The affliction that causes national political commentators to project their own perceptions onto the public– let's call it Pundit Projection Syndrome–is affecting David Gregory's ability to come to grips with the fact that the public just wasn't as into John McCain's and Sarah Palin's debate performances as he was. Last night on his MSNBC show, Race for the White House With David Gregory (10/6/08), the anchor demonstrated his confusion in a discussion with liberal-leaning pundit Laurence O'Donnell:
GREGORY: Yes. Lawrence, let me show you another number here, which pertains to the debates in particular. Which ticket is doing better in these debates, Obama/Biden 50 percent, McCain/Palin 29 percent. What surprises me about that is that I think both of these debates have highlighted pretty strong performances by both McCain and Palin. You can argue who won on points, certainly. But in both of those debates, they were strong performances. This polling doesn't bear that out at all.
Luckily, O'Donnell was able to talk Gregory down by injecting some needed reality:
There's no polling that bears that out, David. The polling we had that night from CBS and from CNN all indicated that Biden had a very big win, like giant margins over Sarah Palin, and that Obama, to all of our surprise, had a very significant win over McCain on the foreign policy debate, which was supposed to be the McCain winning debate issue.