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FLASHPOLL: CT Political Insiders: Second Obama-Romney Debate a Tossup

Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney had their moments in the town hall-style debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, but influential state Democrats and Republicans generally viewed the results through party-colored glasses.

In Blue Nutmeg and Red Nutmeg surveys conducted just after the finish of the often-contentious second presidential debate of the 2012 campaign Tuesday night, Connecticut political insiders from both sides of the aisle defended their candidate’s performance.

Eight of the 10 Republican respondents to the survey thought former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney carried the day, but most (six) thought it was by a slim margin. Democratic respondents, however, were more effusive in their praise of President Barack Obama, with 11 of the 17 respondents saying he won the debate by a wide margin.

The town hall-style debate, held on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, was marked by the candidates stalking around the stage and interrupting each other’s responses to questions asked by undecided voters. The debate was moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley, a longtime political reporter and analyst.

Romney ‘A Seasoned Leader’

Many Republican respondents to the survey thought Romney’s signature moments that would rally Connecticut conservatives came when he called out the president’s “lies” and “broken campaign promises.” Some thought swing voters in the state would respond to Romney’s “experience and proven leadership.”

“Mitt Romney was solid. He looked presidential and compassionate talking about putting people back to work,” one Republican said.

“He knows the private sector is where jobs are created and knows how to get that done, unlike the president,” another said.

Several respondents said that Romney seemed more composed and ready to take leadership of the country.

“Mitt Romney looked presidential, a truly seasoned leader, and he gave specifics for how he would achieve the results needed to put people back to work,” one Red Nutmeg respondent said. “The president’s answers were teleprompter-ready sound bites that often failed to address the question.”

Another said Romney “understands small business needs and how to grow businesses and put people back to work. I believe he can fix what this administration broke in America.”

The Red Nutmeg respondents were split, however, when asked whether Romney’s performance would gain him more votes in Connecticut. Only six agreed that it would give him a bump in Connecticut, while three disagreed and one was “neutral.”

‘Obama is Back!’

Democratic respondents to the Blue Nutmeg survey, however, thought the debate marked the return of the “old Obama.”

“Obama came out of his funk!” one said, while two others said, “Obama is back!”

“President Obama acted like a leader with a backbone finally,” another Democrat said. “He owned his job as president.”

Chief among Obama’s wins, many thought, was his answer to a question on his handling of the death of an American diplomat in Libya.

“President Obama’s statement on taking responsibility in Libya was a powerful moment!” one respondent said.

Other Democrats pointed to the tax issue as another Obama win that would stand out in the minds of liberals in Connecticut.

“Mitt Romney is going to cap deductions to income taxes,” one said. “For people who want to donate to charity, let’s say 50k, they won’t get tax deductions on it under a Romney administration.”

Swing voters in the state would also respond well to the president’s answers on immigration policy and his specifics on his tax plan, several respondents said.

One Blue Nutmeg survey-taker also like the president’s answer to a question on equal pay for women.

“I was thrilled to hear a question about women — specifically pay equity. The president has a clear vision on how to put women on an even playing field, both in terms of pay equity and general fairness.”

Most of the Democrats surveyed thought Obama improved on his performance from the first debate, when he drew criticism for seeming detached.

“Unlike the first debate, the president was both composed and convincing,” one respondent said.

Another said, “Barack Obama is the president, and tonight he showed why he was elected in the first place.”

The final presidential debate is scheduled for next Monday, Oct. 22, at 9 p.m. at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL.

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Patch’s surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican and Democratic activists, party leaders and elected officials in Connecticut. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to Tuesday night's questions. Surveys were conducted between 10:30 and midnight on Oct. 16.

Patch will be conducting Red Nutmeg and Blue Nutmeg surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in Connecticut. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in weekly surveys that last just a few minutes, please email Regional Editor Corey Fyke at corey@patch.com.

