Josh Marshall at talkingpointsmemo.com is usually too partisan for my taste, but I was interested to see that he had the same take on the debate that I did:
If you look at the dynamics of this race and the small but durable lead President Bush has built up over the last month, it comes less from people becoming more enamored of President Bush or his policies as it has from a steep decline in confidence in Sen. Kerry.
To put it bluntly, the Bush campaign has created an image of Kerry as a weak and indecisive man, someone that -- whatever you think of President Bush -- just can't be trusted to keep the country safe in these dangerous times.
Often they've made him into an object of contempt.
Whatever else you can say about this debate, though, whatever you think of his policies, I don't think that's how Kerry came off. I think he came off as forceful and direct. I suspect that most people who were at all genuinely undecided would come away from that 90 minutes with that impression.