Who Won the Presidential Debate? Romney Did, Say Local Politicos

President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney squared off in the first presidential debate on Tuesday, Oct. 3 in Denver, Colorado. Here's what Massachusetts Republicans and Democrats said about the debate in a flash poll.


Gov. Mitt Romney won his first debate with President Barack Obama on Oct. 3: that's the major finding from Red and Blue Commonwealth flash polls sent out to Massachusetts Republicans and Democrats immediately after the debate ended on Tuesday night.

Local influential Republicans polled in Patch's survey voted 86.2 percent that Romney won by a wide margin, with the remaining 13.8 percent voting that he won by a slim margin.

Local influential Democrats voted 19.1 percent that Romney won by a wide margin and 28.6 percent voted that he won by a slim margin, while 19.1 percent voted that Obama won by a slim margin and only 9.5 percent voted that the president won by a wide margin. Another 23.8 percent voted "neutral."

Asked who would be the consensus "winner" as declared by the national media, Democrats and Republicans opinions were almost identical, with the majority of each—51.7 percent of Republicans and 52.4 percent of Democrats—voting that Romney would be declared the winner by a slim margin.

Also, 24.1 percent of Republicans and 23.8 percent of Democrats voted Romney would be declared the winner by a wide margin, while 17.2 percent of Republicans and 14.3 percent of Democrats voted Obama would be declared the winner by a slim margin. No one from either side voted for Obama being declared the winner by a wide margin.

What Moment Stood Out? 

Asked for a moment that will stand out in the minds of conservatives in Massachusetts, Republicans cited a variety of topics and lines, but most common were Romney's phrases about "trickle down government" and the governor's repeated line about $90 billion in funding going to green energy, with the accompanying quote, "You don't pick the winners and losers—you just pick the losers."

Republicans also cited Romney's defense of his health care bill in Massachusetts and his stance on the Constitutional role of government.

"Opening answer and start of the debate by Mitt Romney," one Republican surveyed answered. "He started off knocking it out of the park and just went from there."

Democrats were less enthusiastic when asked for a moment that will stand out for liberals and progressive in Massachusetts, with one calling the debate a "rather doldrum affair." Some criticized the president for being too "dispassionate" and "passive."

"At the end of the first round, Romney took control and responded to the president when he should not have been allowed to do so," one Democrat answered. "That loss of momentum for the president never recovered. The president was never aggressive enough to impress the viewers."

Asked for a moment that will stand out in the mind of swing voters in Massachusetts, several Republicans cited Romney repeatedly returning to the theme of partisanship while characterizing as Obamacare as a partisan bill. 

Democrats expressed a variety of answers to the stand out moment for swing voters, with some saying Romney taking control of the debate, with others saying Romney did not provide a level of specificity for his plans.

Romney's Performance Makes it More Likely He'll Win in November

Of the local Republicans polled, 72.4 percent strongly agreed that Romney's debate performance makes it more likely he'll win the election, with another 42.1 percent voting they somewhat agreed.

None of the Democrats strongly agreed that Obama's debate performance would make it more likely he'll win the election, with 28.6 percent voting they somewhat agreed, 38.1 percent voting neutral, 23.8 percent voting somewhat disagree and 9.5 percent voting strongly disagree.

In closing opinions, Republicans expressed enthusiasm over their candidate's performance, with several taking shots at Obama not being able to use a Teleprompter and calling his appearance "uncomfortable" and "annoyed," and calling Romney's appearance and demeanor "relaxed" and "polished."

"Mitt surprised a lot of people tonight," one Republican said. "My Facebook newsfeed lit up the entire night with people on both sides of the aisle shocked at how badly Obama was getting destroyed."

Democrats expressed disappointment in their final opinions, both over moderator Jim Lehrer's control over the candidates' time to answer and Obama's performance, which was called "unfocused" and not aggressive enough, saying it let Romney slip away without being challenged.

"Obama simply didn't seem focused," one Democrat said. "Many times Romney contradicted his campaign promises so far, or his math didn't add up, and Obama didn't challenge him. It was very disappointing."

hammergjh October 04, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Anyone who thinks that Romney had command of the facts, think again. Most of the whoppers told at the debate were from him, big surprise. Know the facts, not what "facts" Romney is spinning. http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/debates/presidential/2012-10-03
Greenwood-1 October 04, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Wow great waqy to et todays talking points out their. If you put in a link people will think your obviously correct right? Evedn from such a reliable source as the nytimes... hummmm Long story short if you click the link and read the "true Sqaud" spin you'll read thjing like the 2 most reliable school survey do give MA schools top ranking BUT wait we found some tha don't !!! He lied, people died... oh sorry that was the last election You find economic analysis that assumes the ecomy is a zero sum game and therefore you can't possibly increase revenue if you cut rates. things like we yes 47 million Americans have applied for food stamps but hey theres a recession on so that ok, despite their own graph showing this about 25% higher that the last sustained increase. Spin Spin away, you keep those who want the chinese paid for free-bes but any independant or on the fence voter who actually whatched the debate saw your wqorst nightmare. A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE
Peter October 05, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Romney lost the debate when he promised to fire Big Bird and de-fund PBS! Silly postings. It's not enough for a candidate to 'look' presidential and to speak coherently. This election is about the extremists who now dominate the Republican party. They would become heads of agencies and judges in the courts. Look at the make-up of Romney's advisory boards! They would be put in charge of policy, the national budget, changes to the tax code, welfare, war, CIA, welfare, reproductive rights, etc.
Peter October 05, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Huh? Can anyone decipher this incoherent, illiterate rant ?
Greenwood-1 October 05, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Ok I'll admit to being keyboard challenged on that one. But WOW , a member of the Ocult trying to say "it's not enough for a candidate to 'look' presidential and speak coherently" ????????? Complianing, about a party dominated by extremes LMFAO, damn near pee'd myself Oh wait sorry it's only the other guys that need things like experience and a track record of accomplishments... Oops I forgot Romney has that... I guess we're back to its all Bushes fault next !!


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