Poll: Voter expectations lower for Obama this debate
October 15th, 2012
05:09 PM ET
2 years 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. LouieD

    Cracks me up how so many people here are bringing up the teleprompter joke. Just like you say Obama can't function without one, you guys obviously can't function without depending on ridiculous Republican talking points.

    October 15, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  2. david hippo

    You don't have to coach someone to come out swinging if the person has deep-seated passions and convictions. That's why Bill Clinton and even Joe Biden succeeded and why Obama fails. I don't sense any sense of urgency or outrage in Obama. Just an obsequious guy who wants to please anyone and everyone. I'm voting third-party. For all I care, these two can break out in Tourette's gibberish.

    October 15, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  3. Dick Hertz

    They expect Obama to do better because he really couldn't do much worse. He's a goner.

    October 15, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  4. carlos

    I love the pauses and all the "well", "Um", and dead air when obama tries to answer the questions. I don't think obama's and biden's IQs added together put them at average. I guess we know why obama has worked do hard to hide his college grades and past perfomance. Maybe a little too much weed and blow in those early formative years.

    October 15, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  5. Iamnotfooled

    President Obama will be agressive and not let Romney get away with lying like he did the last time. He will not be as "polite".

    October 15, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  6. dd

    Obama declared himself Eye Candy on The View. He has lost all credibility with intelligent people!

    October 15, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  7. jackie

    When obama talk about change in the 2008 election. He gave hope to many people. Some went back to school with federal grant. American started to eat healthy and participating in fitness programs. Those who never own a house was able to get one, two, three..etc. Those with high mortgage was able to refinance at a lower rate. We took the money and we took the opportunity. and what did american do. They voted the republican senate in which block every aspect of change propose by the oboma's administration, because change wasn't fast enough. Those were people who romantize with the hollywood version of change. Change does not come from one man change comes from every american. who are willing to stand up and said we are tired of the melarkey in washington. Those democrat who are still winding over the loss of the clinton race get over it. I can still see your pain on cnn. It's not about you it's about the american people. Romney is from a world of profit and not people. That what and how investment company thinks it all about the money and prestige. He was not mistaken about what he said about the poor and middle class american. That the cold fact about, the business mind. If I promise you a thousand dollar if you vote for me does not garantee you will get the money. Know the fact. Look at the man's resume and were he's coming from. A lepord cannot change is spot. Oboma cannot do this on is own he need the help of the american people, who are willing to stand up and fight for change.

    October 15, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  8. pjoe

    President Obama has been ok except for running up the debt ... and working with Republicans. I don't think he has the ability or desire to work with Republicans, or maybe Republicans are so disenfranchised from him that they refuse to work with him. Regardless of who is to blame, I don't think the two parties can work together. Maybe Mitt can work with Democrats since he had to do it in Massachusetts. Maybe they can work together to address out-of-control spending. Maybe. I'm leaning toward Romney on that hope.

    October 15, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  9. linda

    the mess that Obama walked into a rocket scientist couldnot figure it out. Four more years should be the breaking point.

    October 16, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  10. J.J.

    The Republicans just made it their agenda to make sure that Obama is a one-term president. I think the American people are smarter than to give into those fascists. Bush is the reason the economy is the way it is right now, and Obama is getting this country moving in the right direction. 1) Healthcare 2) Bin Laden captured 3) DADT, a discriminatory policy, repealed. Those are at least 3 accomplishments... In addition, economist Paul Krugman has written in his article "Triumph of the Wrong?" that we do not need the austerity measures which the Republicans propose for the economy. Obama deserves another term.

    October 16, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  11. Loyal Northern Democrat

    While I support the party, a Nigra cannot hold a job unless he can con a big butt while woman with blonde hair. Sadly, our communist party does seem to have an uphill battle this year. Moscow is helping as well as the crack dealers, pimps and welfare recipiants, but it may not be enough.

    October 16, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  12. J- dawg

    Well of course expectations are lower, like his presidency... He failed.

