The Fix is waiting expectantly for the third (and final) debate between President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney later this evening.
To pass the time between now and then, we did a bit of goofing around with the official Fix abacus to produce a few interesting charts/numbers/data points that set the stage for tonight's debate. They're below. Enjoy!
1. The third debate is the rubber match. Public opinion suggests that Romney overwhelmingly won the first debate and Obama narrowly won the second.
2. People are watching in record numbers. The first two presidential debates of 2012 are the two most highly rated presidential debates in the last 12 years.
3. The first two 2012 presidential debates have been inflection points in terms of search interest for the two candidates. (Not so much the vice presidential debate, interestingly enough.)
4. A near-majority of registered voters in the new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll say that the debates so far haven't changed their minds about their preferred candidate. (More on our take on what it all means here.)
5. The Obama enthusiasm edge from 2008 is no more -- at least according to the NBC-WSJ poll data. Here's a comparison of the likeliest of likely voters -- the "10s" in campaign parlance -- between 2008 to 2012.