Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

Debate #2: Obama wins

October 16th, 2012, 11:15pm by Sam Wang


Romney supporters must be disappointed at the lack of a repeat performance. From tax plans to Romney being called out on his Libya falsehood, including by the live audience (a must-watch), President Obama appeared assertive and in charge. Measures of who won:

CBS undecided voters: Obama 37%, Romney 30%, Tie 33%.
PPP Colorado voters: Obama 48%, Romney 44%, 58%-36% among independents.
CNN debate viewers: Obama 46%, Romney 39%. R+8 sample.
Andrew Sullivan: calmer now that Obama took charge. Sort of a human InTrade.
Ipsos registered voters: Obama 48%, Romney 33%.

For any debate it seems that each candidate is near-guaranteed that 20% will say he won (see Gallup numbers on debate #1). Keep that in mind, i.e. subtract 20 from each candidate to get a better sense of what these numbers mean.

Note that I am leaving out nonrandom samples such as the Frank Luntz hand-selected panel on MSNBC because we do not know whether they were selected to lean in one direction or the other. For the same reason, Web surveys are inadmissible as evidence.

The number of viewers (Nielsen) was down only 2% from the first debate: 65.6 million viewers this time, 67.2 million last time.

It is hard to know how this will affect coming polls. Two scenarios:

  1. The 5-6 point slide that followed debate #1 could be entirely explained by voter mood swings. Even if Romney supporters increased their probability of voting by just 5%, and vice versa for Obama supporters, that could have accounted for the shift. If that’s the case, it will become apparent in a big way as moods swing back.
  2. Alternately, Romney (and the media aftermath) really did persuade voters in that first debate. In this case we should expect a smaller change.

In any case, presumably the story line as told by the press will change again. Also – note that state polling slowed down over the last few days. It might be hard to distinguish Debate 2-induced change from pent-up changes that have gone unmeasured.

Tags: 2012 Election · President

106 Comments so far ↓

  • Olav Grinde

    All four snap poll that I saw had Obama winning by a clear margin. I look forward to the post-debate polls that matter.

    My own take? Obama was decisive, calm and presidential. He repeated called Romney misleading, quoting the Governor’s former statements and positions.

    A highlight of the debate was when the moderator gave Romney live fact-checking and told him he was wrong.

    I was also impressed that Obama did not dumb down his answers. For instance, stating clearly that “some jobs are not coming back”.

    • NY Romneyite

      4-7 points on a 3-4ish point MOE? Some people have a different opinion on “a clear margin.” When Romney won by 50 points in debate 1, that was a game changer. Winning by single digits is exactly the sort of the debate the press was talking about two weeks ago, i.e. one that hasn’t generally seemed to matter.

  • Ohio Voter

    I would comment, but I have to go to bed, next to my wife I found the way God intended.

    #RomneyBinder

  • eigenperson

    I love that Andrew Sullivan’s mood is listed along with a bunch of polls.

  • CobaltinSF

    It’s Over. 4 more years!!!

  • Ms. Jay Sheckley

    Here’s a debate tweet by
    Alexandra Petri [@petridishes]:
    “Most importantly, I want all assault rifles to be raised in loving traditional two-parent homes #debate “

  • Anbruch

    Ha! So now Sullivan has been elevated into a poll data point on par with snap polls. I’m not sure what he measures exactly, but I suppose it’s about as useful a measure as the other numbers up there.

    • wheelers cat

      its social network theory 101.
      Andrew has influence.

    • David

      He’s a strong measure of the enthusiasm of Obama’s supporters.

    • E L

      By the bye, Sullivan’s instant freak out reaction to the first debate was quite accurate. Post first debate, the Median EV Estimator looks like Felix Bumgartner on a good day.

  • dave.james

    The Willard fans with whom I have contact are, in fact, focused on the New Republican political terrarium. They truly are not disappointed. I suppose, in a way, they are lucky. I still shake a little thinking about how inept the President seemed in debate one.

    • Obama 2012

      Yeah… sometimes when I look at the way these people respond to the worst news for their side… and I think – wow, that would be nice – to be that deluded. … Maybe Obama will win on November 6th and these folks won’t even realize it. Or will they finally wake up from their daydreams and go nuts?

    • NY Romneyite

      You are missing an important fact – last night wasn’t anything like Debate 1. Last night was a bitter fight that Obama came out slightly ahead on. Fine.

