Washington: Americans who watched the third presidential debate Oct 22 are significantly more likely to say President Barack Obama did a better job than Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to a new poll.
The USA Today/Gallup poll, taken entirely after the last debate focused on foreign policy and held in Boca Raton, Florida, indicated 56 percent of debate watchers thought Obama did a better job while 33 percent thought Romney won.
Despite his poorly rated performance in the first debate, Obama came back and was rated the “winner” in the second and third debates.
These two victories appear to have enabled him to neutralise the impact of his poor outing in the first debate, with the two candidates ending up in a virtual draw when Americans judge all three debates together, Gallup said that this mirrors the closeness of the White House race overall.
A CNN/ORC International poll taken after the Florida debate also showed Obama with a slight edge over Romney. Forty-eight percent of registered voters who watched the debate thought Obama won while 40 percent thought Romney did the better job.
Obama’s eight-point advantage over Romney came among a debate audience that was slightly more Republican than the country as a whole and is just within the survey’s sampling error.
The Gallup poll also indicated debate watchers split evenly on which candidate did a better job overall in the three presidential debates. Forty-six percent said Romney did the better job and 44 percent said Obama – a two point margin that is well within the survey’s sampling error.
A Gallup survey taken after the second presidential debate in Hempstead, New York also showed those who watched the second presidential face-off thought Obama won, 51 percent to Romney’s 38 percent.
Following the first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado and a noticeably lacklustre performance from the president, debate watchers believed Romney won by a wider margin, 72 percent to Obama’s 20 percent.
Thursday’s Gallup poll was conducted Oct 23-24 among 746 debate watchers aged 18 and older. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.