PHOENIX, October 3, 2012- On the day of the first 2012 presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, polling numbers show that the race is dead even as Obama only surpasses Romney by two points amongst likely voters.
In the latest Rasmussen Daily Tracking survey, Obama leads Romney 49 percent to 47 percent on a day that could potentiality shift this race in a whole new direction.
Four years ago today, Obama held an eight-point advantage over then Republican-nominee, John McCain, in the same Rasmussen tracking poll.
Additionally, National Journal has a new poll out showing that the two candidates are tied at 47 percent each.
Interestingly, the National Journal survey gave Democrats a seven-point advantage over the Republicans. They surveyed 36 percent of Democrats, 29 percent of Republicans, and 30 percent of Independents.
So it seems that even in a sample that is heavily weighted towards the Democrats, Romney still holds tight against Obama.
In that same National Journal poll, Romney won the independent voters, 49 percent to Obama’s 41 percent.
Nonetheless, the presidential debate tonight could provide some bounce to Mitt Romney, as its focus will be on domestic policy.
With unemployment still very dismal and the debt continuing to soar, Romney will attempt to pin Obama on the defensive allowing him to offer solutions to the growing domestic issues.
If Romney can effectively convince the American’s watching the debate that he can provide better for the country than what we’ve seen in the last four years, he could help rein in some of those still undecided voters to his side.
In the history of presidential debates, however, we generally have not seen that much of a dramatic poll bounce as many would think.
One of the most dramatic changes a debate did to a presidential race was in 2000, when Al Gore was leading George W. Bush by eight percentage points the night before the first debate.
The day following the first debate, Gallup had Bush and Gore tied at 43 points each. Then following the second debate, Bush lead Gore by two percent. Finally, by the third and final presidential debate, Bush was leading Gore, 46 percent to 42 percent.
Essentially throughout the entire 2000 presidential debate period, the race went from 8 percent in Gore’s favor to 4 percent in Bush’s favor.
In the actual outcome of the race, Al Gore received 48.4 percent of the vote to George W. Bush’s 47.9 percent. However, Bush won the election because he carried ten more states than Gore, pushing him over the required 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.
The bottom line could be that due to the closeness of this race, these three presidential and one vice presidential debates could matter on Election Day. The candidates only need to win over a small fraction of those undecided voters to claim the presidency.
The polls following tonight’s debate and the rest of the debate season will be very interesting and could potentially predict the ultimate winner.
The ball is now in the candidate’s court and how they choose to shoot will determine our next president.
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