(and it apparently was for millions of Americans, as hard as that is for the rest of us to believe)...
...then with two caveats I think Senator John McCain won the debate.
Caveat one: winning the debate has only a passing relationship to being right about the issues, or even getting your facts straight. I caught gaffes and intentional distortions on both sides, although I'd probably give the accuracy award to Senator Barack Obama by a hair. But that doesn't really matter: because tens of millions of people who watched all or part of the debate did not and will not do the fact check thing. They are going to go on gut feeling and stage performance [like assuming that Bush 41 checking his watch or Nixon failing to wear make-up had anything to do with Presidential qualification].
Caveat two: McCain did two things that Ronald Reagan would have approved of (although he did neither as well as the Gipper would have done): (1) he scored on the what-would-you-do-different-as-President-due-to-the-bailout question, by coming up with specific answers of things he would cut (however minimal they really were) and calling for a spending freeze, which highlighted Obama's two-time attempt to turn the question toward things he thought needed more funding. I think that for the people up in caveat one [who, by decided for whom to vote at the last minute are the people who ultimately decide who won the debate] this will play against Obama; (2) he played the decades of foreign policy experience thing really well, and Obama didn't ever come up with anything to combat it...
An example: McCain's linkage of Ukraine to the Georgia crisis may have been total BS (I really, honestly don't know), but he name-dropped the leaders' names, made a sophisticated-looking connection, and--more to the point--added a dimension to his answer that Obama didn't appear to know enough about to dispute. Even if it turns out that everything McCain said about Ukraine was bullshit, Obama didn't have the facts to call him out on it. The same is true of his "failed state" comment on Pakistan, and his references to Lebanon, Bosnia, and Kossovo.
Debate is about perception; perception becomes reality. McCain would have looked more like a doddering, disorganized old man if many of Obama's answers had not been equally rambling.
Having said McCain won, however, it also must be said that he didn't win by enough. I give him a 1-2% bounce, which only partly nullifies the rush to Washington debacle.
But he has raised the same question that has been dogging the Obama campaign for weeks now: if John McCain is such a drooling old fool, how come Barack can't put him away?
The final verdict of someone not voting for either man: McCain on points, but probably not enough to blunt Obama's momentum from this week. That leaves Uncle Grumpy dependent on Sarah Palin to do well against Joe Biden, which is both Biden's to win or lose. On experience and knowledge he should be able to put her away, but the steady money says he'll either screw that up with a gaffe of his own or keep talking for so long that nobody will care.