CBS Poll: Uncommitted voters say Obama won debate

CBS News

CBS News and Knowledge Networks have, once again, conducted a nationally representative poll of uncommitted voters to get their immediate reaction to tonight’s presidential debate.

And this new poll has good news for the Democratic ticket: Just as in the first presidential debate and the vice presidential face off, more uncommitted voters say the Democratic candidate won the debate. (We’ve updated this post with final numbers.)

Forty percent of the 516 uncommitted voters surveyed identified Barack Obama as tonight’s winner; 26 percent said John McCain won, while 35 percent saw the debate as a draw.

After the debate, 68 percent of uncommitted voters said that they think Obama will make the right decisions on the economy, compared to 55 percent who said that before the debate. Fewer thought McCain would do so – 48 percent after the debate, and 41 percent before.

Before the debate, 59 percent thought Obama understands voters’ needs and problems; that rose to 80 percent after the debate. For McCain, 33 percent felt he understands voters’ needs before the debate, and 44 percent thought so afterwards.

There is some good news for McCain, who still dominates Obama when it comes to perceptions of readiness to be president. Before the debate, 42 percent thought Obama was prepared for the job, and that percentage rose to 58 percent after the debate. But 77 percent felt McCain was prepared for the job before the debate, and 83 percent thought so afterwards.

Before the debate, 51 percent thought Obama would bring real change; afterwards, 63 percent thought that. For McCain, just 23 percent thought he would bring real change before the debate, while 38 percent thought so afterwards.

Fifty-seven percent thought McCain answered the questions that were asked, and an identical though Obama did.

Seventy-two percent of uncommitted voters remained uncommitted after the debate. Fifteen percent committed to Obama, and 12 percent to McCain.

We will have a full report on the poll later on. Uncommitted voters are those who don’t yet know who they will vote for, or who have chosen a candidate but may still change their minds.