Virginia: Romney Wins over Focus Group of Obama 2008 Voters

National Public Radio (NPR) reporters watched Tuesday's presidential debate with four Virginia voters, three of whom voted for President Barack Obama in 2008, and a consensus thought Romney won the debate. 

NPR went to Virginia’s Prince William County, which is one of the most important swing counties in the swing states. They watched the debate with four voters, and the “consensus was that Mitt Romney won the debate” because he came off as more “focused and “sincere.” 

Those in the group thought Obama “seemed to be struggling to make his point” and described Obama’s demeanor as “distracted,” “tired,” and “dour.” 

One voter said, "Romney walked away with more because Romney's not the president. He had more to gain, and he gained it. Obama had more to lose, and he lost it."

Kim Deal, 42, a systems engineer/program manager for a defense contractor, told NPR she voted for McCain in 2008 but was “frustrated with both candidates” and said she was more likely to vote for Obama after the debate. 

All of the others in the focus group thought differently. 

Jim Drakes, 48, physicist with a defense contractor said he thought Romney would be “more effective in the near-term getting debt and spending under control."

"I think Romney did a great job of putting the economic numbers in place, and forcefully projecting his economic position,” he said. “The president really stumbled explaining to the American people how he's going to generate jobs. Romney did, and that will resonate with people in Ohio and Florida.”

Drakes said he would like Obama to “display more energy about why he wants to be president” and that his responses were “disappointing.” 

“It looked like he was running a staff meeting,” Drakes said. 

Connie Moser, 59, community activist, did not like Obama’s stimulus plan that did not live up to its billing and just added to the country’s debt. She voted for Obama in 2008 and is undecided in 2012. 

Al Alborn, 64, described himself as a “small-government libertarian” who voted for Obama in 2008. He “retired from the military after 22 years, and then worked in the defense industry until retiring in 2002. He voted for Obama in 2008 but said, “If I had to vote today, I'd vote for Romney,” but acknowledged he has not “scratched Obama off completely.”

Alborn said he thought “Romney did a wonderful job defending against the Democratic Party campaign rhetoric about what he intends to do” and “liked how he talked about working across party lines in Massachusetts.”


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