      Debate 1 changed the entire narrative of the race. A single digit debate victory (among RVs by the way at least for CNN) just isn’t going to move public opinion by 5 points in a race that has struggled to move all year (which according to the meta margin is what Debate 1, a 50 point victory for Romney did).

    • Anbruch

      When PPP started adding a question in their polls about vote stealing and voter fraud, more than 50% of Obama supporters and about 70% of Romney supporters said they expected the other side would cheat in the election. If the results are close at all, I expect a lot of accusations about stolen elections.

  • Brian

    I think it’s a joke that the snap polls are not more overwhelming in Obama’s favor. If we are now scoring based on looking like you “want this”, like after debate one, the winner was clear. By the end, Romney looked like a beaten man, returning to the usual passionless word salad.

    • Obama 2012

      Agreed. I really think these snap polls are greatly underestimating the size of Obama’s domination. He tore Romney a new one tonight. And not only that; Romney looked like such a smug entitled jackass throughout the night. I can’t imagine that plays well with people.

  • 538 Refugee

    Can we put our heads in the sink to put out the hair fires yet?

  • John

    Rightish commentators here seem to be calling it a draw, which is pronounced “clear Obama victory.” Similarly-inclined journos overseas (Daily Telegraph in the UK is my best data point for overseas GOP-leaning opinion) are saying flat out that the President won.

    • Obama 2012

      Seriously, these people will never admit they lost. They are are in deep denial.

      That’s the one of the differences between liberals & conservatives (that we saw after debate 1) … liberals can certainly admit when their guy got beat (even if it was due to lies…)

    • Some Body

      Only this tendency to be deluded (or to play deluded) appears to have an advantage attached to it: Obama’s own supporters calling the first debate against him played a significant role in his dive in the poll numbers.

    • Show Your Work

      I don’t chalk this up to simple self-denial, or wishful thinking. I think this is another example of GOP strategists trying to define the terms of the election. From carefully timed release of partisan polling, to consistent talking points, voter suppression, and now a complete refusal to ever admit error or poor performance, this is all symptomatic of a very Orwellian attempt to frame every aspect of our political discourse in terms favorable to their side. It will be interesting to watch how much more frantic and desperate these tactics become as the inevitable demographic tide begins to consume them.

  • Venkat Ranganathan

    A good debate – measured execution by Obama that was excellent and presidential. Romney showed that he is one dimensional

  • Tim in CA

    So refreshing to see simple debate analysis without the spin. Obama won the debate. It’s as simple as that. I look forward to watching the meta-margin revert back to it’s long-term median at Obama +3 over the next week.

  • 538 Refugee

    Romney came across as concerned, engaged and likable in the first debate. That impression was made and I don’t see it being entirely unmade between now and the elections. He also came across as a moderate. That CAN be undone to some extent. I won’t even try and put numbers on this but I don’t think the race ever goes back to pre-debate levels for Obama. Maybe it is the undecideds that will ultimately throw up their hands and decide not go vote.

  • Cobalt1964

    Obama: Game, Set, Match. It’s over. That’s all that there is to say. Polls and commentary be damned. Everyone knows it.

  • else

    @538 refugee: Why can’t it be undone? I think that impression is arguably tenuous against months and months of people not trusting the guy and then him coming across as untrustworthy tonight.

  • pechmerle

    The snap polls tended to show that Obama won. But they had large margins of error. My impression is that the differences were within the margins of errors, and so the snap polls actually told us nothing. Sam?

    • DPB

      It is true that you are unable to discern between a real shift and noise if you have smaller numbers; however, you would expect all polls to fluctuate about. If they have all gone in the same direction then it may be indicative of a real effect.

  • Steven J, Wangsness

    From focus groups, it’s apparent that a lot of undecided voters still think that Romeny has some great economic track record. I hope Obama folks take the lesson from their own focus groups that they need to destroy this myth by pointing out Romney’s lousy job-creation record in Mass., not to mention that he only saved the Olympic budget by injecting a billion in federal subsidies.

    • 538 Refugee

      SJW. Both sides will be saving something to put out at the last minute. Usually something they don’t want to give the other sided time to refute.

    • Olav Grinde

      Those are excellent points!
      Haven’t heard anyone else underscoring that Olympics Chief Mitt Romney needed a bailout.

