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Sophia Peranteau watches the presidential debate at a Las Vegas restaurant on Oct. 22, 2012. (Julie Jacobson/Associated Press)
Sophia Peranteau watches the presidential debate at a Las Vegas restaurant on Oct. 22, 2012. (Julie Jacobson/Associated Press)

U.S. election

Obama won debate, poll says Add to ...

Voters say U.S. President Barack Obama did a better job than Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Monday’s debate but their opinions of each candidate did not shift significantly, according to Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.

About 47 per cent of registered voters surveyed in the online poll judged Mr. Obama the victor, while 31 per cent believed Mr. Romney won.

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But neither candidate’s favourability ratings shifted in the wake of Monday’s debate, the last of three televised matchups before the Nov. 6 election. Likewise, voter assessments of the candidates on a range of issues from the economy to foreign policy did not change by a statistically significant margin.

Mr. Obama’s favourability rating ticked up by one percentage point to 57 per cent, a statistically insignificant change. Mr. Romney’s favourability also inched up one point, to 54 per cent.

The full impact of the debate on the race will not show up in opinion polls for several more days, but it is unlikely that it will give either candidate a big enough boost to break their statistical tie, Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said.

“By this point in the election cycle a lot of people have formed a more complete view of each candidate,” Ms. Clark said.

The accuracy of Reuters/Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. The survey of 515 registered voters, conducted on Tuesday after the debate, has a credibility interval of 4.9 percentage points.

The debate did appear to move the needle with some voters, but not in a way that clearly benefited either candidate.

About 22 per cent of those surveyed said they had a more positive view of Mr. Obama after the debate, while 19 per cent said they had a more negative view, and 54 per cent said their opinion did not change one way or another.

The same pattern held for Mr. Romney: 22 per cent viewed him in a more positive light, 21 per cent viewed him more negatively and 48 per cent said their opinion did not change.

A separate Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll has shown Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney to be within three percentage points of each other since the first debate on Oct. 3. As of Tuesday, Mr. Obama led by one percentage point, well within the poll’s credibility interval.

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