates appeared to exceed expectations. McCain did better than expected in the minds of 60 per cent, while 57 per cent said Obama did a better job in the debate than they expected.
Meanwhile, Congressional leaders and the Bush administration reached a tentative deal early Sunday on a landmark bailout of imperilled financial markets whose collapse could plunge the nation into a deep recession.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the $700 billion accord just after midnight but said it still has to be put on paper.
“We’ve still got more to do to finalize it, but I think we’re there,” said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who also participated in the negotiations in the Capitol.