Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

The Power of the Debate- What’s in Store and the Results

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Obama, Biden, Romney, Ryan

Obama, Biden, Romney, Ryan from

The new Gallup Polls indicates that registered voters’ preferences for president are evenly split in the first three days of Gallup tracking since last Wednesday’s presidential debate. In the three days prior to the debate, Barack Obama had a five-percentage-point edge among registered voters. Obama and Romney are now tied at 47 to 47 in a comparison of register voters. In the Real Clear Politics poll of polls, nationally Romney is only down .09%. It was only week ago Romney trailed Obama by 4 points.

Though President Obama had a lackluster debate and is falling in the polls, the election is far from over. The Obama campaign is now preparing their arsenals for the next debate and continue to prep Vice President Biden for the debate this Thursday in Danville, Kentucy at 9:00 PM ET. CNN noted that “Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus argued that while Ryan is known as a ‘smart’ guy and will do a ‘great job,’ the vice president is no stranger to the debate spotlight, given his 36 years as a senator and two presidential runs.”

After the last debate, Mitt Romney was widely recognized as the winner of last week’s debate. Romney now gets to hit the reset button after President Barack Obama’s desultory display. If Ryan has a spectacular debate performance, than this could help the Romney campaign solidify their lead after the post debate bounce.

Some speculate that because of the pressure from Obama’s performance, Biden will try to stop Romney’s momentum and steal the mantle for the Democratic ticket. However, both debaters have a challenge. Biden and Ryan both tend to shoot themselves in the foot when speaking. Ryan is known for stetching the truth on some the facts, and Biden is know for his counterproductive gaffes.

While Biden is infamous for making gaffes, Republicans are trying to set a high pedal stool by indicating Biden will likely be more focused on the debate stage. We saw this same strategy in the last debate. When a campaign talks up their opponent prior to the debate, the campaign lowers the audiences’ expectations of their own candidate so that if the candidate preforms well he or she will automatically beat expectations.   However, Biden was widely recognized for his debate performances during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries and his debates with Sarah Palin. But Sarah Palin is not in the ring this year. If Ryan has been prepped for the debates like Romney was this could be a extremely heated debate.

The Romney campaign gained much ground with independent voters as result of the last debate. In the 2008 election,  Obama won the independent vote over John McCain by a margin of eight points, 52-44. This morning, a new Battleground Poll has Romney destroying Obama among independents by a staggering 16 points, 51-35. The Battleground Poll also shows an 13 point enthusiasm gap in Romney’s favor. Only 73% of Obama’s supporters are “extremely likely” to vote, compared to 86% of Romney’s supporters. Also, in Ohio, Real Clear Politics poll of, Obama’s Ohio lead has shrunk to three. In Virginia Obama is only up by 0.3. Florida and Colorado have both candidates tied.

With so much on the line, both the Vice President and Paul Ryan will have to prove themselves at the debate in order to change the direction of race. If Ryan wins the debate Romney will have good shot at general election, but if Biden wins it will refuel the Obama campaign after the rocky road they hit during the last debate.


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