Republican nominee Mitt Romney has defeated President Barack Obama in the first presidential debate, according to a CNN poll conducted Wednesday night.
The poll, conducted following the debate in Denver, showed that 67% of debate watchers believed that Romney won the showdown, while only 25% said Obama was the winner.
According to CNN Polling Director Keating Holland, “No presidential candidate has topped 60% in that question since it was first asked in 1984.”
Of those polled, nearly half said the debate didn’t make them more likely to vote for either candidate, but 35% said the faceoff made them more likely to vote for Romney while only 18% preferred Obama after the debate.
Moreover, 60% said that Obama did worse than expected, compared to 82% that said Romney performed better than expected.
The two men, standing side-by-side for the first time after months of brutal campaign attacks hurled at each other, clashed over taxes, healthcare and the role of government, reflecting the deep ideological divide in Washington.
The debate moderated by PBS anchor Jim Lehrer was the best opportunity to date to reach large numbers of voters in an unfiltered way, with an estimated television audience of 60 million possible.
The debate was the first of three such face-offs scheduled in the next four weeks. Biden and Romney’s running mate, U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, will debate once, on Oct. 11.