Virginia Democrats seemed a bit luke-warm about President Barack Obama's performance in Wednesday night's first presidential debate against Gov. Mitt Romney, a handful of them told Patch late Wednesday night.
Democrats who thought President Obama won the debate said it was a close call; Republicans seemed more confident that their candidate won.
During Wednesday night's debate, hosted by the University of Denver in Colorado, the president sparred with the former Massachusetts governor over primarily domestic issues, including the economy, healthcare and taxes.
After the debate, Patch sent surveys to more than 75 key Republicans and Democrats, including elected officials, state and local party leaders, bloggers and politically influential people across Northern Virginia who agreed to anonymously give their opinions in a series of surveys between now and November.
Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population, but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local political activists, party leaders and elected officials in Northern Virginia.
Seven of the 14 Democrats who responded to the survey said that Obama came out on top, but five of them said it was by a slim margin. Seven of the 14 also said they thought the media would declare Romney the victor.
Only a few Republicans responded to Patch's survey, but those who did agreed that Romney emerged victorious from the debate.
They also agreed that Romney’s sharp performance would help get Virginia’s swing voters and electoral votes.
The majority of surveyed Democrats said that Obama needed to be more aggressive the next time around.
“The president seemed distracted,” said one Democrat. Another said they “would have liked to see the President stand up more to Romney.”
One surveyed Democrat said Romney was the clear winner in the debate, calling the affair a “disaster from start to finish” and saying Obama “phoned it in.”
“I think Obama missed an opportunity by not throwing the 47 percent remarks at Romney when talking about taxes and the economy,” said another Democrat.
Eight of the 14 surveyed didn't have an opinion on whether Obama's performance Wednesday would be able to sway swing voters and win Virginias electoral votes. Although they had criticisms, Democrats applauded the presidents clear-cut defense of his healthcare plan.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell released a statement supporting Romney shortly after the debate.
“When he is president, Romney’s 'Plan for a Stronger Middle Class' will deliver more jobs and more take-home pay,” McDonnell said. “He will also implement real healthcare reform, restore fiscal sanity, deliver tax cuts for middle-class Americans and ensure peace through strength around the globe. That’s a winning argument that will surely resonate with the millions of Americans who know they can’t afford another four years like the last four years.”