Analysis: How will Romney’s debate performance shift the race?
A week ago, most pundits were ready to draft Mitt Romney’s political obituary.
Romney’s campaign was mired in internal discord, pushing each other under the bus while the Republican nominee was busy insulting 47% of Americans.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama had pulled ahead in key swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Some polls showed the President leading Romney by double-digits.
The Presidential debate on Wednesday was Romney’s last stand. He had to deliver – and he did.
In Denver, Romney showed viewers a confident and assertive debater who dominated the exchanges and kept a subdued Obama on the defensive for most of the evening.
“Clearly, this [was] a game-changing event,” said Charlie Cook, Editor and Publisher of the non-partisan Cook Political Report, at National Journal discussion forum on Thursday. “Had this gone the other way, had Mitt Romney not done well, I think this would have been game, set, match.”
But, as Cook pointed out, the question is how much did the debate change the trajectory of the race?
At the very least, Romney’s performance reassured his nervous donors, who were considering re-allocating their campaign contributions to GOP House and Senate races.
Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster, predicted that Romney would see an improvement in his favorability rating, which has been consistently below Obama’s.
“I think that Romney came across to people as somebody who was more genuine than they had realized. And somebody they can see as ‘Okay, this guy could step into the Oval Office and have no problems doing that,'” said Bolger. “I think you are going to see a bump in the polls for Romney.”
While Romney is expected to pick up a few points in the national polls, it’s not clear whether he’ll make a significant dent with swing state voters.
Democratic pollster Fred Yang said that Romney’s performance made the General Election “much more competitive”.
“President Obama – I don’t think he did as badly as the pundits are saying this morning. I think the next debates he will probably have a different demeanor,” said Yang. “For our side too it signals the game is on and I think you’ll see much more enthusiasm.”
- WhatTheFolly.com: Commentary: Romney wins round 1
- WhatTheFolly.com: Romney retracts his 47% comment
- C-Span.org: Video of the National Journal’s forum on election trends on Oct. 4, 2012
- WhatTheFolly.com: Polls show Obama widening his lead in Ohio, Florida & Pennsylvania
- WhatTheFolly.com: Commentary: Mitt Romney writes off 47% of Americans
- WhatTheFolly.com: Commentary: Romney’s pathetic attempt to exploit deaths of U.S. embassy staff for political gain