In Blue Nutmeg and Red Nutmeg surveys conducted just after the finish of the often-contentious second presidential debate of the 2012 campaign Tuesday night, Connecticut political insiders on both sides of the aisle defended their candidate’s performance.
Eight of the 10 Republican respondents to the survey thought former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney carried the day, but most (six) thought it was by a slim margin. Democratic respondents, however, were more effusive in their praise of President Barack Obama, with 11 of the 17 respondents saying he won the debate by a wide margin.
The town hall-style debate, held on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, was marked by the candidates stalking around the stage and interrupting each other’s responses to questions asked by undecided voters. The debate was moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley, a longtime political reporter and analyst.
Romney ‘A Seasoned Leader’
Many Republican respondents to the survey thought Romney’s signature moments that would rally Connecticut conservatives came when he called out the president’s “lies” and “broken campaign promises.” Some thought swing voters in the state would respond to Romney’s “experience and proven leadership.”
“Mitt Romney was solid. He looked presidential and compassionate talking about putting people back to work,” one Republican said.
“He knows the private sector is where jobs are created and knows how to get that done, unlike the president,” another said.
Several respondents said that Romney seemed more composed and ready to take leadership of the country.
“Mitt Romney looked presidential, a truly seasoned leader, and he gave specifics for how he would achieve the results needed to put people back to work,” one Red Nutmeg respondent said. “The president’s answers were teleprompter-ready sound bites that often failed to address the question.”
Another said Romney “understands small business needs and how to grow businesses and put people back to work. I believe he can fix what this administration broke in America.”
The Red Nutmeg respondents were split, however, when asked whether Romney’s performance would gain him more votes in Connecticut. Only six agreed that it would give him a bump in Connecticut, while three disagreed and one was “neutral.”
‘Obama is Back!’
Democratic respondents to the Blue Nutmeg survey, however, thought the debate marked the return of the “old Obama.”
“Obama came out of his funk!” one said, while two others said, “Obama is back!”
“President Obama acted like a leader with a backbone finally,” another Democrat said. “He owned his job as president.”
Chief among Obama’s wins, many thought, was his answer to a question on his handling of the death of an American diplomat in Libya.
“President Obama’s statement on taking responsibility in Libya was a powerful moment!” one respondent said.
Other Democrats pointed to the tax issue as another Obama win that would stand out in the minds of liberals in Connecticut.
“Mitt Romney is going to cap deductions to income taxes,” one said. “For people who want to donate to charity, let’s say 50k, they won’t get tax deductions on it under a Romney administration.”
Swing voters in the state would also respond well to the president’s answers on immigration policy and his specifics on his tax plan, several respondents said.
One Blue Nutmeg survey-taker also like the president’s answer to a question on equal pay for women.
“I was thrilled to hear a question about women — specifically pay equity. The president has a clear vision on how to put women on an even playing field, both in terms of pay equity and general fairness.”
Most of the Democrats surveyed thought Obama improved on his performance from the first debate, when he drew criticism for seeming detached.
“Unlike the first debate, the president was both composed and convincing,” one respondent said.
Another said, “Barack Obama is the president, and tonight he showed why he was elected in the first place.”
The final presidential debate is scheduled for next Monday, Oct. 22, at 9 p.m. at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL.
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 Tuesday night's questions. Surveys were conducted between 10:30 and midnight on Oct. 16.
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, Jonathan Steinberg, 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.