  • Steve

    “Are you going to believe me, or what you see with your own eyes?” – Groucho Marx

    Sorry going with my eyes on this one. Not even close. Obama crushed. Print it.

    • Some Body

      “And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
      That palter with us in a double sense;
      That keep the word of promise to our ear,
      And break it to our hope.” — William Shakespeare

      When you say “Obama crushed”, Steve, do you mean to say “Obama crushed Romney” or “Obama was crushed”?

    • wheelers cat

      Some, your red phenotype is showing.
      Romney got rattled. He looked old, pale and tired.
      He got uncalm at points.
      Crowley did a good job I thought.
      I also thought Romney showed his age in the stage presentation, with two men walking about. Whole body shots allowed Obama’s natural physical grace to be apparent, unlike the headshot format of the first debate.
      Obama is 14 years younger than Romney.
      Where he observedly “crushed” Romney was body language.
      Romney lied totally about #romneybinder. Hes getting crushed on twitter for it.
      http://blog.thephoenix.com/BLOGS/talkingpolitics/archive/2012/10/16/mind-the-binder.aspx
      Hopefully the women involved in MassGAP get some airtime this week to debunk him.
      Meanwhile, #romneybinder is trending on twitter.
      The lying is just breathtaking.

    • Some Body

      Cat, I’m glad to see my efforts to appear balanced are working :-)

      Actually, I’m not from the US, so the colour-coding doesn’t apply in the same way. You may indeed say I have a red phenotype, but in the original sense of “red” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Communist_Manifesto).

      Seriously, I was just remarking on the ambiguity of the phrase “Obama crushed”.

    • wheelers cat

      Some, half of homo sap. has some degree of organic conservative tendency, half has some degree of organic liberal tendency. Genes are gaussian.
      ;)
      That is what I mean by red/blue phenotypes.
      Its a reference to neuropolitics, red/blue genetics and the biological basis of behavior.

    • wheelers cat

      “Seriously, I was just remarking on the ambiguity of the phrase “Obama crushed”.

      and no you weren’t. you have a history of other commentary on this blog that leads me to infer your organic conservative tendency.

    • Oscar Wildebeest

      It was actually Chico who said that, not Groucho (in ‘Duck Soup’). Just sayin’.

    • Some Body

      Cat – I have a history of many things. Here on PEC, I did find myself often reacting to what seem to me to be overly-confident and complacent attitudes. Being all rosy about a candidate’s prospects is not the same as supporting that candidate and vice versa.

      As for the genetic basis of political opinion – I haven’t studied the subject closely, but at first glance the evidence seems quite slim, and the counter-evidence (people changing their political outlook in the course of their lifetimes, moving away from their parents’ views, whole societies evolving in one political direction or other over biologically negligible time) is just too obvious and abundant. I don’t think genetic accounts of political views are any better science than genetic accounts of class, gender and race differences. It’s just a way to avoid political issues and to disregard the structural effects of inequality on society – basically, the kind of thing rabid right-wingers like doing.

    • wheelers cat

      ah yes, once again Some displays his organic conservative tendency by rejecting science and flipping the argument.
      You can educate yourself on neuropolitics and red/blue genetics starting here.
      “To back this up, I listed seven published studies showing a consistent set of physiological, brain, and “attentional” differences between liberals and conservatives. Later on my blog, I listed no less than eleven studies showing genetic differences as well.”
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-mooney/want-to-understand-republ_b_1262542.html

      There are measureable between group morphological and functional differences.
      Just because you “feel” this is wrong doesnt make it wrong.

    • Olav Grinde

      @Wheeler’s Cat: Romney getting fact-checked and proven wrong even about the women-binder? Ouch! Now that this has become a meme, the Obama Campaign could score big by making an ad pointing out the lie.

    • wheelers cat

      Olav, it went right to trending on twitter.
      I think #bindersfullofwomen was a gaffe.
      https://twitter.com/search?q=%23bindersfullofwomen&src=tren
      Are all conservatives tone deaf to culture or is it just Mitt?

    • wheelers cat

      Olav, I think we can predict Romney is going to slide with women this week.
      #bindersfullofwomen is the top trend on twitter and the tumblr has gone viral.
      http://tinyurl.com/8dydrda

    • Some Body

      Cat, being skeptical about a particular theory, which, so far as I know, is very far from enjoying any sort of consensus among scientists (and quoting somebody boasting that s/he can cite 7 scholarly publications – not saying what kind of publications or how robust is the data – leaves a very dubious impression), is not being anti-science.

