A new poll from Pew shows Romney wiping out Obama's lead and jumping into first place. Gallup have the race tied, when before the debate, Obama was five points ahead. According to the same organisation, Romney won the debate by 52 points, the largest margin they have ever recorded.
Clearly I misjudged the debate and its impact (moral: the debate is meaningless without the commentary). I still don't think Obama was that bad, but he did miss a massive opportunity to close the race down. Everything was set up perfectly for him to either win or force a draw and thus reinforce the gathering sense of crisis in the Republican camp. Instead - well we know what happened.
It must have been hard for the people who have been busting guts to get him reelected, and who have done such an exceptional job to get him into pole position, to watch their candidate step in and screw it up all by himself. It must be depressing for all the volunteers in swing states who have been knocking on doors and throwing themselves into a cause for which they feel, in their heart of hearts, less enthusiastic than they did last time - because it turns out the man on whose behalf they're working appears even less enthusiastic than they are.
An Obama email to supporters this week was entitled "I can't do this on my own". To which Andrew Sullivan, one of the president's most influential and passionate supporters in the media, replied, "Oh, yes you can, Mr President. You just did. All by yourself. And we watched you live."
But the Obama failure shouldn't obscure Romney's performance, which was probably the more important factor. For many voters, Romney must have been an absolute revelation. Here was this guy that they'd heard was a loser and asshole on their screen, and guess what - he seemed like a winner, a pretty nice guy, and utterly in command of his arguments. What's more, he seemed like a moderate. It was, in effect, an introduction to the nation, a month out from the election (after he wasted his convention). Better late than never.
Romney's improvement isn't just about the debate: his campaign seems to have finally found its rhythm. They're doing a much better job of presenting the human side of their candidate, as well broadening out his pitch beyond the economy (he gave a well-reviewed speech on foreign policy the other day). But the debate has galvanised them.
Perhaps the most striking fact about last Wednesday was that it was the most watched first debate since 1984. Given the decline in TV viewing and interest in politics over that time, that's astonishing. And if you're an Obama supporter, deeply, deeply galling.
Having said that, I still think Obama will win. As usual, I agree with Nate Silver, who points out that on the fundamentals, like the economy and the electoral college position, Obama must still be considered favourite. But unless he shows a dramatic improvement over the next couple of weeks - in the debates and on the stump - there may not be much rejoicing even if he does win, even among his supporters.