Poll: Majority Expect Obama To Win Debate

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 1 2012 9:30 AM

Obama Is Losing (the Race To Lower Debate Expectations)

153125000
President Obama speaks at a campaign event on Sunday at Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

With the first presidential debate set for Wednesday in Colorado, both camps have been busy doing their best to lower the bar for their performances.

President Obama's staff has fretted aloud that their man is too busy to properly prep for the showdown in Denver, while Mitt Romney's team is reminding voters that the GOP hopeful will be standing across the stage from a "universally-acclaimed public speaker" in Obama. (The one notable exception, of course, being Gov. Chris Christie, who went off script this weekend to predict a game-changing performance by Romney.)

Advertisement

On this one topic, at least, the polling data has some good news for the Republican challenger. A new survey from the Washington Post and ABC News out today suggests that a majority of likely voters expect Obama to win Wednesday's debate, 51 percent to 33 percent.

In the short term, that's good news for Romney, who won't be burdened by high expectations that would likely make it more difficult for him to wow viewers, many of whom likely never tuned in to any of the debates that dominated much of the GOP primary season.

Obama, meanwhile, appears to have been unable to convince Americans that he's "just OK" as a debater. That said, given current polling trends, the president doesn't need a knockout win as much as to hold serve in one of the few major scheduled campaign moments left on the calendar.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Global Marches Demand Action on Climate Change

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.