      As any scholar knows all too well, the world is full of funny theories and plain pseudo-science. Now, that a theory sounds funny is not yet an a-priori reason to reject it, of course, and a small minority of those funny theories may well, with time, turn out to be correct, or at least to contribute some important insights that will influence the development of science in the future. I’m by no means saying that shoddy claims should be suppressed (that would indeed be anti-science).

      But to take a shoddy theory and declare that anybody showing a prima facie skeptical attitude toward it is “anti-science”, well, is a bit ridiculous really. It’s also a very uncivilized style of conducting a discussion.

  • Obama 2012

    Tonight Romney was not only wrong on every issue the matters… not only was he a liar… but he was also overly aggressive to the point of seemingly being mentally imbalanced (remember what his wife said about being concerned for his mental well being?)

  • CobaltinSF

    It’s done. Why beat a dead horse?

    • Olav Grinde

      In order to throw conservative pundits more red meat — and tender at that.

  • Ron

    Romney destroyed him again–will be landslide far worse than reagan versus carter–obama aggresive but angry did not connect with voters–sad

  • Patrick Draut

    Dr Wang-

    Is it possible that tonight’s victory is larger than the snaps indicate… Actually erasing Romney’s gains from D1 and shifting towards Obama opposed to looking at the starting point of D2 as even for both candidates?

    • NY Romneyite

      I’ll give you a clue. No it’s not possible. Look at the internals on some of those polls. “Who won the debate?” is not always heard by questioners as “Who are you more likely to vote for?”

      I think more folks than you think are responding “Yes Obama won the debate” the same way they might say “Yeah, the Packers were the better team tonight.” Doesn’t mean they aren’t still Bears fans.

    • NY Romneyite

      Whereas by point of contrast, after debate 1, lots of people living in Iowa said “Wait a second, I know my buddies love the Bears, but I need to take another look at those Packers.” Very different results.

    • Patrick Draut

      Thanks for the clue.

      I really appreciated the football analogy that uses a clear quantifiable scoring system just like the debates.

      It makes a lot of sense now.

  • ChrisDC

    When looked through the prism of the extent to which Obama’s post-first-debate slide was due to women leaving, I think he made significant strides in recouping their support with his performance tonight.

    Romney’s answers on pay equality ranged from flat to weird (“binders full of women”) and Obama scored by pointing out that Romney has been noncommittal on Lilly Ledbetter and that women’s health issues are also family and economic issues. Obama also had a much more compelling personal story about being raised by his mother and grandmother, relating to the equal pay piece.

    Meanwhile, I think Romney’s attempt to bully Candy Crowley – and his overall tone of arrogance – will not play well with women voters. The shift there could be enough to put Obama’s numbers back to where the “fundamentals” predict for Nate Silver: a small but decisive 2-point lead.

  • Brad

    President Obama beat Romney worse in this debate then Romney beat him in the first. Obama didn’t have any moment in the first debate that was nearly as bad as Romney’s flub of the Libya attack. Obama’s poor performance in the first debate was more a cumulative effect of his mannerisms and lack of engagement. Romney looked clearly undone during the Libya exchange. The audience cheering the moderator’s “fact check” of Romney was a just the culmination of sentiments that built throughout the debate.

    I attribute the smaller margins in the post debate polling of debate number two versus debate number one to the fact that, unlike conservatives, liberals admit when their guys lose.

  • Rollah

    When Mr. Wang returns, perhaps he can answer this: why has the 1st debate made so much of a change in the landscape? And if it has, should not the 2nd reverse that change?

  • ...the rest of the story....

    CBS tweeted shortly after the debate that “65% thought Romney would do a better job on the economy (down from 71% [before the debate]); 34% said Pres Obama would (up from 27%).”

    Forty-nine percent said Romney was a strong leader, compared to 46 percent for Obama. Forty-nine percent said Romney would better handle health care, versus 46 percent for Obama.

    Romney scored 51 percent approval on taxes, and 59 percent on the deficit, compared to 44 percent and 36 percent for Obama, respectively.

    • Obama 2012

      The fact that this was a sample clearly skewed towards Romney (71% to 27% thought Romney would do a better job on economy prior to debate – which is obviously insane – the Republicans are always terrible for the economy) makes Obama’s advantage on the “who won the debate?” question even more impressive.

