First and foremost, Obama will reestablish his superiority among women. The President managed to make clear the threat Romney represents to their health care. But also, I think "binders full of women" will bite - it has gone viral on Twitter and Facebook. I also think Romney badly hurt himself with single moms with the remarks he made about it being better for children to be raised by two parents.
Second, one must look at entire exchange on Libya. It is not just that Romney got his facts wrong and slapped down by both President & Candy Crowley. It is that the President clearly nailed him on politicizing a foreign crisis. Because Obama took responsibility, he established a standard for being a Commander-in-Chief and, going into last debate on foreign and military issues, has positioned Romney in a place where there are probably some serious doubts about him as Commander-in-Chief.
Third, and this is critical: for all Romney's saying he will work with others, the way he presented himself totally undercut that. He came across as a bully, one who complained when he could not run over Crowley (big mistake to bully a female moderator, who btw was not cowed) and the President basically punched him in the nose. That now sets him up for what could be a devastating ad - the fact is, Romney vetoed some 800 bills in 4 years in Massachusetts, and 90% of his vetoes were overridden. You don't work well with others by coming across as the kind of boss too many of us have experienced and dislike intensely.
As for immigration, Romney's use of the word "illegals" and Obama's ability to tie Romney to Kris Kobach and the Arizona law and Romney's lying about what he had said about that law? I expect that will be the main focus on the Spanish language channels, and will kill Romney with Hispanics, meaning I think he has now LOST any chance in either Colorado or Nevada, which means if he loses Ohio he has NO path to 270. He also handled his remarks on "self-deportation" poorly imho.
Some in the press will try to frame what happened last night in a way that keeps Romney close. I think he did himself REAL damage in the way he came across as a bully, with women, and as a potential commander-in-chief. His attempt to lecture the President did not work. His raising pensions was a huge mistake and President's comeback was quick, pointed, and drew laughs.
That AFTER that Romney opened the door on his 47% remark right before the President's closing statement just raised the issue all over again, and let Obama slam him on that.
We will see what the real polling data says, but I think Romney really hurt himself. Yes, he will still keep most conservatives who came back after the first debate, but he hurt himself with independents and undercut any gains he had made with women.
If the goal was to influence swing moms, Romney's performance hurt him badly.
What do you think?