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. Armyvet129

    In the four years since President Obama took office in January 2009, only 827,000 people have been added to the labor force, while during that same time period, 8,208,000 have been added to those not in the labor force. How much lower could our expectations really get?

    October 16, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  2. Marie MD

    The President and the Nation were blindsided by the twit's reversal and lies and the fools who believe this bully bishop is worthy of being our president can go with him after November 6 and live on planet Kolob.
    The twit even has a bodyguard, the head of the mormon church some guy named sugarman, call the Letterman Show to tell them that the mormon's are coming out fighting and not to call the twit names.
    This guy is a bully and as all bullies do they don't fight the real battles himself. They only bully those they consider inferior. Except that he needs to look at himself in the mirror every morning before he decides what lies or flip flopping he will do today.

    October 16, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  3. Kevin NJ

    We gave Obama a chance. We gave him 4 years like every other President. If you cannot fix the economy in 4 years you are out. Sorry, he deserves no special favors just because he is black.

    October 16, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  4. clarke

    I can only say the election can't come soon enough. There is nothing more either one can say or do. Let the cards fall where they may and pray.

    October 16, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  5. charlesName

    Obama 2012 & save our way of life as Americans. People look at the facts, not just what we hear. Romney/Ryan is not telling the truth.

    October 16, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  6. GI Joe

    Being retired, I've listened to everything Romney and Obama have said over the last 18-20 months.

    I've never in my almost 70 years seen a candidate flip, flop, and lie more than Romney. W (with Rove) came close, but not nearly as bad as Rmoney.

    I don't just listen, I also research a lot of the stuff they say on my PC and have found some truly unbelievable things that have gone on in Rmoney's life. For instance, did you know that in college at Stanford, Mitt used to dress in a State Police Unform, put a red light on top of his white Rambler and pull people over on the highway? Don't take my word for it, look it up yourself. Several of his friends thought him weird enough that they distanced themselves from him, never knowing what he would do next - maybe even injure someone.

    October 16, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  7. BinaryTooth

    Remember this from NBC news? "...our pollsters are concerned about Obama's numbers...."

    October 16, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  8. Joyce

    I can't imagine how anyone could vote for a man that has been on two differents sides of all issues. He flip flops on everyting and thiks it isn't noticed.

    October 16, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
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