Washington Secrets

Public says Romney won debates, 49%-41%

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Despite flash polls that found President Obama won the last two of three presidential debates on points, the public gave Mitt Romney the victory overall, probably because Romney dominated the first and most-watched clash.

Rasmussen Reports on Thursday said that 1,000 likely voters he polled said Romney beat Obama, 49 percent to 41 percent, a reversal of 2008 when Obama won over Sen. John McCain, 47 percent to 33 percent. Those interviewed said that Romney explained his positions more clearly than the president.

What is remarkable in the poll is that just 8 percent of likely voters did not watch the debates, a finding that shows how interested the public is in the upcoming election. He said that 63 percent watched at least part of all three presidential debates.

What's more, 66 percent declared the debates an important part of what they will consider when choosing between the two candidates.

And unlike the media, which assailed some of the moderators such as CNN's Candy Crowley for jumping into the debate of Libya, the poll found that over half, 51 percent, felt the newsies handling the debate played a neutral role. However, 42 percent said that the moderators tried to help the president, and just 3 percent tried to aid Romney, a remarkable 14-1 ratio.

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