According to a Patch FlashPoll of influential Connecticut political insiders late Monday night, President Barack Obama barely edged out former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the final presidential debate of the 2012 campaign at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL.
As expected, the Blue Nutmeg and Red Nutmeg surveys’ results were largely partisan. All 14 Democratic respondents declared Obama the winner, with 10 of them saying Obama won by a wide margin. Among Republicans, 9 of the 12 thought Romney won, although most (7) thought it was by a slim margin. Three Republicans had a “neutral” opinion on the matter.
The foreign-policy debate, moderated by CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer, was marked by pointed exchanges, although the sit-down affair was decidedly less tense than last week’s stand-up town hall-style debate where the candidates seemed to stalk each other around the stage.
The consensus among Democratic respondents to the survey, which was conducted between 10:30 p.m. and midnight Monday, was that the president’s view of military spending and his strong support of Israel would stand out in the minds of liberals and swing voters.
‘Horses and Bayonets’
The signature moment for Obama, according to many of the Democrats, was his rebuttal of Romney’s assertion that the military has fewer surface ships than it did before World War I.
“"You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed,” Obama said. “We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go under water, nuclear submarines.”
Republican respondents to the survey, though, thought Obama’s comment was less than endearing.
“Overall I think conservatives will look at the president’s performance as rude and condescending,” one Republican respondent said. “He mocked Romney’s knowledge of how the military works when he was wrong himself (with his bayonet comment) … I think Romney did no damage in this debate, and he looked presidential.”
“The president again proved himself to be rude and to confuse facts from the fiction of his talking points,” another Republican said. “ He can only attack and speak about the small things to distract voters from the truth of the last four years, of his leading from behind and from his failed foreign policy.”
“The president was very aggressive in tonight’s debate,” a GOP respondent said. “I did not like his demeanor.”
Yet another Republican respondent put it even more bluntly.
“These last two debates, (the president) has continuously interrupted both Gov. Romney and the moderator and has acted like a child. Our third-grade students have more common courtesy than our president,” he said. “It is unbecoming of any adult, let alone our elected leader. He should learn to raise his hand when he has something to say that is clearly out of turn.
“He feels it’s OK to interrupt just because he disagrees. It’s a clear sign of the type of person he is, and a window into the behind-the-scenes leadership he’s engaged in for the last four years ….”
‘Romnesia in Full Effect’
Democrats, however, lauded Obama’s performance, and noted that Romney seemed to agree with many of the president’s positions.
“Romney was off tonight,” a Democratic respondent said. “Obama called it when he suggested that most of the time Romney was agreeing with his policies but just wanted to say them louder.”
“(This was) Romnesia in full effect,” a Democrat said. “This was not the Mitt Romney that’s been running for president the past two years. Debate record: Obama 2, Romney 1.”
Patch’s surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican and Democratic activists, party leaders and elected officials in Connecticut. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to Monday night's questions. Surveys were conducted between 10:30 and midnight on Oct. 22.
Patch will be conducting Red Nutmeg and Blue Nutmeg surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in Connecticut. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in weekly surveys that last just a few minutes, please email Regional Editor Corey Fyke at email@example.com.
