Well, it seems that the preponderance of opinion favors John Kerry having won the first debate, but there was no change in which candidate people think ought to be President. Bush still leads in polls by four points, the same as before the debate.
Bush is criticized for running through his material in the first 30 minutes, and then repeating it for the remainder of the time. This is true, but it was necessary for him to repeat his points again and again, in response both to the questions from Jim Lehrer and the comments from Kerry.
Kerry clearly is the better public speaker – no surprise there. He has been trained both in college and the Senate for that role. But Bush, artless as he often is, has the upper hand when it comes to governing and leading, and in standing up for what he believes is right.
Bush also is being criticized for his behavior during Kerry’s comments. He also missed a few opportunities to call Kerry on misstatements of fact.
The President missed a great opportunity to increase his lead in the polls, and perhaps put the race away in this debate.