According to Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling institution, 53% of viewers thought Barack Obama won tonight’s third debate on foreign policy; 42% thought Romney won. Going in, 51% were planning to vote for Obama, as opposed to 45% for Romney. Surprisingly, Obama led Romney by a mere 51% to 47% margin on the issue of foreign policy among those Democratic-leaning voters.
But among independents, the numbers moved heavily toward Romney. While 55% of independents said Obama won the debate, a full 48% of the independents said they were less likely to vote Obama after the debate. 47% of independents said they were more likely to vote Romney.
There can be only one possible explanation for these numbers. While the public thought Obama won the debate, they didn’t like how he won it. They felt he was arrogant and dismissive. And they felt more comfortable with Mitt Romney as a human being – he looked presidential. That means that the Romney strategy worked last night.