I had my journalism students at Rocky Mountain College watch last week's Burns-Tester debate and write a brief story about it. When I asked for a show of hands on who they thought won the debate, they favored Tester by about 4-1.
Bear in mind: This is a group of busy college students. None had seen any of the other debates and none has followed the race closely (on a recent editing quiz, no one caught the error in this phrase: U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, D-Mont.). Their responses to the debate seemed to be based less on the candidates' positions than on how they answered questions and stated their positions.
I don't know that any of that means anything, but I thought the edge the students gave to Tester was striking. I've seen three of the debates and rated them all roughly as draws.