Local reaction mixed on first presidential debate

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama shake hands before the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver. (Charlie Neibergall)
October 4, 2012 1:48:55 PM PDT
One day after the first presidential debate, polls show Republican Mitt Romney scored a win over President Barack Obama but many analysts aren't so sure.

According to political analyst Dr. Andrew Taylor, Romney seemed to be clear the winner.

"Gov. Romney came across much more strongly than the president did," said Taylor. "He seemed in control of the facts, very emotive which isn't something we're accustomed to with the governor, and the president really didn't have much punch to his points."

Many admitted Romney supporters agreed.

"He had a lot of answers to Obama as to what he'd brought out against Mitt Romney," said Johnston County resident Hope Poarch. "He had the answers for, and then Obama didn't have all the answers."

In fact, even candidates leaning toward Obama felt that Romney carried at least parts of the debate, due in part to the president almost seeming to play it safe.

"His whole thing seemed very much don't go out of the realm of, don't go where it's dangerous," said Wake County resident Bryan Kim. "Stay right here where it's safe. Stay calm. Stay cool; let him push the boundaries, because Obama is statistically so ludicrously ahead."

But some analysts say that attitude could be a mistake with undecided voters.

"I think you can take away from the debate that it didn't matter and it didn't change many minds, but if it did change any minds, it clearly did help Gov. Romney, and that will clearly help him in North Carolina where things are pretty close," said Taylor.

Still, many voters have already made up their minds well ahead of this first debate.

"I don't think Barack Obama put up a very impressive performance, but I definitely agree much more with the ideas that he put forth," said graduate student Levon Keusseyan.

"I don't think there's many people who are watching it," said Holly Springs resident Rebecca Charloff. "I think people are watching it keeping score for their guy, like 'Ya. He got one,' and so I think it's all a pageant."

And for the small number of people actually watching to make up their minds, there are two presidential debates left. Taylor said typically the last debate before an election proves to be the most influential.

So what about those early voters who are casting their ballots before the next two presidential debates? Taylor said those early voters are likely to be more hardcore supporters of a particular side, not the small group of undecided voters who these candidates are still fighting over.

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