Page last updated at 08:24 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 09:24 UK

Voters' Views: Mary O'Neil

Barack Obama and John McCain have clashed in a fractious final TV debate before the US presidential poll.

Here Republican and Democratic voters from across the US reflect on how the candidates performed.

Mary O'Neil Training manager | Democrat

McCain is as awkward as Barack Obama is poised

Mary O'Neil
Age: 50
Lives: Denver, Colorado
Occupation: Training manager
Last election voted:
In 10 words or less: Forward-looking, seeking balance, life-long learner, passionate volunteer

"This debate was different from the others. The conversations were more heated and both candidates directly engaged with each other.

John McCain gave his strongest performance yet. But he is still plagued by an odd, uneasy body language. He is as awkward as Barack Obama is poised.

John McCain has difficulty keeping his emotions in check. During this debate, and in all the others, his demeanour reflected irritation, anger and contempt toward Barack Obama. This inability to keep his emotions in check is not a good quality for a potential president.

I don't think the debates have changed the race. Barack Obama is ahead in the polls because of two things. One - Obama has grace and natural leadership skills. Two - John McCain has made some terrible decisions during the race. For example picking Sarah Palin as running mate and going negative.

I feel optimistic going into the election but I am also realistic. After all, the country voted twice for George Bush. At least during this election the distractions that have worked so well in the past - Roe v Wade, gay marriage, gun control - have not been prominent in the campaign.

It is an exciting time for the US. I was a child of the Civil Rights era. I have long hoped for a day when a person of colour would serve in the top leadership position in our country."

You can add your comments and questions on Mary's views using the form below:

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The readers' panel has been selected from as wide a cross-section of people as possible and may not be representative of wider US public opinion.

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