U.S. Polls Mark Obama as the Winner of Second Presidential Debate With Romney

CNN, CBS surveys find incumbent in better form than in first faceoff earlier this month; Obama closing gap with Romney on economic issues.

U.S. President Barack Obama edged Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the second presidential debate held on Tuesday night, a CBS News instant poll indicated on Wednesday.

According to the survey, 37 percent of respondents said they felt Obama won the debate, 30 percent giving Romney the victory, and another 33 percent claiming that the candidates ended the faceoff with a tie.

A CNN survey gave Obama the edge by 46 percent to 39 percent.

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Regarding the economy, the CBS poll found that the incumbent was making headway in closing the gap with the former Massachusetts government, with 34 percent of respondents saying that Obama would better deal with economic issues, compared to 65 percent who believed Romney was more qualified to lead the U.S. economy.

The CBS survey polled 525 prospective voters who are defined as undecided – 56 percent of them identifying themselves as political independent, 21 percent as Republicans and 23 percent as Democrats.

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At the event, Obama launched aggressive attacks against Romney on jobs, energy and Libya, as the Democrat tried to reclaim the momentum in a tight White House race.

Obama was much sharper and more energetic than in their opening debate two weeks ago, when his listless performance was heavily criticized and gave Romney's campaign a much-needed boost in the run-up to the November 6 election.

The president scolded Romney for accusing him of trying to take political advantage of the attack by Islamist militants in Libya last month that killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

"That's not what we do. That's not what I do as president, that's not what I do as commander in chief," Obama said during the debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, calling the accusation "offensive."

"I'm the president and I'm always responsible, and that's why nobody's more interested in finding out exactly what happened," Obama said.

Romney questioned Obama's claim that he called the Benghazi attack "an act of terror" in the White House Rose Garden the day afterward, but moderator Candy Crowley of CNN corrected the Republican. Transcripts show Obama did use the term that day.

The Republican accused Obama of failing to follow through on the promises of his 2008 campaign.

In one of his stronger moments in the 90-minute debate, Romney took aim at Obama's economic record in office, saying it has led to 15 million more people on food stamps, slow growth and a lack of jobs.

"The middle class is getting crushed under the policies of a president who has not understood what it takes to get the economy working again. He keeps saying, 'Look, I've created 5 million jobs.' That's after losing 5 million jobs. The entire record is such that the unemployment has not been reduced in this country," the former Massachusetts governor said.