Romney surprised many with a better-than-expected presidential debate performance. CNN surveyed 430 adult Americans who watched the debate and are registered to vote, 67 percent of them thought Romney won the debate, while 25 percent said Obama won. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
These results are in stark contrast to expectations. According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 59 percent of Americans expected President Obama to win the debate, 29 percent expected Romney to win. A Pew Research poll found 51 percent of Americans thought Barack Obama would win the debate and 29 percent said Romney. Early this month the CNN/ORC poll found 62 percent anticipated Obama would win, 32 percent thought Romney would win.