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."

Bill October 04, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Obama was exposed. No TelePrompTer, no adoring media and an actual record to defend. Clearly Romney has a better command of the facts and his tact to the center was very smart. The right wing is not going anywhere and he needs to lock in the independents. A complete domination. Scary thought for Dems- next up Joe Biden vs Paul Ryan.
john October 04, 2012 at 11:48 AM
It wasn't even close. Mitt hit him with facts and that was really all that was needed.
John B Goode October 04, 2012 at 12:29 PM
I think the end of the debate said it all. President Obama walked over to Romney to shake his hand. Obama knows when it comes to details, his head's not in it and he can't put the type of planning and leadership in place this country needs. Romney clearly had the energy and grasp of the current state of the union. Even people who aren't 100% behind Romney should be able to recognize the relief he brings to the incumbents tiring retoric.
Bonnie H. October 04, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Right On!
John October 04, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Romney destroyed that clown.
Saber Walsh October 04, 2012 at 01:18 PM
I was concerned that Romney would not debate well, and pretty much felt the same for Obama since he seems to be always tied to a teleprompter. As an independent, I don't see that Romney really hit it out of the park, but Obama looked like he really wasn't up to it -- sort of like George W Bush did when debating Clinton, it looked like his heart wasn't into it. What Romney said about his healthcare bill in Massachusetts, love it or hate it, is true: it had to be a bi-partisan effort. The Affordable Care Act was RAMMED through Congress with a tempo that was well orchestrated to prevent debate and bi-partisanship. Tierney admitted he never read it before he put his most valuable asset on the line: his vote. Irresponsible, and I pray to God every night that we wake up in November with a largely new government ready to lead us the heck outta here!
Myron S. Stone October 04, 2012 at 01:51 PM
The most impressing thing at the debate was the moderator looked like a fool, Romney bullied him and he folded like a cheap suit. sempermike
Bill October 04, 2012 at 02:00 PM
You make a good point. Obama is based on ideology so it was his way or the highway. He has not reached out (even to his party) to cultivate relationships in Congress. Romney is a pragmatic guy - he is about getting thing done more than firmly held political beliefs. Some people criticize him for having no core, but I see that as valuable in today's polarized environment. We need a problem solver who will work with anyone. He proved he can, Obama proved he can't. We saw the true Romney last night - a pragmatic moderate business guy. He is no right winger and not really a politician.
Greenwood-1 October 04, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Elizabeth Warrens' worst nightmare came to life last night. President Obama looked and sounded like a man resigned and who doesn't really want the job anymore. Nationally, For those who only knew Romney from the Obama campaigns sound byites he came across as Presidential, respectful and very knowledgable. Whether you like him or not he estabilshed himself as a very credible alternative, As Gas hits $4 a gallon and people get their first Heating Oil billbefore heading to the polls it looks like Obama has already picked out an office for his new "foundation" where he can spend some quality time with Michelle and the childern. Don't get me wrong Obama will win MA, the shear numbers are in surmountable, but the base turn-out of mind-numbed robots Warren needs to have any shot at riding his coat-tails into the senate (which is apparently her only strategy) will not be their if Obamas energy level and performance don't improve. How big did Romney win?? Well Chris Matthews and Bill Maher thought he won, and all of Obama's spin misters had an emergency meetinjg after the debate rather than meeting with the media right after the debate - enough said - He won BIG. Sorry all you 1%'ers looking to screw miners and workers out of their health care & pensions, it's looking more and more like Elizabeth Warren just might not be there to help you out . I guess you still have to pay her 6-figure fees as your lawyer afterall.
Greenwood-1 October 04, 2012 at 03:03 PM
The format of this debate was to let the candidates interact and draw contrasts. I was expecting the typical so Mr. Romney whay did you Kill that woman with cancer?? President Obama: you tried to help so much are you sad you couldn't get Obamacare passed in time to help the woman Mr. Romney Killed? This was one of the most informative debates I have ever seen, Both candidates took their shots but did so politly and respectfully. You might not have liked the result, but really your going to float the idea that an NPR/PBS moderator was biased toward Romney??? Thats like John "double-down" Tierney running around saying "i'm shocked, shocked to find gambling going on in this establishment" But I guess thats the best you've got
C R October 04, 2012 at 03:05 PM
It was easy to tell the C E O. from the C O. ( Chief Executive Officer from the Community Organizer )
Anne Sweeney October 04, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Obama is a dreamer and idealist. Romney is Analytical and can execute a business plan for this country. Choosing Romney is a no brainer, despite his lack luster personality and his lack of Charisma.
Bob Page October 04, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I'll edit your comment. Choosing Romney is for a no-brainer.
hammergjh October 04, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Romney is a flip-flopping liar. He denied the "$5 trillion tax cut" plan but it is fact. Please don't fall for his blather. http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/108125/romney-debate-details-tax-medicare-pre-existing-contradictions-deceptions#
hammergjh October 04, 2012 at 04:51 PM
"execute a business plan". The gov't isn't a business. Not even close. I business plans to make money. A gov't spends money to support the country, infrastructure, military, education, regulation and the like. Do not confuse the two.
Greenwood-1 October 04, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Yes the supporters of "Trickle Down Government" don;t want to hear anything about efficency models, ROI, or ugly things like debt service. So how much of every tax dollar is spent on paying debt interest and do you realize at some percentage there is nothing left to provide any services. But if you believe that the governemtn is working fine, there is nothing you can hear to change your mind.
Greenwood-1 October 04, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Realy you want a debate about broken promises and interuptations about the numbers?? Did you know if everyone who is unemployeed stopped looking for work today we would have a 0% unemployment rate??? if the labor force was the same as when Obama took office the unemployment rate would be over 11% BTW we all know that when you cut taxes the Treasury takes in more money... Why?? More people get jobs and pay more taxes. Works everytime its tried and the history is extensive, on foriegn soil Bill Clinton often tells goverments that they can not over regulate or tax businesses if they want a robust economy Your listening to what you want to hear, niot what is real.
Madeline October 04, 2012 at 05:58 PM
I think Romney did a great job in the debate. He looked and acted presidential and confident in what he was saying. Obama was unable to counter most of Romney's points and started to pretty much babble.
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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