In the first of three presidential debates held Wednesday night, Republican nominee Mitt Romney was the winner. That, according to our flash poll of Rhode Island Republican political influencers taken following the debate. By contrast, 25% of Rhode Island Democrats surveyed felt President Obama was the victor.
At the conclusion of the debate, Patch surveyed 52 Republicans and 51 Democrats, asking who they thought won the debate. Fifty-seven percent of the republicans surveyed said Romney won by a large margin, while 43% said he won by a slim margin.
When we asked the Democrats the same question, the results were divided. Fifty-percent responded that they were neutral as to who won the debate, while 25% admitted that Mitt Romney won the debate by a slim margin. Another 25% thought Obama won the debate by a wide margin.
Our next survey question asked both Democrats and Republicans who they thought the national media would declare the winner. Fifty-percent of the democrats surveyed thought the media would declare Obama the winner by a slim margin, while the other 50% were neutral. However, the Republicans we surveyed were not as confident with their candidate. Twenty-nine percent of our respondents thought Mitt Romney would be declared the winner by a slim margin, while another 29% were neutral for their response. Fourteen-percent thought Mitt Romney would be declared the winner by a wide margin, another 14% said they thought the media would declare Obama the winner by a wide margin. Fourteen-percent thought Obama would be declared the winner by a slim margin.
Our next question asked Rhode Island Republicans what moment stood out in the mind of conservatives during the debate. One response referred to the role of government. One respondent wrote: "Romney sounded Reaganesque when quoting the preamble to the constitution. Essentially stating that people need to be allowed to follow their dreams rather than be ruled by government." Two other respondents mentioned Romney's comments regarding the role of government. Another Republican response stated that "Obama distorting his own performance" was a moment that stood out.
When we asked Democrats what moment stood out in the mind of liberals and progressives in Rhode Island, one respondent said it was "how far Mitt Romney is out of touch with America, especially the middle class." Another person stated it was "moving medicare decisions to states." Another respondent said it was "Romney's voucher system for medicare."
Our political influencers were also asked if they thought their candidate's performance Wednesday night would make it more likely he will win the 2012 presidentional election. Eighty-Six-percent of the Repubicans said they somewhat agree that Romney could win based on this first debate. Fourteen- percent said they strongly agree. Democrats, however were not as confident about the President's performance Wednesday night. Fifty-percent said they somewhat agree that the president could win re-election based on his performance, while another 50% somewhat disagree that he could win a second term based on Wednesday night's performance.
Both parties replied at the end of the survey that they are looking forward to the next presidential debate which is scheduled for October 16th at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
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 activisits, 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