PPP has their first post-convention poll of Ohio out and it shows President Barack Obama up 5 points, his largest lead over Mitt Romney since spring. Those polled also found Obama's to be a better speaker by nearly a two to one margin, which will be a critical measure as the "expectations game" starts up in advance of the upcoming presidential debates.
The accepted wisdom is that debate success hinges more on outperforming expectations than simply "winning" so after spending all election season tearing down an opponent, pre-debates a flurry of statements is released building up them up. One of he first such statement from this cycle came out yesterday:
"Vice President Joe Biden served over 30 years in the United States Senate, he's run for president twice and has served as vice president for the past four years. He is one of the most experienced debaters in American political life, and we definitely don't take the challenge lightly."
While this pre-debate praise salvo is comically out of step with everything else you'll hear from the Romney campaign regarding the vice president, it pales to a 2004 statement from former President Bush's top campaign strategist who wagered that John Kerry was the "best debater since Cicero." Yes, debate expectations are considering so critical that the same campaign people responsible for spending months dwelling on Kerry's inartful "voted for before voting against", felt it necessary to compare him favorably to a man President John Adams had praised saying, "all the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher united than Cicero."