      I really think all of the snap polling is underestimating the magnitude of this victory. This was a monumental ass kicking tonight.

      President Obama will be reelected.

  • Eric Walker

    Short of the usual hair-on-fire worries, the issue has never really been Obama’s re-election: it is the Senate foremost, and then the House. The issue is whether Obama’s coat tails are long enough to extend down-ballot so as to keep the Senate and swing the House. Thus, the Meta-Margin seems almost as much an indicator of House capture possibilities as of Obama’s (highly probable) re-election.

  • rok

    Obama impressed voters who were in his corner already……Romney scored with Independents/Undecided on the most important issues (Economy/Taxes/Deficit)….ADVANTAGE Still with Romney

  • A New Jersey Farmer

    Voter finally heard the other side last night, and that will go a long way towards Obama recovering some of his lost numbers in the polls. Also, Mitt was the one who had the TV moments–faces, exasperation, attitude, and that will be endlessly replayed by the media which I believe will reinforce the idea that Mitt lost. In the end, this debate made democrats feel much better. Let’s see how this is reflected in the polls by next week.

    After Denver, many right leaning pollsters came out with polls immediately. I’m guessing they don’t do that this time, but I will give them credit if they do.

  • A New Jersey Farmer

    Interesting what happened with the RAND survey yesterday. What caused the shift, and will it reverse after this debate.

    • wheelers cat

      RAND is being RAND. Its pretty obvi that 10/4 (debate1) ended Obamas 47% bounce (which had begun to recede), progressed upward for 6-7 days, and then began to decline. Biden’s debate performance 5 days ago probably had some additional effect.
      Conventional wisdom was that debates dont matter much before Debate1.
      Has that changed?

  • Andy

    I was frankly appalled at Romney’s “You’ll get your turn” arrogance…it was him being a bully, but I also thought there was a coded racist appeal underlying it. He would never have said that to an older, white POTUS, in my opinion.

    • Froggy

      Andy, I think that Romney would have said the same thing to a white opponent. Having watched the Romney-Kennedy debates from their 1994 Senate race, this attitude on Romney’s part was very familiar.

      Also reminiscent of the Romney-Kennedy debates was Romney’s surprise attack on Obama for having investments in Chinese companies. Romney pulled a similar surprise attack in the first debate with Teddy Kennedy, regarding the Kennedy family not offering health care coverage to some workers in one of its businesses. It worked well then, but didn’t go as well for Romney last night.

    • NY Romneyite

      Stop. It won’t work this time.

  • Steven S

    The situation since then first debate reminds me of the Republican primary when, as the spotlight shifted from on (new-ish) face to another, the candidates experienced a brief meteoric rise. Bachmann, Trump, Perry, Cain, Gingrich, Santorum. But then as voters looked more carefully and the spotlight shined more brightly each candidate fell. The Romney after the first debate was a fresh face – the moderate that everyone thought Romney might be. Time and subsequent debates give the lie to that new image. Of course during the primary the ascendency went to the most radical new face and now it goes to the more moderate one. Still, a more realistic view emerges.

  • Ohio Voter

    Wow, big jump in the MM this morning.

    • Matt McIrvin

      I wouldn’t call it a *big* jump, by the standards of the past week, but at least it’s not dropping.

    • Michael Worley

      What poll moved the MM?

    • Sam Wang

      No idea. I set up that calculation so I would not have to ever look at individual polls again. Judging from the map, maybe NV or FL.

    • Ohio Voter

      It looks like a couple of favorable state polls for Obama this morning (YouGov and We Ask America) in Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, and Wisconsin

    • Froggy

      Michael, the MM was moved by a bunch of YouGov polls (10/4-10/11, which is before the VP debate) that showed up on Pollster last night. The YouGov polls included polls in 10 of the 11 swing states (no NH poll), and all of them were better for Obama than the margins at PEC. Here are the changes they wrought:

      NV: O+1 -> O+1.5
      PA: O+4.5 -> O+5
      MI: O+3 -> O+5
      WI: O+2.5 -> O+3
      IA: O+2 -> O+2.5
      NC: R+3 -> R+2.5
      FL: R+2 -> R+1

    • Michael Worley

      So this tells us the MM should have been higher sooner. Not anything new.

    • Some Body

      I also think it’s the YouGov bunch, but since they are all older than one week, they should only have affected states that had less than three more recent polls. I wonder which were those (don’t think NV and FL would qualify).

