Some random observations from the first GOP debate tonight.
I'm not sure the GOP debate will have done much to alter opinions nationally, but I think people in South Carolina who were paying the most attention will probably drift away from Mitt Romney to some degree, and will end up amongst the others, but probably not much support.
Rick Santorum answered a lot of questions well, but was grating in the way he turned answers about his opinion turned into attacks on others like Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich. I'm not sure that it's appealing to go after
Newt Gingrich started weak on Bain Capital re: Mitt Romney, but got a lot of applause and a lot of positive tweets on the occasions he talked about the economy and poverty.
Fox News was running a tweet-in on their live web coverage where people could tweet their opinion on whether each response to a question by a candidate was an answer or a dodge. Gingrich did well, Santorum mediocre and Romney poorly after the first hour. I'm not convinced the general public sees the debates through the same lens as hardcore politically junkies who are tweeting in their feedback.
Mitt Romney attacked McCain Feingold campaign finance reform laws - rightly - as being a disaster. I wonder how his recent endorser, John McCain feels about that.
Overall, I think Gingrich won, but I'm not sure it was by much. Santorum was decent, Perry did pretty well and Ron Paul was Ron Paul.