If President Barack Obama proved in his second debate with Republican Mitt Romney that he can give as good as he takes, following his wimpy performance in their first faceoff, he faces a new challenge in their third encounter: reestablishing the advantage he had enjoyed over his Republican foe on foreign policy matters.
A poll just released — conducted in the immediate aftermath of the first debate — showed Obama with just a four-percentage-point lead over Romney on the question of who would make wiser foreign policy decisions. Before that first forum on Oct. 3 (now known to some Obama backers as “the debacle”), the president had a 15-point lead on the foreign affairs front.
The poll by the Pew Research Center surveyed 1,201 registered voters Oct. 4-7, so it doesn’t reflect the more aggressive approach Obama defending his policies against Romney’s criticism in their Oct. 16 debate.
The survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points, showed that on one specific issue, Romney may benefit from shifting voter attitudes. He’s called for taking a firmer stand against Iran in confronting that country over its nuclear program, and by 56 percent to 35 percent, those polled favored such an approach over avoiding a military conflict.
The final debate, at 9 pm EDT on Oct. 22, is all about foreign affairs.