Obama came with one mission, to knock Romney down a peg. He came to be aggressive with a lot of memorized material and prepared zingers. However, his over all demeanor was angry and often condescendingly so. His angry, condescending, and baffling retort to Romney's assessment of the Navy was a low point and most un-presidential.
His closing remarks seemed angry and almost accusatory of the the people on the other end of the camera. Me. You. As if he is a little ticked that he even has to explain this stuff.
Romney on the other hand came with the dual mission of being presidential and to come out of the meeting gaffe-free. In doing so, he often seemed overly agreeable and complimentary of Obama's foreign policy for my taste, but again I am not the target.
I think that Romney seemed likeable, informed, and moderate--or--presidential.
I think that if last night was a test, Romney undoubtedly passed. His presence was a steady one and his closing remarks were forward looking and hopeful, a stark contrast to that of the President.
Bottom line: I think that Romney accomplished exactly what he set out to do. That is reassure voters that he is up to the job and not the monster portrayed in Obama advertising. As he did just that, I think that the trajectory of the race remains unchanged and is an advantage to Romney.
I think the instant polls back this up. Via AceofSpades.
In CNN's poll, 48% said Obama won, 40% Romney.
But as far as changing votes, 24% said they were more inclined to vote for Obama, 25% for Romney.
On the question of who was qualified to be Commander in Chief: 60% said Romney was.
63% said Obama was.
PPP did a poll. It had Obama winning.
But here's the unkindest cut, from @DKElections (Daily Kos Elections). I've changed the tweet a little to make it more readable.
Weird: Among indies in @PPPPolls, 47% say they're more likely to vote for Romney, 35% less; 32% say they're more likely to vote for Obama, 48% less. But indies thought O won debate 55-40, voting for him 46-36
To borrow a Navy term (back when the navy had ships and stuff)
Steady as she goes.