Republicans Relish Romney’s First Debate

Photograph by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets members of the public after the end of the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, on October 22, 2012.

Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s debate performance in early October did more than just boost his standings in opinion polls — it helped make Republicans more excited about the presidential race.

That’s according to a Pew Research Center poll in which 73 percent of Republicans said the campaign was interesting, up from 50 percent in September. The percentage of Democrats who said the campaign was interesting remained steady at 66 percent from last month, after the party nominated President Barack Obama for re-election at its national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Four years ago, 70 percent of Republicans said the campaign was interesting, about the same as this time. Democratic enthusiasm has dropped from 80 percent in October 2008.

The percentage of Republicans who said the campaign was informative also increased by double digits, to 69 percent in October from 49 percent in September. The difference in the percentage of Democrats who called the campaign informative declined slightly, to 65 percent from 68 percent, well within the poll’s margin of error.

The survey of 1,005 adults was taken Oct. 18-21 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. The margins of error for the Democratic and Republican subgroups are 6.7 percentage points and 6.9 percentage points respectively.

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