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The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management Survey Finds Gov. Romney Bests President Obama on Strength of Debate Performance, Ends Obama’s Win Streak

October 09, 2012

202-994-6466; [email protected]
David Rehr
202-510-2148; [email protected]

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, Oct. 9, the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) released the 10th installment of its weekly Horse Race poll, which found that Gov. Romney’s campaign bested President Obama’s campaign for the first time in a month.

Full survey results for the week ending Sunday, Oct. 7, are as follows:

Rate the prior week's performance (1- Very Ineffective, 5 - Very Effective)

Mitt Romney's PERSONAL PERFORMANCE as a Presidential candidate


Barack Obama's PERSONAL PERFORMANCE as a Presidential candidate


Mitt Romney's presidential CAMPAIGN OPERATION


Barack Obama's presidential CAMPAIGN OPERATION



Which presidential campaign "won" the previous week?

Romney Campaign

93 percent

Obama Campaign

02 percent


05 percent


00 percent

Don't know

00 percent


What was the pivotal moment of the campaign in the previous week?

Select Comments

Democrat Insider: “Romney's performance (and the president’s lack thereof) in the first debate gave the press what they wanted and the Romney campaign what they needed - the appearance of a horse race.  The change is sure to keep conservatives from abandoning ship, but the question is whether the debate performance was a game changer.”

Republican Insider: “The debate was the turning point. Romney presented a clear vision and defended it strongly. Obama looked confused.”

Democrat Insider: “New unemployment figures are symbolically very significant.”

Republican Insider: “The debate, hands down, was the turning point of the week. Romney completely dominated the debate. He was cool, calm, collected and thoughtful. Obama was bumbling, uncomfortable and distant.”

Independent Insider: “The unemployment rate falling to 7.8 percent.”

Non-Affiliated Insider: “The debate was pivotal. A well-prepared Romney trounced an apparently disinterested Obama.”

What advice would you give either Vice President Joe Biden or Rep. Paul Ryan as they prepare for the upcoming vice presidential debate (please indicate either BIDEN or RYAN at the beginning of your answer)? 

Select Comments

Democrat Insider: BIDEN - “Point out how truly out of touch Ryan is when it comes to social security and Medicare and create a wedge between Romney's positions and Ryan.”

Republican Insider: RYAN - “Avoid looking like a know-it-all.  Biden is good at playing the “regular Joe” role.”

Democrat Insider: BIDEN - “First off, don't try to reverse the tide of the first debate all at once. Second, keep your answers short and clear, and focus only on trying to make a few key points. But that said, there are a few points from the first debate that must be set straight.”

Republican Insider: RYAN - “Let Biden talk. If you give him enough slack he will run to the end of the leash and we all know what happens next.”

What advice would you give either of the presidential campaign's based on the performance of last week (please indicate either Obama or Romney at the beginning of your answer)?

Select Comments

Democrat Insider: OBAMA - “Prep better for the next debate. Your policies aren't that popular so don't make it about defending them. Attack Romney's lies.”

Republican Insider: ROMNEY - “The debates will be decisive. Work on the second and third ones as hard as you did the first one.”

Democrat Insider: OBAMA - “Obama needs to stick to his message of ‘forward.’ He also needs to run on his record, because he is making it look like nothing has been accomplished over the past four years, which dooms his campaign. He needs to talk about how he has lowered taxes and helped small businesses.”

Republican Insider: ROMNEY - “Keep doing what you're doing, and be as prepared for the next debate as you were for this one. You've raised the bar considerably and if you don't live up to the heightened expectations next debate, you're going to lose the momentum.”

Independent Insider: OBAMA - “Call out Romney on his lies and more vigorously tout your record.”

The GSPM Horse Race is an aggregated, weekly measure of the opinions of graduate students, alumni, full-time faculty and adjunct professors at GSPM. The results are not intended to be representative of any larger population. The responses have been weighted to ensure that they are balanced politically, by equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. The comments provided are from survey participants.  The survey results are released weekly and are available on the GSPM website.

GW's Graduate School of Political Management, the pioneer school in the nonpartisan study of political management and applied politics, offers graduate programs in political management, legislative affairs, public relations and PAC management, as well as international programs in Latin America and Europe. The school educates students and professionals in the tools, principles and values of participatory democracy; preparing them for careers as ethical and effective advocates and leaders at the international, national and local levels.