    • Froggy

      Some Body, the one week is from the date of the latest poll, and when there is a range of dates you take the average. The YouGov polls had an average date of 10/7 (I think the system drops fractions), which is within a week of the latest NV and FL polls (10/9 and 10/13, respectively). At least that’s how I understand it — it’s not my model.

  • Matt McIrvin

    Keep in mind, much of the state polling is just now beginning to move into the post-VP-debate period. Any recovery we see here in the next few days could actually be down to Joe Biden.

    • Matt McIrvin

      On the other hand, given that the national polling actually seemed to get worse for Obama toward the end of last week, we may not even be at the Meta-Margin floor yet.

      If not, it would be good not to assume that the numbers reflect the situation after the second presidential debate.

  • Olav Grinde

    “Also – note that state polling slowed down over the last few days. It might be hard to distinguish Debate 2-induced change from pent-up changes that have gone unmeasured.”

    Dr Wang, are you suggesting that Republican-leaning pollsters won’t be as eager to conduct polls after this debate as after the first Presidential Debate?

    ;)

  • Olav Grinde

    Two other polls worth noting, quoted by Nate Silver:

    A Battleground poll of likely voters in swing states who watched the debate had him winning 53-38.

    An online poll by Google Consumer Surveys gave Mr. Obama a 48 percent to 31 percent edge among registered voters.

  • Matt McIrvin

    I just got robopolled by an unknown entity last night, before the debate. I’ll be a data point somewhere.

  • saint

    The worst untruth told by a moderator in presidential history. Candy Crowley’s intervened, but she was wrong–Obama’s reference to “acts of terror” in his Sep. 12 statement was in a general, abstract sense, and came long after he had described the 9/11 attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions as demonstrations against an anti-Islamic video. Even Crowley seemed to realize what she had done: it wasn’t long before she walked back her own comment.

    • Some Body

      Disagree. It was a gotcha Romney tried about whether Obama used the term “acts of terror” or not, so Romney did in fact get it wrong. That this has very little bearing on any matters of substance is true, but you can’t blame Crowley for that.

    • Ms. Jay Sheckley

      Yeah, but could her retraction lead to pundits’ re-evaluation? I find myself afraid of what pundits will say, and antagonized by the other party’s reality. This election is making me ill.

    • Show Your Work

      Mitt’s 60-seconds of nervous stammering and stuttering said more than anything else in this exchange. He was clearly rattled and came across just as any bully does when directly confronted in a lie. He also was clearly upset that members in the audience were elated at this being pointed out.

    • Matt McIrvin

      What we’re talking about now is hair-splitting of semantic differences concerning “terror” vs. “acts of terror” and how specifically Obama was referring to Benghazi while he was talking about Benghazi, to serve a nebulous “coverup” story that never got traction outside of the right-wing echo chamber in the first place.

      Meanwhile, what it looks like is Mitt Romney jumping on a developing, tragic international crisis to make a nearly incomprehensible point about the insufficient terror-ness of some stuff Obama said.

      When Romney first did it, right after the attack, I was kind of concerned that he wasn’t taking any major hit for it, but I think a lot of people just weren’t paying much attention to him at the time (then the “47%” tape broke and dominated the campaign story). But he went right back and did it again in front of everyone at the debate, and Obama chewed him out for it.

    • JamesInCA

      There’s also his inconvenient reference to it as an “act of terror” on Sept. 13.

    • ed groome

      Late to this, but on reflection, especially when you review the tape, it’s a great reflection on the media coverage. Romney catches the President in a disingenuous statement about what he meant to say in the Rose Garden, as though parsing the transcript changes that. Obama, like a teenager in a classroom finding a convenient technicality to get himself out of a jam, presses the point, Crowley backs him up on the technicality but then says Romney has it right overall, receiving applause for each fact-check.

      The next day, the exchange is portrayed as a victory for Obama, a lost opportunity for Romney, and an embarrassment for Crowley, when in fact Romney was right, Crowley was right, and Obama was insincere. The soundbite — the gotcha moment — still rules above all.

  • Matt McIrvin

    …That said: the last debate is a foreign-policy debate in non-town-hall format, and if I were Barack Obama I would not count on Romney making the same mistake twice. I am sure he knows this.

  • Brian MacDougall

    I was chuckling out loud over the notion of Andrew Sullivan as a “human InTrade” and all that that implies, when my wife passed by the door.

