Paul Sracic said it seemed apparent to him which candidate had the lead going into Monday's third and final presidential debate.
As a political science professor and chair of the department at Youngstown State University, Sracic has watched numerous debates. In his opinion, Mitt Romney won the first debate and tied with President Barack Obama in the second match.
However, by the end of Monday night's event, it appeared to be a tie.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama each answers a question during the third presidential debate Monday at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.
"Romney overall had it going in," Sracic said. "He came out very strong in the first debate, and although President Obama came out strong in the second debate, so did Romney. I think that put him in the lead."
However, Sracic said Monday's debate showed a different side to each candidate with the two men switching places and borrowing from the other's tactics. "Obama came out more aggressive than I expected," Sracic said. "He almost seems like the challenger. Romney seems more presidential. It's like they've switched places."
YSU telecommunications professor Walter Mathews agreed that before Monday night the debate race was a tie. He said he thinks the president wasn't as prepared for the first debate but picked up momentum as the campaign season progressed. However, he and Sracic each pointed out that just because a candidate emerges as the victor of the debate series, that doesn't mean he will come out the winner of the general election next month.
"I think they both had made their own impact on their own supporters," Sracic said. "Whether they were able to sway others, I'm not so sure."
Mathews said that in many ways, debates aren't as critical to an election because many voters chose to vote early, and often before the debates are held.
"There's a certain multitude that has already made up their minds," he said. "A debate really isn't going to sway them one way or the other, regardless of how well a candidate seems to present themselves."
Likewise, Sracic said he expects supporters of either candidates left Monday's debate pleased with how each man did.
"If you like Obama, you probably like that he was more aggressive," he said. "If you like Romney, you like that he was more presidential. I think that by now, most people already know the candidate they support."
Mathews said that overall debates have become bad for democracy as more people are attracted to the entertainment value they carry than the educational opportunity they might present.
"In many cases voters aren't focusing on the issues or the content, but on the presentation, the appearance of the candidates," he said.
He said although there's been an element of that in past elections, it seems more apparent with the current race.