On the presidential polls front, the news is that there is no news.
The first presidential debate is over, so who will get a polling bump and by how much? The main polling sites — including Gallup, Rasmussen, Public Policy Polling, Pew, etc — of course can’t have the turnaround of a couple of hours to put together any meaningful or insightful data concerning how the presidential debate influenced the wider election 2012 polling. So we’re left only with speculation.
Wednesday’s first presidential debate ended with a consensus saying Republican Mitt Romney won.
Many agree that President Obama looked stale, rusty, cold, uninterested, short, and/or bored. Romney will likely see a small, though unsustained polling boost.
Ahead of the first presidential debate in Denver on Wednesday night, President Barack Obama held the momentum.
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday and Thursday showed Obama attracting support from 49% of voters nationwide, while Mitt Romney earned the vote from 47%. One percent (1%) prefer some other candidate, and 3% are undecided.
It is important to note, however, that most of the interviews for this survey were conducted before last night’s first presidential debate between Obama and Romney. The daily Presidential Tracking Poll is based on telephone interviews of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis.
The polling agency further reported that there is a bit less interest in this year’s first presidential debate than there was four years ago.
Accurate presidential debate viewership is also so far not available. The debate was on all major networks, and attracted mass appeal. According to a Pew study, a substantial majority of voters had planned to watch the debate: 62% say they are very likely to watch, another 21% say they are somewhat likely. It was estimated that 60+ million people will tune in. The first debate is typically the most-watched of the series.
The reviews on Obama weren’t good: Many — even on the left — said the president faltered.
PolicyMic Pundit Mark Kogan gives these Debate Grades: Obama: C+, Romney B+.
Kogan explains: “Obama came across muted and disinterested for the majority of the debate. His most genuine moment came in the first 30 seconds, when he wished wife Michelle Obama a happy 20th anniversary. After that, he seemed barely interested in participating and his body language spoke to a candidate who had little desire to be on stage.”
PolicyMic Pundit Ed Williams added to the fire: “President Obama displayed on stage last night the same behavior that I have critiqued before in his presidency: he’s simply too cool, calm, and collected to be effective.”
A CNN poll shows that Mitt Romney won last night's debate on substance, not simply on style. Romney bested Obama on the economy, health care, taxes, and the deficit:
Even the pollster for the pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA says, "Romney did gain ground on the President on the issue of taxes, and he largely negated the advantage Obama had on the issue when respondents first walked into the room."
Romney had been losing the tax debate for the past month or two, according to the polls. He had also been lagging heavily in various other the national polls, including in major battle ground states, among minority groups including, and on key issues like the economy and foreign policy.
Did you miss the debate?
This is kind of how it went down:
Update: TV Numbers, Courtesy of PM Pundit Amy Stoller: Preliminary results show that last night’s presidential debate was the highest rated debate of the election so far, with a 19% increase in viewers over 2008. According to the Fast National Nielsen data, 37.41 million people between the ages of 18 and 49 watched the debate on network television, and approximately 25 million tuned in to the post-debate analysis. Data on cable network viewership will be available later today. Nielsen emphasizes that these numbers are very preliminary and subject to change, but, if they’re accurate, they show a 19% increase in viewers over the 2008 Obama-McCain debate, which attracted only 36 million viewers in cable and network readings combined. Neither debate comes close to matching the historic high of the 1980 Carter-Reagan debate, which was watched by 80.1 million people.
Yesterday’s debate did set a record on social media site Twitter, though: Twitter analysts say that it was the most tweeted political event in history, generating 10.3 million tweets. Jim Lehrer’s “let’s not” response to Mitt Romney’s request to move to another debate topic prompted a staggering 158,690 tweets per minute and inspired a Jim Lehrer parody twitter account, @SilentJimLehrer. The political issue that sparked the most response was the discussion of Medicare, which generated 150,000 tweets per minute. You can see a graphic showing twitter activity during the debate here.
Many analysts consider that that this social media traffic could provide a useful measure of both viewership and audience reaction. In fact, the owners of a Canadian participation TV platform, iPowow! offered to provide a platform real-time voting on social media, which could be announced, American Idol-style, during the debate. The networks declined.