(CNN) – Debate watchers were divided on who won the second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, according to a new nationwide poll released late Tuesday night.
The CNN/ORC International survey indicates 46% of debate watches say Obama won the debate, while 39% say Romney fared better. The seven-point margin falls within the poll’s sampling error.
Meanwhile, 73% said Obama did better than expected, compared to 37% who said the same about Romney.
The results offer a stark contrast from the first presidential showdown on October 3, when 67% of debate watchers said Romney fared better while 25% said Obama won the debate.
In their second of three debates, Obama and Romney faced off Tuesday at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley moderated the event.
Both candidates were on the offensive in the 90-minute showdown. The heated exchange was marked by multiple interruptions and forceful attack lines launched by both candidates.
For the survey, 457 registered voters who watched the debate were interviewed by telephone on Tuesday. All interviews were conducted after the end of the debate. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Looking at party breakdown, 33% said they were Republicans and 33% said they were Democrats.