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Polls In: Obama Declared Debate Winner

Romney Obama Debate Three - H 2012
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Instant polls by CBS News and CNN showed Obama winning the night over Romney.

In the long war that is Campaign 2012, Tuesday’s town hall-style debate was the one skirmish Barack Obama had to win—or at least, not lose — and, according to the pundits and instants polls, he carried the night for the Democrats.

More important, he reassured supporters concerned by his lackluster showing in his first confrontation with Republican nominee Mitt Romney that he retains the fire and focus to carry the fight on to Election Day.

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While Romney failed to dominate the stage as he did in their first encounter, he also frequently appeared petulant and controlling, qualities that are not likely to help him with women voters, among whom he’s recently made significant gains, particularly in the swing states.

A CBS News instant poll had Obama winning the debate 37 percent to Romney’s 30 percent. CNN poll of debate watchers, meanwhile, had Obama winning 46 percent over Romney's 39 percent.

Forbes also declared Obama the winner.

"Obama was on fire tonight," wrote Forbes' John Zogby. "When asked what he has done in his first term that argued for a second term, this time Obama was prepared. 'I did what I said I would do.'"