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PA Politicos Split on Who Won Second Presidential Debate

Patch flash surveys of GOP and Democratic activists in Pennsylvania show diverging views of Tuesday's presidential debate.

A non-scientific sampling of Pennsylvania Democrats and Republicans shows they agree that national media will view President Barack Obama as the consensus winner of the second presidential debate —a town hall-style forum at Hofstra Univefsity.

"Overall, good debate.  Mitt shined, but was less shiny with the very assertive Mr. Obama.  Anything was better than last time for Obama, so that will be the take away from this debate," said a GOP survey taker.

Patch conducted Red Keystone and Blue Keystone flash surveys overnight of Pennsylvanians who are in involved in politics—elected officials, candidates and party activists.

Who won the debate?

Of 25 Democrats who responded, 17 said Obama won by a wide margin and four said he won by a slim margin. Two said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the debate. All but one said Obama would be declared the winner by national media.

Seventeen Republicans were more mixed in their assessment. Eight said Romney won by a slim margin while one said the former governor won by a wide margin. Three said Obama won, while four were neutral and one had no opinion.

The Republicans largely agreed that Obama would be proclaimed winner of the debate—most said by a slim margin.

Will the debate sway Pennsylvania voters?

Nine Republicans either strongly or somewhat agree that the debate will help Romney win votes in Pennsylvania. Sixteen Democrats feel that way about the debate helping Obama in the Keystone state.

One respondent commented, "The debate will not significant(ly) effect the outcome of the election. It is the ground game of persuading voters and getting them out to vote. With Obama's more than 37 field offices in Pennsylvania compared to Romney's 6, Obama is well poised to win Pennsylvania."

What was the most memorable moment?

Several Democrats and Republicans both singled out comments on Libya and moderator Candy Crowley's instant "fact check" of Romney as the debate's most memorable moment. A GOP respondent accused Crowley of "inaccurately refereeing in favor of Obama on 'terror.' "

Energy policy and women's issues were other highlights, the survey takers said.

"Contraception and women's health won back women voters who had slid to Romney," was one comment from the surveys.

Another respondent wrote that a highlight was "Gov. Romney ignoring the question that women don't need to be paid the same as men for the same job and women need flexibility so they can make dinner for their family. Is this 1952?"

Here are further comments from the surveys:

  • Neither candidate really answered any question but defaulted to embellished, dueling talking points.
  • President Obama will need to continue to work hard to counteract Romney's lift from the first debate.
  • Obama helped consolidate his base; Romney eked further inroads into undecideds, most importantly.
  • I'm very happy that (Obama) stood on stage and stood for his constituents.
  • I'm very concerned about all the lies Romney has been caught in.  It seems he says what he thinks people want to hear, and after the event they have to backtrack his statements.
  • As a person who never went to college but has achieved what I have by hard work, this concept of everyone needs to attend college is simply not true. We need everyone at all levels to make this country great again. The working class has not been represented well in recent years.
JS October 18, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Here's a quote from Obama's speech on Sept. 12, one day after the attack. This was not an off-hand comment, it was in an official speech given at the White House. Sorry that many on the right need the word "terrorism" in there instead of "acts of terror", I guess some are easily confused. "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done." Seems clear to me that he plans to find out who did this "act of terror", I don't understand how it can be confusing. Maybe his speech writers need to dumb things down a little for some. An example of an off-hand comment would be Romney, the day of the attack, politicizing the deaths of Americans - “I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” You might notice that in addition to the obvious lies, he never mentioned terrorism in his statement. He never even mentioned "acts of terror", which apparently are different from terrorism in some eyes.
Sue T October 18, 2012 at 03:11 PM
That's yesterday's Gallup poll results
Reader from Scott October 18, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Yes, too many lobotomized! NO RMoney!
Sue T October 18, 2012 at 03:32 PM
JS, you left off the two preceeding paragraphs: Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi. As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe. No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.
Sue T October 18, 2012 at 03:32 PM
He was talking about 9/11/2001 immediately before making that statement and many think that is the act of terror he is refering to. I think it is ambiguous and can be interpreted either way. I also don't see it as really an issue since he said days later that he won't call it an act of terror yet....(i.e. on the View). What I do see as an issue is that he didn't call it an act of terror at the UN. He played softball in that speech and pulled back to the video.

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