I am having a similar reaction after browsing the coverage of last night’s final Presidential debate.
The Judges’ Verdicts
“I think it’s unequivocal Mitt Romney won. Romney went large. Obama went very, very small – shockingly small.” – Charles Krauthammer, Synidated columnist
Headline: “Few seemed swayed by final presidential debate” - Associated Press (The headline on 5460 articles, according to Google)
Headline: “Presidential debate: Times opinionators divided on Monday’s winner” - Los Angeles Times
“Mitt Romney came across as reasonable, thoughtful, serious presidential, rational, not someone who is going to start another war in the Middle East. …overall, I think they both did an effective job tonight. I don’t think it changes anything. You saw Mitt Romney talking about the economy tonight, messaging to Ohio. I thought he was very effective talking about China. Whether you agree or disagree with his positions on these issues, I think if you’re a worker in Ohio tonight, I think his message would have had some resonance.” - MSNBC Analyst Steve Schmidt
“In a presidential debate largely lacking the combativeness of last week’s town hall, President Obama and Mitt Romney both seemed to achieve their goals in Monday’s foreign-policy face-off.” - Christian Science Monitor
The Jury Verdict
However, instant polls of the voters’ reaction to the debate tell a dramatically different story.
A CNN poll of registered voters: Obama won: 48%. Romney won: 40%.
A PPP poll of swing state debate watchers: Obama won: 53%. Romney won: 42%.
A CBS poll of uncommitted voters: Obama won: 53%. Romney won: 23%.
To be fair, these polls were done immediately after the debate, before voters were given their instructions by the judges.