Poll: Voter expectations lower for Obama this debate
October 15th, 2012
05:09 PM ET
1 year ago

Poll: Voter expectations lower for Obama this debate

(CNN) – Voters are divided over who will fare better in this week's presidential debate, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Monday, one day before the showdown.

According to the survey, 41% of voters say President Barack Obama will do a better job on stage, while 37% say the same about Mitt Romney, a margin that falls within the sampling error.

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The narrow gap represents a sharp difference to a similar Pew poll conducted two weeks ago, before the first presidential debate. At the time, 51% expected Obama to fare better, while 29% said Romney would walk away as the night's winner.

Obama's debate performance at the University of Denver was widely panned compared to that of Romney, who gained a modest bounce after the match-up. The two candidates face off for the second time Tuesday at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley will moderate the debate.

The Pew poll also found that independent voters have stronger expectations for Romney than they did two weeks ago. Forty-two percent of independents say Romney will win, while 31% think the president will fare better. Before the first debate, Obama was expected to win among the voting bloc, by a 44% to 28% margin.

Some of the president's campaign advisers on Sunday predicted a stronger, more assertive performance by Obama for this week's debate.

"He knew when he walked off that stage, and he also knew as he watched the tape of that debate, that he has to be more energetic," adviser Robert Gibbs said on CNN's "State of the Union."

David Axelrod, another Obama campaign adviser and former White House official, said on "Fox News Sunday" that Obama would be "aggressive in making the case for his view of where we should go as a country."

Some, however, acknowledged that the upcoming debate's town hall format may prove difficult for the two candidates to enter attack mode.

"It requires very good interaction with those people and the ability to be able to connect. You have to be able to come across as very likable in a town hall," Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ana Navarro said, adding that one of Obama's strengths is his ability to communicate with average people.

As the candidates gear up for Tuesday night's debate, a separate survey on Monday suggests that the race for the White House is a dead heat. A CNN Poll of Polls that averages seven non-partisan, live operator, national surveys conducted entirely after the first presidential debate on October 3 indicates Obama at 47% and Romney at 48% among likely voters.

For the Pew survey, the organization interviewed 1,006 adults, including 857 registered voters, between October 12 and October 14. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

– CNN's Ashley Killough, Kevin Liptak and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Polls • President Obama • Presidential Debates
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. FubarObama

    Well it look like Romney was right with that 47% number as the polls indicate. Who says the guy is not honest and smart. I find it highly unlikely that it will go much higher. When the Libya coverup starts being reported and the foreign policy failures come to light well it time to back the moving van up to 1600 Pennsylvania ave. Let me know if you need a hand, because the other 53% are ready and willing.

    October 15, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Some white people are just being honest about how they feel about black men, imagine all the others that will not hire a black man, or give him a fair evaluation, because they are angry about a black man being elected as President, how many black men have been fired how many black men have be abused by authorities just because of the election of Obama,

    October 15, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. Big Dave

    We have a 16 trillion dollar debt that is increasing by at least 2 trillion dollars a year, the only way to fix this is to make America into a different country than I grew up in. Neither side will tell you the truth, because we can not handle the truth. Either way we all will be shown the truth sooner than later. We have been warned for many, many years this was coming..............I worry for mine and my children's futures, I do not see a good future for the next couple of generations, that is going to be scary and sad!!

    October 15, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  4. Hillcrester

    I will watch the debate just out of curiosity, but my wife and I have already mailed in our ballots voting for Obama/Biden. None of the debates, done or yet-to-come, matter to us. We know which vision, which party's platform, and which candidates we prefer to occupy the WH. Debate "performances" are not relevant.

    October 15, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  5. usef

    let's send this sorry kenyan muslim packing!!

    October 15, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  6. Kate

    I suppose it's because when you're debating Romney, you just never know which Mitt will show up.

    October 15, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  7. debstar

    Looks like Namejkane was educated on the south side of Chicago. Good thing he/she doesn't work the teleprompter for POTUS!

    October 15, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  8. PaulC

    The voters should know they will have a variety of Romneys in the WH but each will be in lock step with the tea party and extremists.
    With him in the WH and a republican House (and possibly Senate) anything they want will slide through and you can be sure it will be for the 1%. If you enjoyed the George W. years then you will love the Romney reign.

    October 15, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  9. Larry

    2nd term Presidents are concerned with their LEGACYS nothing else. They do whatever they want to do, because they can't run for another term.

    October 15, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  10. Rick

    Most reasonable people expect that Obama will be as insightful as a box of rocks.

    October 15, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  11. Don

    Now matches the lower expectations I had when he got elected.

    October 15, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Pjosa

    Romney is a phony

    October 15, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. liberal disease

    even the left wing media advisors can't help this fraud now, I knew it in 08' i told my lib friends but they were fooled badly or just simply wanted to believe in this guy, or they just hated Bush, either way they were fooled

    October 15, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. Philipe

    I wish someone would ask President Obama this question: "You said you were going to have the most transparent Presidency in history. Do you feel like you lived up to that promise?"

    October 15, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. Indy

    Romney was allowed to lie his face off in the last debate and looked quite comfortable doing that but in the Town Hall format he will not be able to lie his way through the questions from the audience so I would expect Obama to do much better.Romney has a tough time connecting to humans and this will show in the town hall format, but Mitts is a professional liar so he will still be after another Oscar

    October 15, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  16. sunsudo

    Due to ObamaCare my employer has dropped everyone to only 4 days a week so that they would not have to go belly up paying for obamacare. The choice they had was to layoff 60% or cut one day a week from everyone to make us all part time. Thanks for the pay cut, and the higher taxes Mr Obama.

    October 15, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Namedoug – you are a fool.

    October 15, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  18. FlipFLopMe

    Didn't your momma tell you to stay away from them Mormons!
    you don't what exterrestrial lowlifes they hang with on Kolob.

    October 15, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. 200 TON HAMMER

    People are furstrated with not haveing a job and I blame alot of this on senator mitch MCconnell.24 months ago.he could
    have passed the jobs bill.

    October 15, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  20. ru serious

    That last debate just allowed us to see the "real" Obama, an arrogant, incompetent empty suit, if there ever was one. On the other hand, we got to see Romney, not the monster painted by the Chicago machine. Unfortunately, it is probably too late, since the MSM has been carrying the Obama water and the electorate is easily swayed by "celebrity". Ugh.

    October 15, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. Woman In California

    Romney is given an opportunity to present his points accurately and without media spin. Advantage Romney.
    ----
    Willard is given an opportunity to lie without interruption, therefore a better debater. Advantage Romney.

    October 15, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  22. wolfpackbob

    It is The Economy, Mr. President. Your Economy, Mr. President. You built that.

    October 15, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. ron paul

    lost to many jobs with obama , he had his day in the sun and failed . time for something new . and it's not a socailist.

    October 15, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. ron paul

    no more socailism

    October 15, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. Giulio

    I dont know what anyone else stands for....but i know what obama stands for.... decline... stagnation... no jobs.... welfare state... and god help us when the terrorists get their hands on Iranian nukes! Vote Romney ... or vote for a poor, bankrupt America under attack.

    October 15, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
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