Mitt Romney scored a clear victory among uncommitted voters who watched the first presidential debate, saying by a two-to-one margin that the Republican nominee was the winner.
Among uncommitted voters, 46 percent said Romney won the debate, versus 22 percent who said the same of President Obama, according to an online poll of 523 uncommitted voters conducted after the debate by CBS News. That poll found 32 percent said the debate was a tie.
A CNN telephone survey of 430 registered voters who were questioned after watching the contest handed an even more decisive victory to Romney: 67 percent said he won the debate, compared to only 25 percent who said the same of Obama.
The CBS poll also showed Romney making clear strides in improving his likeability, with 56 percent of those surveyed saying their opinions of him had changed for the better. He saw a huge jump – 30 percent – in the number of uncommitted voters who said Romney cares about their needs and problems. Before the debate, 30 percent agreed with the statement. Afterward, that number rose to 63 percent. Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed said the same of Obama, up from 53 percent before the debate.
The CNN poll actually found Romney leading on likeability among the poll respondents, with 46 percent saying Romney was more likeable and 45 percent choosing Obama. Fifty-eight percent also deemed Romney the stronger leader, compared to 37 percent for Obama.
Romney also far exceeded expectations, while the opposite was true of Obama. Among registered voters surveyed by CNN, 82 percent said the former Massachusetts governor exceeded their expectations, but 61 percent said the president did worse than expected.
The one silver lining for the Obama campaign may be that nearly half of respondents in the CNN poll – 47 percent - said that the debate didn’t make them more likely to vote for either candidate. But Romney also won on that measure, with 35 percent saying the matchup made them more likely to vote for him. Only 18 percent said the same of the president.
Six in 10 respondents to the CBS News poll identify as independents, 22 percent say they are Democrats, and 18 percent identify as Republicans. The margin of error was four points for the CBS poll and 4.5 points for CNN.