Obama Is Winning Over Undecided Voters

President Barack Obama showed undecided voters why he deserves to be re-elected in the final presidential debate.

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Three down and two weeks to go! Three debates and one election, that is. And the polls are in: first debate's winner? Mitt Romney. Second and third? President Barack Obama.

As I headed home from the studio Monday night to watch the last 30 minutes of the third and final presidential debate, I was surprised to see my husband watching. My husband, an orthopedic surgeon, is not big on politics. Normally he has voted Democratic; often asking me who to vote for.

But this year is different. He really wants to know the issues, the candidates, and his choice. My husband—up until Monday night—stood alongside a number of people, whose numbers are now so small they could fit in the palm of my hand—they're  known as the undecided voters.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 campaign.]

So imagine my surprise, that not only was my husband home at a decent hour, but he was watching the debate.

And there we sat, red wine in hand, side by side, watching. My five-year-old son said, "Is that Barack Obama?" I answered, "Yes," and I said, "Do you know who that is?" And he said yes, he's the president. (Smart kid—of course with a little coaching from a liberal, progressive Democratic mom!)

And when it ended, my husband said, "What did you think?" And I said, "Oh no, you go first." So my husband said that he's been undecided, and as a physician he fears the cuts that come with the president's Affordable Care Act; yet he struggles because he feels everyone should be insured, be able to access preventative care, etc. Socially he's also very liberal. 

[Take the U.S. News Poll: Who Won the Obama-Romney Foreign Policy Debate?]

After the first debate my husband felt that Romney not only won, but that Romney was his candidate. Of course I told him he would have to sleep on the couch!  He told me that Mitt Romney seemed more presidential, prepared, self assured, and he liked Mitt Romney's answers to the moderator's questions better than the president's. He also didn't like that the president wasn't looking at Romney nor standing tall, and he kept writing things down. 

Now after the vice presidential debate my husband walked into our home, jubilant, and said, "Did you watch the debate?" I said "Yes, what did you think?" He said, "I loved it; it was fun to watch. I want Joe Biden to be my president!" 

And after the second presidential debate, he felt that Obama won: His answers seemed to "make more sense," he seemed more confident.

So I really wanted to know the opinion of this undecided voter—who I happen to live under the same roof with and share the same bed with—of this latest debate.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Mitt Romney.]

My husband said, "Obama won. He got stronger with each debate." And here is the winning line of the night, folks: "What I saw was one man who was president, the commander in chief, and another who wants to be, but doesn't have what it takes to be."

And poof! Just like that, the sheets came off the couch! My husband had made up his mind to vote for President Obama!

We're two weeks away from the election. We know who won each debate based on polls of who watched those debates. The real question comes down to who will vote for these two men, and of course, who will not—who will stay home. 

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Who Won the Obama-Romney Foreign Policy Debate?]

The way I see it—and I'm not a mathematician by any means—the president has the lead with presumed electoral votes in his favor. And looking at the map, it would seem that Romney has to win Florida to become president, and also needs to win Ohio. We all know that no Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio since John F. Kennedy's days. But with the states that are the most crucial in play, it does seem to me, that although close, the president will be doing the victory dance on November 6. Although a tight race, I believe the president will get Ohio—but some are saying he might not even need it. If the president wins in the states where he is leading (Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Nevada, Oregon, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, and Maine), he would only need about 17 votes. That's where looking at Iowa, Colorado, and of course Ohio and Virginia come into play. But he could even win the presidency without Florida of course, and even without Ohio. Whereas Romney needs three big wins, the president only needs one—so says the current electoral vote count and those presumed wins for either candidate.

So my husband won't be sleeping on the couch due to his decision to vote for my candidate, and maybe—although it will be a nail biter of a race—just maybe hubby and I will be doing some celebrating of our own on November 6—and I'm not talking about victory dances.

  • Read Susan Milligan: Where Was the Fiscal Cliff in the Obama-Romney Debates?
  • Read Peter Roff: The Real Reason Mitt Romney Won the Foreign Policy Debate
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