The widespread verdict of media outlets was that presidential candidate Mitt Romney was the de facto winner of Wednesday night’s debate against President Barack Obama, and Penn State students tend to agree.
Though some only watched the highlights — or had it playing in the background while studying — many Penn State students believed Romney’s performance was better than President Barack Obama’s, especially those who were already supporting Romney.
“I thought it went from being a closed race to being open to anyone,” said Michael Porter (freshman-bioengineer).
But Sarah Kidder (freshman-biology), who didn’t think she liked either candidate before the debate, said she is probably going to vote for Romney.
After the debate, she said seeing Romney’s well-spoken performance made her more comfortable with voting for him, and said the race will be much closer than it was before the debate.
Chairman of the Centre County Republicans Daryl Schafer said he thought Romney had a much higher energy than Obama, and Romney’s supporters would have more confidence in him now.
“I think the excitement level has really increased,” Schafer said. “It’s just changed the tone of the whole campaign.”
A volunteer at the Centre County Democratic Committee, Deb Hager, said she thought the president looked like he was having a long day.
Romney looked more energetic to her, but Hager said she hopes that voters will look behind the scenes and check the facts.
But the first debate wasn’t enough to sway the vote of Alex Wolford (senior-integrative arts), who said he thought Obama wasn’t aggressive enough during the debate.
However, Wolford, among others, said he was planning on watching the next three debates — which includes two more presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate — before finalizing his decision on who to vote for.
“This is an important election, especially for people my age, and I think it’s best if I’m informed,” Wolford said.
Stephen Hill (sophomore- bio-behavioral health) said he still believed that Obama would win the election, but didn’t think he did as well in the debate as he should have. Hill said he thought Romney “knew what he was talking about this time,” but Obama seemed more personable and relaxed.
“They were playing on two different fronts,” he said.