Wednesday, March 12, 2014
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President Barack Obama shakes hands with supporters as he leaves Veterans Memorial Park in Manchester, N.H., Thursday.
Photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer
Supporters listen to President Obama at Veterans Memorial Park in Manchester, N.H, on Thursday. A crowd estimated at 6,000 people turned out to hear the president.
New Hampshire is one of several swing states in the battle for the presidency. Obama visited another, Iowa, on Wednesday, just hours after he and Romney squared off in a highly confrontational debate at Hofstra University in New York.
Polls showed that viewers believed the president narrowly won the town hall showdown.
However, his biggest victory may have been re-energizing supporters after what they viewed as his inexplicably flat performance during his first debate with Romney, in Colorado on Oct. 3.
Obama made a direct appeal to his supporters in Manchester.
"I believe in you, I'm asking you to keep believing in me," he said just before leaving the stage.
A Suffolk University poll released Wednesday showed the president and Romney in a dead heat. The poll was conducted before Tuesday's debate.
A recent poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center reported that the president's approval rating is 52 percent.
Andrew Smith, director of the center, noted that presidents typically get re-elected when their approval rating is higher than 50 percent.
On Thursday, Larry Sabato, executive director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, noted that the race is difficult to peg because it has lacked "commanding heights or punishing valleys" for either candidate.
Sabato noted that the president's problem is that he hasn't hit his peak.
"This points to an enthusiasm gap for the president, as does the persistent registered voter/likely voter gaps in public opinion polls, which almost always show the president doing better among the registered voter pool than the smaller likely voter pool," Sabato noted.
Obama's speech Thursday, however, appeared to invigorate his supporters.
Karen Ricci, 34, of Manchester, who said she wasn't affiliated with the campaign, said afterward that the president's remarks resonated with her.
"Romney is a salesman," she said. "I work in sales. I know how it works. There's always a catch, a loophole."
Ricci said, "(Obama's) words were simple and easy to understand. He spoke the truth."
Staff Writer Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:
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President Barack Obama speaks at Veterans Memorial Park in Manchester, N.H., on Thursday.
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A crowd gathers and waits to hear President Barack Obama speak at Veterans Memorial Park in Manchester, N.H., on Thursday.