2008 US Election

Election Debates verdict: Obama wins third presidential debate in a 5-2 split decision

Election Debates’ expert international panel has awarded the third and final presidential debate of the 2008 US election to Senator Barack Obama in a 5-2 split decision.

Judges Jason Jarvis, Ian Lising, Sumithra Rajendra, Neill Harvey-Smith and Omar Salahuddin gave the debate to Obama while Ray D’Cruz and Bob Dalrymple gave the debate to Senator John McCain. (Read individual adjudications by clicking on the adjudicator’s name; view judge profiles here).

Judges agreed that this was the most ferociously contested debate of the three – Sumithra Rajendran saying it was “an extremely engaging and lively debate which didn’t leave room for yawns.”

The judges differed on the impact of McCain’s aggressive manner. The majority being more impressed by Obama’s calmness. Neill Harvey-Smith said the “end product was that Obama looked and sounded presidential, while McCain’s aggression got the better of him.”

The minority were swayed by McCain’s tactical approach, particularly early in the debate, where he turned the economic issue into a tax debate.

Election Debates provides indepedent assessment of election debates through the application of objective rules of debate. Our analysis is free from political spin and media bias.

Read the individual comments and scores of the judges below. To learn more about how our judges assess debates read this post.

Read the debate transcript here.

What did you think about the debate?


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