Red Nutmeg Roster: Mark Gill, Kevin Dombrowski, John Rodolico, Mike Cherry, Mimi Peck Llewellyn, Fred Camillo Allyn Jr., Fran Lowell, Julia Cronin, Bob Beaver, Mark Zacchio, Thomas Harrison, Britta Lerner, Lisa Bigelow, John Shaban, Ward Mazzucco, Dan Carter, Harry Thomas, Don Patterson, Harold Cummings, Brian Motola, William Nicholson, Mark Kalina, Adam Weissberger, Christine Vincent, Jack Scavone, Laura Roberts, Andy Powell, Anthony Candelora, Michael Doody, Rose Angeloni, Vin Candelora, Abbe Smith, Denise Hall, Peter Martin, Steven Adler, Burke Doar, Jay Sarzen, Meredith Trimble, Phil Dunn, Frank Morse, Todd Cusano, Marti Stiglich, Malvi Lennon, Jeff Ingram, Aaron Jubrey, Lisa Boccia, Jason Buchsbaum, Vinny Toscano, David Freudmann, Ric Hossak, Beverly Miela, April Holinko, Tony Lent, Jason Perillo, John Anglace Jr., Ross Mandell, Nathan McKay, Dorry Clay, Wendy Bury, Stephen Bessette, Christopher Davis, Chris Fryxell, David Reed, Sharon McLaughlin, Janet Wieliczka, Jeff Gutman, J.P. Sredzinski, Robert Yamin, Joe Cavo, Mark Boughton, Shay Nagarsheth, Michael McLachlan, Norbert Fay, Dan Steward, Kathleen McCarty, David Lewis, Alan Wilensky, Tim Herbst, Suzanne Testani, Susan LaFrance, Paul Lavoie, Diane Pomposello, Kristin Ingram, Stacy Geist, Jay Berardino, John Szewczyk, Jeremy Renninghoff, Pat Dinatale, Ed Bailey, Scott Kaupin, Patrick Droney, John Kissel, Tom Kienzler, Greg Stokes, Peter Tesei, Livvy Floren, Fred Camillo, Steven Warzoha, L. Scott Frantz, Frank Szeps, Bryan Perry, Ed Munster, Eloise H.P. Killeffer, James M. McLaughlin, Valerie M. Saiz, Nancy Haase, Charles Haberstroh, Avi Kaner, Michael Rea, Jonathan Steinberg, Lisa DiLullo, Mike Digrego, Michael. S. Casey, Pam Staneski, Tom Jagodzinski, Matthew Galligan, Timothy Becker, Mark Tweedie, Cheri Pelletier, Darren Cunningham, Sean Askham, William Stokesbury, Brian Ladouceur Jr., Cathy Durdan, Paul Henault, Len Cahill, Phil Williams, Phil Sengle, Vincent Cimino, Charity Folk, Stephen Walko, Daria Novak, Diane Carney, Linda Davis, Leora Levy, Aundré Bumgardner.

Blue Nutmeg Roster: Wendy Howard, David Peña, Daryl Worobow, Linda Merlin, Michael Freeman, Neal Bobruff, Edward Haberek Jr., Dorry Clay, Corey Sipe, Don Maranell, Dee Dee Martin, Nick Kapoor, Susan Koneff, Alan Vaglivelo, Kelly Plunkett, William D. Saums, Michael Graner, Rebecca Graebner, Kenneth Koe, Stephanie Calhoun, Dave Holdridge, Sheri Cote, J.W. "Bill" Sheehan, Cheryl Larder, Andrea Kanfer, George Peteros, Tony Silber, Roy Fuchs, Mary Beth Thornton, Nancy DiNardo, Richard W. White, Karen Cheyney, Michael Doyle, James McLaughlin, Allison Dodge, Laura Williams, Drew Marzullo, John Blankley, David Rafferty, Anthony R.J. Moran, William Satti, Rich Martin, George "Bud" Bray, Dan Pickett, James Albis, Jack Stacey, Sharon Hightower, Peter Kochenburger, William Ryan, Mark LaPlaca, Toni Moran, Andrea Epling, James Ezzes, Jonathan Steinberg, Jan Rubino, Rick Field, Bob Pagoni, Josh Freeman, James Maroney, Richard Smith, Kim Rose, Richard Roy, Paul Davis, Robert Hoffman, Kathleen Devlin, Francis Devlin, Ted Graziani, Tracey Kiff-Judson, Mike Pohl, Josh Howroyd, Dave Dumaine, Ryan Barry, Mike Farina, Doreen Richardson, Darleen Klase, Bill Herzfeld, Brandon McGee, Al Simon, Kevin Cavanagh, Alan R. Mordhorst, Phil Sylvestro, Bill MacDonald, Frank Farricker, Tom Gugliotti, Jeff Blumenthal, Peter Mahoney, Marie Herbst, Thomas DiDio, Michael Winkler, Ethelene DiBona, Jennifer Wolfer, Dolly Mezzetti, Joe Mezzetti, Jeff Tindall, Hal Schwartz, Kevin Coyner, Craig Nussbaum, Catherine Zamecnik, Jane Scully Welch, Leon Karvelis, Barbara Reynolds, Bob Schrage, Mark Lewis, Gayle Weinstein, John Hampton, Lisa Heavner, Helen A. Garten, Tricia Evans.

