Patch surveyed influential California partisans following and like the two candidates, the two parties seemed to agree on very little.
As expected, the parties sided with their respective candidates, with 11 of the 13 Democratic respondents naming President Obama as the clear winner. On the Republican side, however, only 4 percent said Mitt Romney overwhelmingly won the debate, but 10 out of the 18 respondents said the Republican challenger still won by a slim margin. Of all the respondents surveyed, the answers were split, with both candidates receiving 14 votes each for the debate win.
The Patch surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population, but are an effort to listen to a range of local Republican and Democratic political insiders, activists, leaders and elected officials in California. All of the individuals who took part in the survey agreed to answer questions following each of the presidential debates.
Other points of interest of the survey:
- While Romney’s “binders full women” was the buzz quote of the previous debate, Obama’s “horses and bayonets” comment went viral. When Romney said the U.S. “Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1916,” Obama countered, saying:
“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."
- Both Democrats and Republicans pointed to that comment as a standout moment. One Democrat wrote that the Democrats will be “energized” following Obama’s comment. But one GOP respondent wrote that Obama’s comment was “ridiculous.”
“CA Conservatives love their military and Obama doesn’t…it’s easy,” the Republican respondent wrote.
- Other key moments for GOP respondents were Romney’s criticisms on Obama’s “apology tour,” his responses on policies in Russia, Iran and Israel and his five-point plan for economic recovery.
- Democrats wrote that Romney often times did not have a clear, distinguishable stance from Obama, with one writing, “Romney agreed with everything Obama was doing.” Another key moment for one Democrat was Obama’s challenge that Romney was inconsistent with his policy statements. One Democrat respondent said a key moment was Obama’s comment that Romney’s foreign policy is outdated, inspired by the 1980’s, his social policy is for the 1950’s, and has an economic policy for the 1920’s.
- Both parties agreed that the national media would portray Obama as the winner. On the Republican side, 38.9 percent said that Obama would be declared the winner by a slim margin, versus 22.8 percent believing Romney would be narrowly declared the winner.
- Republican respondents were divided on whether Romney’s performance would increase the number of votes he wins in California, with 27.8 percent saying they “strongly agree” it would, but with 30.3 percent saying they were neutral on the topic.
- 69.2 percent of Democrats said they “strongly agree” that Obama’s performance in the final debate would positively affect the number of California votes he receives.
Patch will be conducting Red California and Blue California surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of Republicans and Democrats on the ground in California. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in a weekly surveys that lasts just a few minutes, please email Patch Regional Editor Sandra Oshiro.