As we entered the final presidential debate Monday night, both parties were looking for a clear victory. But according to our Rhode Island political influencers, neither party felt their candidate was the dominant winner in the debate. That's the major finding of the Red and Blue Rhody flash poll sent out to local political influencers immediately after the debate ended Monday night.
For the third and final time President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney came face to face for a presidential debate on Monday night in Florida.
Obama and Romney faced off on Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida with CBS's Bob Schieffer moderating the debate. The format for the debate was identical to the first presidential debate and focused on foreign policy.
At the conclusion of the debate, Patch surveyed 53 Republicans and 51 Democrats, asking who they thought won the debate. Among those who responded, 37.5% of the Republicans surveyed said Romney won by a slim margin, while 12.5% said he won by a wide margin. Thirty-seven-point-five percent said they were neutral on his performance, while another 12.5% of Republicans felt Obama won by a slim margin.
Democrats surveyed this time around were not as confident in the President's performance compared to the second debate. Sixty-six-point-seven percent felt he won by only a slim margin while 33.3% said they were neutral on the President Obama's performance.
Our next survey question asked both Democrats and Republicans whom they thought the national media would declare the winner. One-hundred percent of the Democrats surveyed thought the media would declare Obama the winner by a slim margin.
However, the Republicans we surveyed were divided on this question. Only 12.5% of the Republicans surveyed thought Mitt Romney would be declared the winner by a slim margin. While another 12.5% felt Barack Obama would be declared the winner by a wide margin. Another 37.5% felt the President would be declared the winner by a slim margin. Thirty-seven-point-five percent of the Republicans said they were neutral on this question.
Moment of the night
When we asked both Republicans and Democrats what moment stood out during Monday night's debate, the answers were mixed on both sides.
Asked what moment would stand out in the minds of conservatives in Rhode Island one Republican responded by saying Romney's strong support of Israel. Another Republican responded by saying it was Governor Romney driving the point to create jobs in the United States to help be a world leader. Another response from the Republicans surveyed was the leadership qualities Governor Romney displayed throughout the debate.
Asked what moment would stand out in the minds of progressives and liberals in Rhode Island, one local Democrat pointed to Obama's retort when Romney said that the Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917.
"We also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed," Obama said. "We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we're counting ships. It's what our capabilities are." Another Democrat said it was Mitt Romney agreeing with many of the President's policies.
We asked both our Red Rhody and Blue Rhody political influencers what moment they thought would stand out in the mind of swing voters in Rhode Island from Monday night's debate? For most Republicans they thought Governor Romney's overall demeanor and the way he handled himself would be an important factor with swing voters. Several respondents said Romney came across more presidential. Another republican surveyed said it was Romney's plan for creating jobs that would help with swing voters.
For the Democrats, one respondent stated that having Mitt Romney agree several times throughout the debate with several of the President's policies would help with swing voters. Another respondent said the discussion during the debate on the auto industry would help with swing voters as well.
Will the Debate Make a Difference?
We concluded our survey by asking our political influencers on both sides if they thought their candidate's performance Monday night would increase the number of votes they get in Rhode Island come Election Day.
For the Democrats, 33.3% strongly agree that the President's performance Monday night will help wth getting more votes in Rhode Island. However 66.7% surveyed said they were neutral on this question.
For the Republicans, only 12.5% strongly agree that Governor Romney's performance Monday night would help with voters in the Ocean State. However, 62.5% only somewhat agree that Romney's performance would help with voters in Rhode Island. Twenty-five percent said they were neutral on this question.
Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swatch of influential local Republican and Democratic activists, party leaders and elected officials in Rhode Island. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in surveys, although not all responded to this week's questions.
Patch will be conducting Red Rhody and Blue Rhody surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in Rhode Island. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in our surveys that lasts just a few minutes, please email Rick Couto, Regional Editor at email@example.com.
Blue Rhody Survey Roster: Frank Hyde, Ted Jendzejec, Scott Guthrie, Gary Cote, Jared Nunes, Patricia Serpa, Kathy Patenaude, Lisa Tomasso, June Speakman, Joy Hearn, Anthony Arico, Mary Gasbarro, Jeffrey Breener, James Sheehan, Raymond Gallison, Louis Dipalma, John Edwards, Michael Sepe, John Lanni, Richard Santamaria, Joseph DeLorenzo, Judi Liner, Candy Seel, Bruce Rogers, Robert DaSilva, Joseph Polisena Frank Lombardo, Jennifer Russo, Carol Costa, Arnie Vecchione, Charles Tsonas, Vimala Phongsavanh, Gregg Amore, Joel Monteiro, Michael Morin, David Barboza, Catherine Tattrie, Kenneth Marshall, Antonio Teixeira, Raymond Gallison, Jan Malik, Marc Dubois, Mark Schwager, Carolyn Mark, Deidre Gifford, Tom Plunkett, Eugene Quinn, Chrissy Rossi, Bud Cicilline, Caroline Stouffer, Lou Raptakis, Stephen Ucci
Red Rhody Survey Roster: Glenford Shibley, Nicholas Kettle, Carl Mattson, Keith Anderson, Patricia Morgan, john Robitaille, Christopher Ottiano, Jonathan Harris, Steve Primiano, Bill DeWitt, Geoff Grove, Scott Fuller, David bates, Carol Hueston, Jim McGuire, Mark Zaccaria, Joel Johnson, Doreen Costa, Elizabeth Dolan, Robert Carlin, Ronald Warr Jr., Jack Savage, John Ward, Dan Gendron, Halsey Herreshoff, Chris Stanley, Mark Smiley, Marina Peterson, Bryan Palumbo, Joseph Golembeski, Joe Procaccini, Blake Filippi, Eileen Grossman, Mike Stenhouse, Joseph Trillo, Gail Ricky, Dawson Hodgson, Chuck Newton, Michael Isaacs, Jeff Cianciolo, Carl Hoyer, Ted Czech, Joanne Mower, Luisa Abatecola, David Sullivan, Clark Smith, Liz Smith, Mark Gee, Brad Bishop, Peter Costa Jr., Bruce Saccoccio, Mike Chippendale