    October 16, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  13. Consequence

    Obama will do better tomorrow than he did at the first debate, but Romney is correct....Obama cannot argue and reason his way out of his record. Obama was an experiment in faith without substance and the experiment has proved lack lustre. The U.S. simply needs more than Obama can offer and, frankly, it needed more than Obama could ever offer. Romney has a proven record of executive leadership and managerial excellence in every facet of his life. And, as his wife said, given the task, "Mitt does not fail."

    October 16, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  14. Loyal Northern Democrat

    Sadly, it does not appear that our communist party leader will be able to hold a job for more than 4 years. That is typical for a Step and Fetch It, but is not typical for the welfare bums and other democratic supporters in Moscow.

    October 16, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  15. Loyal Northern Democrat

    Show your support of Obama! Buy a statue of him dressed in a jockey uniform that you can put on the curb in front of your lawn!

    October 16, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  16. John

    President Obama here is my advice: whatever Mr. Romney says look into his eyes and say the following: today is Tuesday October 15 what is your position going to be tomorrow? or the Next day or the Next and then proceed to List EVERY inconsistencey from Mr. Romney within the two mninutes that you have, call him a liar and expose his flip flops and stop trying teach math to people, voters do not understand calculus but they do understand the word LIAR!

    October 16, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  17. calvin

    romney had better watch is back with the press and obama gang of lie's he in for a real butt fuuking 10/16/12. the kool aid drinkers are in full force.

    October 16, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  18. ColoradoJoe

    anyone interested in a new fact from NY Times?
    As Massachusetts Governor, Romney Was Often Away
    More interested in funding events (to be a president) than doing his job. And this guy is going to run the country? He didn't even run his own state. No wonder it came in 47th in jobs when he left.

    October 16, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  19. coldhoist

    Obama and his advisors made a huge tactical mistake. at the first debate. They violated two important rules of combat.
    First–never underestimate your enemy. Their thought Romney would come out tumbling and bumbling. Instead, Romney came out as the aggressor, he controlled the debate. This threw Obama off his game.
    Second-never allow your enemy the chance to re-group and gain confidence. Obama had the chance to give Romney a knock out blow, but he allowed him the to get a second breath and gain confidence.
    I doubt the Obama can overcome his failure in the first debate. Romeny is smelling blood in the water.
    I believe Obama may have blown his chance for a second term.

    October 16, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  20. Larry Csehil

    Gee, who to vote for.....a guy who made a few million bucks off some books that he didn't even write or a guy who made hundreds of millions by starting companies like Staples, The Sports Authority(AKA job creator)....decisions, decisions.

    October 16, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  21. John

    I remember an ad from 1984 (Reagan v Mondale) with the jingle "Tell the you remember", I am hoping that people are not so fing stupid that they have forgotten the bush presidency, I hope that people don't forget that it was wars that the bush presidency got us into that have hiked the defici and continue to increase it because we are still at wart, I hope that the don't forget that in 2000 at the end of Bill Clintons presidency that the candidates were talking about what to do with the surplus, the SURPLUS! I hope that people don't forget that the posturing advocated by Ryan/Ronney could get the USA involved in another war, I hope that people don't forget what Mr. Romney said one week and then said something else the following week, I hope people DON"T forget to vote because that way they have no one to blame regardless of the outcome but themselves.

    October 16, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  22. Neverson

    It is always easy for evil to recruit good people, as of Romney has done he does not have any destincty colour. He changes every now and then showing that he dont know who he realy is and what policies he will bring.

    October 16, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  23. Cindy

    These polls mean nothing. What matters is the polls in individual swing states. We still have an electoral system.

    October 16, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  24. tony

    Romney's tax returns should be a huge demonstration in favor of lower personal taxes creating US Jobs. So why won't he show us his this incredible proof???

    October 16, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  25. RudyG

    My expectations for Obama were never high. He's the teleprompter president without a roadmap for the economy. Demonizing everybody else, and standing up for Big Bird, isn't going to get it done!!

    October 16, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
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