Red Nutmeg Roster: Mark Gill, Kevin Dombrowski, John Rodolico, Mike Cherry, Mimi Peck Llewellyn, Fred Camillo Allyn Jr., Fran Lowell, Julia Cronin, Bob Beaver, Mark Zacchio, Thomas Harrison, Britta Lerner, Lisa Bigelow, John Shaban, Ward Mazzucco, Dan Carter, Harry Thomas, Don Patterson, Harold Cummings, Brian Motola, William Nicholson, Mark Kalina, Adam Weissberger, Christine Vincent, Jack Scavone, Laura Roberts, Andy Powell, Anthony Candelora, Michael Doody, Rose Angeloni, Vin Candelora, Abbe Smith, Denise Hall, Peter Martin, Steven Adler, Burke Doar, Jay Sarzen, Meredith Trimble, Phil Dunn, Frank Morse, Todd Cusano, Marti Stiglich, Malvi Lennon, Jeff Ingram, Aaron Jubrey, Lisa Boccia, Jason Buchsbaum, Vinny Toscano, David Freudmann, Ric Hossak, Beverly Miela, April Holinko, Tony Lent, Jason Perillo, John Anglace Jr., Ross Mandell, Nathan McKay, Dorry Clay, Wendy Bury, Stephen Bessette, Christopher Davis, Chris Fryxell, David Reed, Sharon McLaughlin, Janet Wieliczka, Jeff Gutman, J.P. Sredzinski, Robert Yamin, Joe Cavo, Mark Boughton, Shay Nagarsheth, Michael McLachlan, Norbert Fay, Dan Steward, Kathleen McCarty, David Lewis, Alan Wilensky, Tim Herbst, Suzanne Testani, Susan LaFrance, Paul Lavoie, Diane Pomposello, Kristin Ingram, Stacy Geist, Jay Berardino, John Szewczyk, Jeremy Renninghoff, Pat Dinatale, Ed Bailey, Scott Kaupin, Patrick Droney, John Kissel, Tom Kienzler, Greg Stokes, Peter Tesei, Livvy Floren, Fred Camillo, Steven Warzoha, L. Scott Frantz, Frank Szeps, Bryan Perry, Ed Munster, Eloise H.P. Killeffer, James M. McLaughlin, Valerie M. Saiz, Nancy Haase, Charles Haberstroh, Avi Kaner, Michael Rea, Lisa DiLullo, Mike Digrego, Michael. S. Casey, Pam Staneski, Tom Jagodzinski, Matthew Galligan, Timothy Becker, Mark Tweedie, Cheri Pelletier, Darren Cunningham, Sean Askham, William Stokesbury, Brian Ladouceur Jr., Cathy Durdan, Paul Henault, Len Cahill, Phil Williams, Phil Sengle, Vincent Cimino, Charity Folk, Stephen Walko, Daria Novak, Diane Carney, Linda Davis, Leora Levy, Aundré Bumgardner.
Blue Nutmeg Roster: Wendy Howard, David Peña, Daryl Worobow, Linda Merlin, Michael Freeman, Neal Bobruff, Edward Haberek Jr., Dorry Clay, Corey Sipe, Don Maranell, Dee Dee Martin, Nick Kapoor, Susan Koneff, Alan Vaglivelo, Kelly Plunkett, William D. Saums, Michael Graner, Rebecca Graebner, Kenneth Koe, Stephanie Calhoun, Dave Holdridge, Sheri Cote, J.W. "Bill" Sheehan, Cheryl Larder, Andrea Kanfer, George Peteros, Tony Silber, Roy Fuchs, Mary Beth Thornton, Nancy DiNardo, Richard W. White, Karen Cheyney, Michael Doyle, James McLaughlin, Allison Dodge, Laura Williams, Drew Marzullo, John Blankley, David Rafferty, Anthony R.J. Moran, William Satti, Rich Martin, George "Bud" Bray, Dan Pickett, James Albis, Jack Stacey, Sharon Hightower, Peter Kochenburger, William Ryan, Mark LaPlaca, Toni Moran, Andrea Epling, James Ezzes, Jonathan Steinberg, Jan Rubino, Rick Field, Bob Pagoni, Josh Freeman, James Maroney, Richard Smith, Kim Rose, Richard Roy, Paul Davis, Robert Hoffman, Kathleen Devlin, Francis Devlin, Ted Graziani, Tracey Kiff-Judson, Mike Pohl, Josh Howroyd, Dave Dumaine, Ryan Barry, Mike Farina, Doreen Richardson, Darleen Klase, Bill Herzfeld, Brandon McGee, Al Simon, Kevin Cavanagh, Alan R. Mordhorst, Phil Sylvestro, Bill MacDonald, Frank Farricker, Tom Gugliotti, Jeff Blumenthal, Peter Mahoney, Marie Herbst, Thomas DiDio, Michael Winkler, Ethelene DiBona, Jennifer Wolfer, Dolly Mezzetti, Joe Mezzetti, Jeff Tindall, Hal Schwartz, Kevin Coyner, Craig Nussbaum, Catherine Zamecnik, Jane Scully Welch, Leon Karvelis, Barbara Reynolds, Bob Schrage, Mark Lewis, Gayle Weinstein, John Hampton, Lisa Heavner, Helen A. Garten, Tricia Evans.