We now have three polls by PPP, NBC/WSJ and Reuters before the Oct. 11 debate and three right after it was over, from AP, CNN and Rasmussen. So now we know who won the debate and who lost.

As we noted at the time, the big winner was Mitt Romney. In the average of the three polls taken before the debate, he was in second place at 23 percent of the vote. After the debate, he was alone in first place at 28 percent.

Cain also gained, although not as much as Mitt. Before the debate, he was in first place at 25 percent. After it, he had gained to 27 percent, although he had fallen back to second place behind Romney.

Rick Perry continued his slide, dropping from 13 percent before the debate to 12 percent, after his outrageous performance.

Newt slipped a bit from 10 percent to 8 percent. Ron Paul continued his descent to zero, also dropping from 10 percent to 8 percent. Bachmann held steady at 5 percent.

Here’s a rundown of the candidates’ pre-debate numbers, followed by their post-debate numbers:

— Romney: 23; 28

— Cain: 25, 27

— Perry: 13, 12

— Paul: 10, 8

— Newt: 10, 8

— Bachmann: 5, 5

So the only candidates to move up were Cain and Romney. Voters seem to be gradually coming to the conclusion that these are the final two who will duke it out. There are still many more debates. Here’s what each candidate has to do:

Romney must continue to handle attacks with smooth aplomb, staying unruffled and smiling while offering substantive rebuttals. And he must score hard against Obama.

Cain needs to win the argument about his 9-9-9 plan with concrete data, statistics, and facts. No more “apples and oranges” generalities.

Perry must learn how to debate without coming across as an animal.

Paul should drop out of the race.

Newt has more creative ideas than all of the others put together, but he won’t spell them out in the debates. If he doesn’t do it soon, we’ll stop waiting.

Bachmann must get traction from the Congressional deficit debates and Obamacare and make them her issues.

The next debate is Nov. 9 on CNBC. Follow it live with me at DickMorris.com.

To find out more about Dick Morris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.