An inaudible bell sounded at 8:30 p.m. after the first presidential debate on Wednesday, Oct. 3, in Denver, signaling the end of round one and the start of preparation for round two.
Although a pre-debate Gallup poll showed Romney and Obama neck-and-neck, Romney walked away from the first debate as the decided winner, according to several post-debate polls. CNN, for example, conducted a poll that revealed 67 percent believed Romney won the debate, compared to only 25 percent who believed Obama won.
CBS News and GFK, a German market research company, also conducted a poll that revealed a similar victory for Romney. Out of 523 uncommitted voters polled immediately after the debate, 46 percent believed Romney won the debate, while only 22 percent believed Obama won.
Numerous news articles mirrored this sentiment. In an article published by the Huffington Post, Keith Koenen, a political writer from Chicago, Ill., described it saying, “The truth of the first 2012 presidential debate is that Barack Obama got spanked by Mitt Romney. Others lauded Romney for bringing his ‘A-game’ and for being energetic, assertive and aggressive.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said of Romney after the debate, “He did exactly what he had to do for the undecided voter in Ohio or around the country.”
“Romney swept the floor with the subdued remains of Obama’s political skeleton,” said Marc Phillips, 25, a graduate student from Pine, Co., studying information systems. “Romney had facts; Obama had nice stories.”
However, according to Melissa Wade, a debate professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., “Obama can afford to lose this one.” She added that for past incumbent presidents, losing the first debate has had only a nominal impact.
Therefore, the second debate is critical for both candidates.
The second presidential debate, which will take place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., will focus on foreign and domestic policy. It will also be in the form of a town meeting, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. This means that those in attendance, undecided voters chosen by the Gallup Organization, will be the ones to ask the candidates questions.
“The danger of the town hall is that you’re getting them from the audience. The way the questions are asked are not the way they are in practiced debates because these are from people, not policy experts,” Wade said.
So what does each candidate need to do for the next debate?
“Romney needs to come to the debate with clear explanations of his future policy so that he shows voters what a Romney administration will look like,” said Cate Stolworthy, 22, a senior majoring in political science.
Stolworthy, who was in Denver for the first presidential debate, also gave insight into what Obama needs to do.
“Obama needs to come to the debate with the same amount of tenacity and enthusiasm that Romney brought to the first debate,” she said, “and show that his policies have worked and will continue to work.”
Concerning the possible points during the debate, Stolworthy said, “I think we’ll hear a lot about trade policy with China, the U.S.’s responsibility to Israel and the rioting in Libya. I also think there will be some discussion of the defense budget.”
In the meantime, Romney and Obama are spending their time trying to win over key swing states. On Oct. 7, Romney attended a rally in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and is scheduled to give a speech on Monday, Oct. 8, at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va.
Obama, after holding a rally in Denver on Thursday, headed back East on Friday, speaking at a women’s rally hosted by George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.