New post-debate polling in Colorado out this morning from the University of Denver shows President Barack Obama dented, but still very much in contention after his rough night:
Four percent said that they would vote for someone else, and five percent noted that they remain undecided. The poll also found that President Obama is currently leading among independent voters, 48-31.
Despite President Obama’s current lead in Colorado, respondents have improving impressions of Gov. Romney. Those who said that they watched or heard about the debate believe that Gov. Romney won by a huge margin, 68-19. That includes almost half of Obama supporters (47 percent), with just 37 percent of the president’s supporters saying he did the better job…
Sixty-nine percent of debate watchers became more strongly committed to their candidate, while only 7 percent became less strongly committed to their candidate. Five percent of debate watchers reported changing their minds. [Pols emphasis]
“…The poll found a significant amount of polarization in the Colorado electorate in regards to the economy,” noted University of Denver political scientist Dr. Seth Masket. “Democrats are much more likely to see the economy and their overall economic situation to have improved over the past year. Republicans, meanwhile, have strongly negative views of the economy and their own economic situation over the past year. Independents are more likely to say that the economy has gotten worse over the past year.”
Poll details here. Apparent in these results is Mitt Romney’s debate performance hitting the wall of an already mostly-decided electorate. Romney was good, but not enough to shake Obama’s base of support in large numbers. There just aren’t that many undecided voters out there to be swayed at this point, and impressions of the two candidates are more or less indelible.
Due to the overall closeness of this race, we are in a relatively unusual situation where the October presidential debates have at least a hypothetical chance of affecting the pre-debate trajectory in the polls–which was Obama beginning to pull away from Romney decisively. With little else remaining between now and Election Day, this is the spin the Romney campaign wants to impart on everything. And there’s no question Romney’s post-debate bounce is real.
But where Romney needed a knockout, what he may be getting is a high water mark. Obama is still in a position to choose which one it will be in the upcoming debates. External events, like Friday’s good news on jobs, push back in Obama’s favor. Obama’s very lucky, and maybe in some eight-dimensional chess way was always aware, that Wednesday was not his last chance to prove his mettle. No doubt David Plouffe will say so if, by November 6th, he manages to.