New Jersey political insiders agreed: Mitt Romney won Round 1 against President Barack Obama.
According to a Patch flash poll immediately following Wednesday night's presidential debate in Denver, Colo., 63 percent of both Democratic and Republican respondents believed Romney was victorious.
"This is a game-changer, especially in a close race," one Democratic respondent said. "Obama was definitely off his game."
All 29 Republican respondents believed Romney won by either a wide or slim margin, while 11 of the 27 Democratic respondents agreed.
"Mr. Romney taking the President to task regarding the misrepresentation of his tax plan," one Republican insider said of the moment that would stand out most among New Jersey conservatives. "Mr. Romney was clearly on the offensive tonight."
Seventy percent of all respondents, including 20 or 27 Democratic insiders, believed Romney will be declared the "consensus winner" by the national media.
"This was a disaster for the President, [a] home run for Gov. Romney," a Democratic insider said.
"Obama looked nervous, unprepared, and angry at being challenged," another Democrat said.
Nearly 45 percent of the Democratic respondents disagreed with the statement, "Barack Obama's October 3 debate performance makes it more likely he will win" next month's election, while 22 percent were not sure.
"Obama was unconfident and squeamish and gave answers in a way that made me feel like he didn't believe his own words, when saying out loud what he's all about," a Democratic insider said. "Obama found his own answers hard to believe."
All but one Republican insider agreed that Romney's performance on Tuesday makes it more likely the GOP candidate will win next month.
"Mitt Romney came across as knowledgeable, steady and likeable—not at all the evil corporate raider as labeled by Democrats," a Republican respondent said. "His campaign should jump on the bump he'll get from this performance."
"Romney appearing presidential, substantive, decisive, and likable," will stand out most among New Jersey swing voters, one Republican said.
"NJ swing voters will now see Romney doesn't wear horns," the respondent said. "And he actually makes a lot of sense."