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Pollster: Pressure firmly on Obama for latest debate

PHOENIX — Many of President Obama’s supporters want him to come out swinging at Republican Mitt Romney at Tuesday’s second debate.

A Valley pollster said this round’s town hall format does not lend itself to that approach.

The president and Mitt Romney will be fielding questions from citizens, not just a moderator. Pollster Mike O’Neil said the pressure is clearly on the president after his subpar debate performance in Denver.

“This format favors a soft touch, quiet and empathetic response that did not serve him well in Denver.”

O’Neil said the president would be best served by taking a page out of Vice President Joe Biden’s playbook from last week’s debate when he disagreed with Romney running mate Paul Ryan.

“He either verbally engaged, smiled or shook his head or laughed and didn’t just sit there and accept every word that was spoken.”

O’Neil said he was not surprised that Romney came through in Denver but he was surprised by how passive the president was.