    “Oh,” she said, “is it that Princeton thing again?”
    “Yes,” I replied. “Most of the time on the internet I feel like I’m slumming. PEC is one of the few places on the internet where I can go and feel dull among my betters. Or, if Andrew Sullivan is in the room, bettors.”

    On another note: big sigh of relief when Honey Boo Boo finally endorsed Mr. Obama. Is that what’s moving the polls?

  • Ms. Jay Sheckley

    To use Twitter to peek at public opinion, you don’t need a twitter account. Just go to twitter.com/search .
    To just search for debate use https://twitter.com/search?q=debate&src=typd .

    People were tweeting #mittlies when he did. One poor fellow turned it into a drinking game and halfway through got really ill and was tweeting STOP STOP

    Right after the event, these three tweets came up consecutively:

    [from Onion Politics ‏@OnionPolitics ]
    Tweet who you think won the debate. This a completely scientific poll and will determine the result of the election #debates

    [from Krystal Ball ‏@KrystalBall1 ]
    Big smile from the President after the debate tonight. Romneys look kind of ill. #msnbc2012 #debate

    [from Andrew Sullivan ‏@sullydish ]
    Mitt’s answer to easiest question imaginable was so sad. He boasted of universal healthcare as sign of his compassion. http://thebea.st/V7xk8A

  • MAT

    Methodology question for Dr. Wang – when a poll comes in that is a little stale (such as the YouGov polls that came in today with mid- dates that are close to a week ago), does the meta margin retroactively correct itself in the past? Or is new polling information only apply to current and future results?

  • soho

    That’s not what i read on the site you posted…..Last night’s debate was watched by less than the 1st.

  • John M S

    Gallup (likely voters) Romney 51% Obama 45%

    No candidate who has led in mid-October with 50% or more in the Gallup likely voter poll has gone on to lose.

    • Froggy

      It’s not like we have a large sample of close races where one candidate “led in mid-October with 50% or more in the Gallup likely voter poll.” I count all of two such situations (2000 and 2004), and in one of those the winning candidate (at least the guy who took office) lost the popular vote.

  • Froggy

    Obama’s current Intrade chance of winning: 64.2%.

    No presidential candidate who has had in October a 55% or more Intrade chance of winning, has gone on to lose. See how easy it is?

    • Sam Wang

      This bellwether comic by Randall Munroe seems appropriate.

    • wheelers cat

      I think the real predictor in this election is the woman vote… there are more female voters than male voters, and while Mitt has a chance at getting 63-64% of the white male vote, he ALSO needs 63-65% of the white female vote.
      I also predict #bindersfullofwomen is really going to erode the female vote for Mitt.
      And yes, it was a gaffe.
      Mitt is great on rehearsed message (what bot isn’t?) but he gets rattled easily and starts to shake himself apart and….hes a gaffe machine. And the reason for that is he’s tone deaf to contemporary culture.
      The reason I can predict #bindersfullofwomen will lose female voters for Team Romney with near perfect certainty is that AllahP is spinning like a top trying to say it won’t matter.
      http://hotair.com/archives/2012/10/17/the-lefts-got-a-fee-vah-and-the-on...
      Thats my bellwether– the opposite of whatever Hot Air tries to spin.

  • Marion E Dawson

    Ho Ho John M. Wishful thinking for Big Boss win. As Mass governor he rated badly except for Health Plan he now attacks President Obam”s
    health care Obamacare namely,modeled on his own plan. Such hypocracy. His personally touted
    Olympic head in Utah wasn’t so great, fact-check that one.The whole bundle of lies that are his talking points? A crock of dissimulation that thankfully was exposed by our intelligent compassionately for the 47 percenters and POLITE president as contrasted
    to a bullying disrespectful G.O.P. presidential candidate. More than 14 years BarackObama’s
    senior years were ex.posed. Romney looked old.
    moreover his ideas were old culled from George
    W.’s 8 horrific years that led us by lies into the
    Iraq war and our worst recession since the Great Depression.Wake up America, this candidate is a hawk who would lead us to war
    with Iran and friends in the Arab States. Romney is an actor whose lines and lies change
    with the weather.It would be America’s peril
    to elect him.John Wilkes Booth who assasinated Lincoln was a great actor, nothing more need be said.

  • Marion E Dawson

    See above.

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