(Photo above) Following Monday night’s presidential debate, Research Assistant Professor Chris Weare, of the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Affairs in Sacramento, asks about 30 participants the “bottom line” question: who won the debate?”
(Photo below) Students and faculty of the public affairs center gave Pres. Obama higher grade than Gov. Romney for his performance, noting that his years working on foreign
policy issues gave him both vital experience and confidence.
A group of 30 graduate students and faculty quickly and by consensus awarded Pres. Barack Obama the laurel wreath at the end of the third and final presidential debate Monday evening.
A smaller than usual audience of graduate students – winnowed by the competing baseball playoffs featuring the San Francisco Giants – said the president had demonstrated a confidence and experience. While they saw few differences between the two candidates on foreign policy, the group from the Sol Price Sacramento Campus of the University of Southern California came to consensus that Gov. Mitt Romney looked uncertain and less forceful than the president on foreign policy issues.
The evening’s discussion was moderated by Chris Weare, a research assistant professor at the university.
Watching the debate on CNN, the group tracked the responses of a control group of undecided Florida voters, whose instant reactions were displayed via a crawl at the bottom of the screen.
Overall, the faculty and graduate students were not impressed by Gov. Romney’s attempts to blame the Obama administration for the unemployment rate that skyrocketed during the Bush years to as high as 10% before dropping below 8% recently.
The students also noticed Florida independent voters’ negative reactions when the candidates derided each other’s positions and records, rather than talking about their own policies.
One faculty member opined that the third debate may have blunted Gov. Romney’s widely reported momentum, paving the way for the Pres. Obama to recapture the votes of his base and undecided women voters.
In the USC contingent’s judgment, Commentator Bob Schieffer did an excellent job of moderating the debate. After both the president and the governor paid homage to teachers – differing about whether hiring teachers would help the economy, Schieffer segued to the candidates’ final statements by saying, “We all love teachers.”