We’ll take “honest, strong, and sincere”

Real Clear Politics has Pew’s “internals” on last week’s debate. They consist of the one word reaction of those surveyed to the performance of each candidate. Here’s the bottom line, according to Tom Bevan:
“If you boil it down to the top three impressions generated for each candidate you’re left with the following nut: Bush = honest, strong, and sincere, Kerry = confident, prepared, and intelligent. If this is truly indicative of how the country feels about what they saw last Thursday night, then President Bush may have indeed come out much better than expected and remains in a pretty strong position.”
My view is that the president lost a little ground on Thursday but that, for the most part, this was the result of people viewing Kerry in a more favorable light than before, rather than viewing Bush more negatively. If the race is mostly a referendum on the incumbent (and isn’t it always that?), then I agree with Bevan that Bush remains in a pretty strong position.

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