Cliff Satton October 17, 2012 at 09:45 AM
When ten out of ten polls gives Obama a 7 to 20 point win, I'm not sure how patch calls it a tossup. Fox news Republicans called it a win for Obama lol. Patch, you missed this one.
Cliff Satton October 17, 2012 at 10:11 AM
THen again Patch does survey WL FD and WLFD is one of the largest Republican towns in the state. I should know, I live there. It's also a hugely racist one. I'll take a split on patch and a win on every single other poll. Great job Obama.
Bill October 17, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Oddly enough the focus groups on MSNBC and FOX gave the win to Romney.
FearTheTruth October 17, 2012 at 07:44 PM
If I watched it, it would have been a tossup for me also. As in "TOSSUP my Cookies."
MAC October 17, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Americans are not stupid, and Obama needs to pick out his next house, because the WH will be home to the Romneys in January! Even many former Obama supporters/voters in the post debate MSNBC focus group revealed their disgust/disappointment with his abysmal job performance. They are now enthusiastically supporting and will vote for Romney, as confirmed by the latest polls. Obots can rejoice all they want over "the One's" aggressiveness last night, and he mostly did a fair job of hiding his anger from his face. But when it did show, plus the multiple 80 some rude interruptions/talking over Romney are obvious proof of how un-Presidential and lacking in true leadership Obama is compared to Romney, not to mention all the broken promises! Obama's record, of 4 years on the job, is one of abject failure, and especially in the area of foreign relations and national defense, epitomized by the Libya DEBACLE and consequent COVER-UP!! That "cover-up" is going to put the nail in the coffin of his campaign in the next debate, as Obama's screwed up strategy in the ME, and the month-long attempted cover-up, make the Watergate scandal look like a nursery game! At least in Watergate no one was killed! Then we have Obama, being questioned about the murders, by TERRORISTS, of Amb. Chris Stevens and 3 other Americans, referring to such appalling and violent loss of lives as "bumps in the road" of his ME strategy.
Guido October 17, 2012 at 11:11 PM
What are you smoking, Mac, because it must be good stuff and I want some, too...LOL! I am an independent against Obama and Romney, both bought and paid for by wealthy donors, super PACs, lobbyists, et al. They don't represent the middle class. But Romney beating Obama?! No way. This race was over months ago. Romney has no authenticity, flip flopping every which way...Romneycare? GM? Tax returns? Tax cuts for the rich? Please...get real. The Republicans could have beaten Obama because Obama is vulnerable. But instead of nominating someone authentic, they went with Willard...LOL! Ron Paul would have not only had the Republican votes, but many more independents, libertarians, and even progressives who despise Obama for welching on promises. But Willard Romney, with his 13% tax rate, offshore accounts, Bain Capital, silver spoon, a Mormonism...you must be living on the planet Kalob. Sadly this race was over months ago. Sadly because Obama should be replaced by someone for the middle class. But he will get 100% of the black vote, and 70% of the Hispanic vote, and the rest of the Democratic vote. This race was over months ago. Save your breath.
Cliff Satton October 18, 2012 at 07:17 AM
Let me throw some facts at you MAC. First. Romney super pacs? Have outspent Obamas Super Pacs 5 to 1. Instead of spewing uneducated garbage straight from the KKK handbook, try looking up facts. Knowledge is a wonderful thing. Secondly? The Obama supporters in the post debate focus group in debate 2, supported Obama and several Romney people went Obama's way. Polls? Actually show Romney's bump is over. In recent days Obama has begun to surge back. But he leads in Electorate as of right now anyway. 281 to 206. CO and VA currently go to the true undecided catagories. Obamas 4 year record yes let's look at his record vs Bush. Bush= 2 wars with no exit strategy that cost trillions and thousands of lives. second lowest approval rating in U.S history. left 5 trillion himself to the debt. Lost 700k jobs a month in 08 and left with a 7.9% unemployment. Missed the warning from the Feds about 9/11 and failed to get Osama.
Cliff Satton October 18, 2012 at 07:17 AM
Obama = 5 million jobs created. Lowered unemployment to 7.8% though even Gallup now has unemployment at 7.4% which many think will be reflected in Nov's in Oct's jobs reports. State Economies countrywide as shown on CNN, VASTLY better. Created healthcare for millions of Americans. If the dude was old, white and Republican you'd be calling him Lincoln reincarnated. But because your eyes are to busy blinded by your hood, you see nothing but hate and speak only lies. MAC you are NO Independent. I have MANY friends in this state that are and you sir are not even close so stop lying. Oh and Libya? You might read up because Huffington posted an article quoting a Republican congressman that said the HOUSE refused more funding for the U.S Embassies because it wasn't needed. You want reasons why there was no security? There you go. Go cry now and get used to 4 more years of Obama.
Cliff Satton October 18, 2012 at 07:20 AM
No actually, they did not. Well Fox they did but are you really surprised. As for MSNBC they did not. 1 went for Romney and 1 for Obama, the rest remained undecided THOUGH they seemed to indicate they may vote Romney. But focus groups are as accurate a sampling as sampling dirt for diamonds.

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