Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the winner of the first major presidential debate tonight according to a survey of Republican and Democratic political operatives, campaign consultants, and party strategists, in a special National Journal Political Insiders Poll conducted tonight. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann also had a good evening.
Asked who was the “biggest winner” in the debate, a slim majority of Republican Insiders picked Romney. Roughly one-third of the Democratic Insiders concurred.
Who do you think was the biggest winner of the debate?
Republican Insiders thought that Romney was a winner tonight in large part because none of his rivals were able to land any blows that damaged the party’s nominal front-runner. “When you are in the lead every day your opponents don’t knock you back is a good day,” said one GOP Insider. “Made no mistakes, seemed comfortable, and confident,” said another.
Romney also won points when he was able to deflect criticism that the health care reform plan that he helped enact in Massachusetts inspired the national health care reform passed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. “Handled tough questions effectively, asserted his frontrunner status,” said one GOP Insider. “Mitt didn’t take on any water, remains frontrunner,” said another.