Public Policy Polling has Obama winning tonight’s debate, 53-42.
But! Looking at the crosstabs, this part is much more worrisome for Obama:
Q4 Did tonight’s debate make you more or less likely to vote for Barack Obama, or did it not make a difference?
More likely 37%
Less likely 31%
Didn’t make a difference 30%
Not sure 2%
Q5 Did tonight’s debate make you more or less likely to vote for Mitt Romney, or did it not make a difference?
More likely 38%
Less likely 35%
Didn’t make a difference 26%
Not sure 1%
So for all that Obama won the debate, he didn’t bring voters over; they ended moving as much for Romney as for Obama. If you buy the narrative that Romney has the “momentum” of the race—a highly contestable theory, but one with a lot of believers—then Obama did nothing tonight to change that.
But! Most polling indicates that the race has stabilized, and while Obama and Romney are tied nationally, Obama still leads in key swing states, including Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Nevada, is tied in Virginia, and still close in Florida. Women voters are important in Ohio, elderly voters in Florida. With that in mind, take a look at these numbers:
More/Less Likely to Vote Obama?Base Woman Man More likely: 37% 40% 34% Less likely: 31% 29% 33% Didn’t make a difference: 30% 31% 29%
More/Less Likely to Vote Romney?Base Woman Man More likely: 38% 36% 41% Less likely: 35% 38% 31% Didn’t make a difference: 26% 25% 28%
That’s women breaking for Obama by +11, a decent margin, and leaving Romney by -2, for a total swing of 13 points. Movement like that secures a state like Ohio, and could tip a state like Virginia.
Now elderly voters:More/Less Likely to Vote Obama? Base 18 to 29 30 to 45 46 to 65 Older than 65 More likely: 37% 35% 31% 38% 43%
Less likely: 31% 30% 26% 34% 32%
Didn’t make a difference: 30% 30% 40% 28% 25%
Not sure: 2% 5% 3% 0% 0%
More/Less Likely to Vote Romney?
Base 18 to 29 30 to 45 46 to 65 Older than 65
More likely: 38% 50% 31% 37% 40%
Less likely: 35% 30% 37% 34% 36%
Didn’t make a difference: 26% 20% 31% 28% 23%
Not sure: 1% – – 0% 1%
That’s elderly voters +11 points for Obama, the same margin by which he swayed women voters. Romney only swayed them by +4, for a total of +7 for Obama. That alone may not tip a big state like America’s Wang, but it sure keeps Florida’s 30 electoral votes in play for Obama.
Again, this debate probably won’t do much to change the overall national picture. But if you’re an Obama strategist, and you’re looking at women voters in Ohio and the Midwest in general, and elderly voters in Florida, you have to be happy with these numbers.
Postscript: What’s up with the youngins breaking for Romney by +20? Did only five of them watch the debate, two with Romney surnames?