Romney edge expands post-debate in Rasmussen tracking poll

posted at 10:41 am on October 18, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The Left seemed pretty pleased with Barack Obama’s performance in Tuesday night’s debate, cheering his renewed energy and aggressiveness.  How did it play with voters overall?  The spot polls produced mixed results, generally agreeing with most pundits that it had been a draw.  Today’s Rasmussen tracking poll shows Obama falling slightly further behind as the first post-debate data gets added to the mix:

 The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows Mitt Romney attracting support from 49% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns the vote from 47%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and another two percent (2%) are undecided. See daily tracking history. …

These updates are based upon nightly polling and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. As a result, roughly two-thirds of the interviews for today’s update were completed before Tuesday night’s presidential debate. Saturday morning will be the first update based entirely upon interviews conducted after the second debate. Matchup results are updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update).

Interestingly, Romney’s 49% is solid with or without leaners.  Without leaners, Obama only gets to 46%. Among those “certain” to vote, Romney leads 46/44.  Republicans now have an eight-point advantage on enthusiasm, 83/75, with independents nearly as enthused as Democrats at 72%.

Party loyalty is about even between the two candidates, but Romney leads by nine points among independents, which Obama won in 2008 by eight points.  With leaners, Romney’s above the majority mark among these unaffiliated voters, 51/42. Obama has a narrow lead among millenials (49/46) and a much wider lead among thirtysomethings (56/36), but those are also the least enthusiastic age demos at 61% and 59%, respectively.  Romney has wide leads in the other age demos, which have enthusiasm numbers ranging from 84%-88%.

Also, the gender gap now favors Romney rather than Obama.  In 2008’s exit polling, Obama won women by 13 points and men by one for a +14 gender gap over John McCain and a seven-point victory overall.  In the tracking poll data, Rasmussen reports that Obama only leads among women by four and trails among men by 10 for a -6 gender gap.  That’s a flip of 19 points, combined with a 17-point flip among independents.

Those are daunting numbers for Obama.  Combine those with the enthusiasm changes since 2008, and it’s not difficult to imagine that Romney’s actual lead might be significantly wider than the +2 overall here.  At least in the first round of data, it doesn’t appear that the debate on Tuesday night did Obama any good.

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