Polls show Obama as winner in round 2
US President Barack Obama today scored a clear victory over Mitt Romney in the high-stake second presidential debate, putting up a combative performance as he slammed his Republican presidential rival on issues like outsourcing and Libya.
As Obama faced-off Romney in a town hall style debate at Hofstra University here, he was under intense pressure to improve upon his lacklustre performance at the first debate in Denver on October 3 when Romney had edged past him with a more aggressive and spirited performance.
Obama did not repeat the mistakes he made in his first debate, aggressively hitting back at Romney on tax plans, outsourcing and his controversial remark that 47 per cent of Americans did not pay income taxes.
According to a CNN/ORC nationwide poll conducted right after the debate, 46 per cent of voters declared Obama the winner while 39 per cent said Romney fared better.
A CBS News instant poll said Obama edged Romney for a win in the second presidential debate. About 37 per cent of voters polled said the president won, 30 per cent awarded the victory to Romney while 33 per cent said Obama and Romney were tied.
During the debate, 55 per cent of voters said Obama gave direct answers, while 49 per cent said the same about Romney.
On who did a better job of handling the economy, 34 per cent said the president would better handle the economy, with 65 per cent saying Romney would. The CBS survey polled 525 voters who are undecided or who may still change their minds.
An online poll by Google Consumer Surveys gave Obama a 48 per cent lead over Romney's 31 per cent.
"I hope you saw exactly what's at stake in this election. This race is neck and neck. What happens in the next three weeks will determine which side wins," Obama told his supporters in an email soon after he left New York after participating in the debate.
While there was no immediate comment from Romney, his vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan claimed that the Republican presidential candidate showed to the American people the clear choice they have on November 6
A Public Policy Polling survey of Colorado voters said 48 per cent respondents thought Obama won the debate while 44 per cent said Romney was the winner.
According to the CNN, nearly three quarters of debate watchers felt that Obama performed better than they had expected, with just one in 10 saying the president did worse.
Only 37 per cent said Romney did a better job in the debate than they had expected, with 28 per cent saying he performed worse than they had expected prior to the faceoff, and one in three saying he performed same as they expected.
According to the survey, Obama had a 47 per cent - 41 per cent edge on which candidate was more likeable. But on some key issues, Romney came out on top, including an 18-point lead on the economy.
"Mitt Romney was seen as better able to handle the economy, taxes, and the budget deficit among the debate audience, but it seems that issues were trumped, or at least blunted, by intangibles, including the expectations game," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
Debate watchers said Obama spent more time attacking his opponent. The last of the three debates is scheduled for October 22 in Florida.
During the debate, Obama engaged in heated exchanges with Romney, appearing aggressive from the beginning. The format of the debate gave the two room to walk about their seats and they often interrupted each other in tense clashes.
Obama did not miss the chance the second time around to take on Romney for his 47 per cent comment. The two also appeared focused on winning the female vote, with Obama mentioning Romney's vow to cut government funding for Planned Parenthood at least four times during the debate.
The two also had a heated exchange on the nation’s immigration laws, with Romney pointing out that the president did not meet his promise of achieving comprehensive immigration legislation during his first term.
When asked a question on what they planned to do with immigrants who did not have green cards but were are currently living in the US as "productive members of society," Romney said he is in favour of the American legal system working better and in a streamlined manner.
Romney said he will put in place an "employment verification system" that makes sure that employers that hire people who have come here illegally are sanctioned.
Obama replied that there is need to fix the country's "broken immigration system" and he has done everything he could to fix the system.
While Obama was modest about his debate performance in the email, his Campaign was quick to declare victory.
"President Obama clearly won tonight's debate. The American people saw their leader tonight – a strong, steady and decisive president with an affirmative vision to move this country forward and build the economy from the middle out, not the top down," said Jim Messina, the Obama Campaign Manager.
But differed, Indian-American Governor from Louisiana Bobby Jindal said: "You can combine the speaking skills of Churchill, Reagan, and Lincoln, and President Obama could still not defend his own record."
"President won," said Hindu social activist Anju Bhargava.
"The President did a great job and had Romney on the ropes," said Nina Ahmad of the South Asians for Obama.
But Indian-American supporters of Romney argued that the immigration policy spelled by him would benefit the Indian American professionals and as such the community should pitch in for the Republican presidential candidate.
"Romney clearly showed that America needs jobs and his private sector experience and his track record of creating good jobs and leadership will bring long term prosperity to America. He will bring down the unsustainable national debt and deficit and create 12 million jobs. He will give green cards to qualified graduates which will help Indian American professionals. He articulated clear vision for the future and that will resonate will with the voters," said Akshay Desai.
One of the top Indian-American fund raisers for the Romney Campaign, Desai flew in from Florida to watch the debate.
"A much stronger performance by President Obama but he failed to score a knockout that he needed. Governor Romney did not give up ground. I think this will help Governor Romney's momentum going," said Dinesh Patel, an eminent Indian American supporter and fund raiser for Romney.
"It is oblivious, after tonight's debate that the momentum has continued to grow in the direction of Governor Romney in spite of spirited performance by President Obama.
Voters know and understand that only candidate for President who has a vision, leadership qualities and who can turn our country and economy around, and that candidate would be Governor Romney," said Dr Sampat Shivangi, a delegate to the Republican National Convention.