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Obama wins second presidential debate, Xbox Live users say

the responses "clearly favored" Obama Microsoft

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

President Barack Obama won last night's presidential debate with Governor Mitt Romney, according to more than 100,000 Xbox Live users who answered poll questions as the debate was broadcast on the service's Election 2012 hub.

According to the data collected by Microsoft and analyzed by market research firm YouGov, an average of 35,000 to 40,000 respondents per question sent in "well over" 2 million total answers to about 70 questions. Microsoft said that level of participation made the debate "one of the largest single-screen interactive TV experiences in history." In general, the responses "clearly favored" Obama, said Microsoft — a sharp turnaround from the first debate two weeks ago, which Xbox Live users said Romney won. In last week's vice-presidential debate, Xbox Live respondents favored Vice President Joe Biden over congressman Paul Ryan.

Moreover, Obama also won over the 2,000 or so Xbox Live users who identified themselves prior to the debate as undecided voters: 51 percent of them thought he won, whereas only 17 percent believed Romney to be the victor, with 32 percent saying they were unsure of who won. Among undecided voters who were leaning toward Romney, 19 percent thought Obama won, while only 2 percent of Obama-leaning swing voters said Romney won.

Xbox Live's swing voters also felt more positively about the particulars of Obama's performance as opposed to Romney's. According to Microsoft and YouGov, 52 percent of undecideds thought Obama was the most truthful candidate, compared to 17 percent for Romney. And 56 percent of swing voters felt that Obama gave enough specifics about his plans, as opposed to 17 percent in favor of Romney's details.

After the debate, 28 percent of undecided Xbox Live voters declared they were decisively supporting Obama or leaning in that direction; the number for Romney was 10 percent.

The third and final presidential debate, which will focus on foreign policy, is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 22. For more on Microsoft's interactive TV experience during the debates, check out our story on what the company calls "the future of polling."

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