10/09/2012 08:24 am ET

Romney Out-Performed Obama On Education-Focused Comments During First Presidential Debate: Insider Survey

Most political and policy “insiders” are of the belief that the Chicago Teachers Union won last month’s strike, and that Gov. Mitt Romney out-performed President Barack Obama when it came to education-focused comments during last week’s debate, a recent survey by Whiteboard Advisors has found.

Nearly 30 percent of respondents -- who include current and former senior staff from the U.S. Department of Education, White House, Congress and think tanks -- felt that parents and students were the ones who really lost in the week-and-a-half-long Chicago teachers strike, while 62 percent believe the teachers union emerged victorious.

Asked to respond to last Wednesday’s first presidential debate at the University of Denver, the majority of insiders awarded Romney a "B" for his comments on education, while Obama received a "C" rating. While most are of the opinion that the two candidates do not differ considerably on education policy, they suggest one area of bipartisan agreement.

Romney promised during the debate to protect education from budget cuts if elected, but nearly 60 percent of insiders believe that given current fiscal challenges, it would be impossible for him to uphold the promise. Commentators have also pointed to his past remarks and current platform as indicators of intent to cut education.

Overall, two-thirds of those surveyed thought that Romney delivered the more effective message on education during the first debate.

Last month during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, most insiders remained unconvinced that the Democratic and Republican platforms will have any real effect on education policy. Almost 80 percent believe the inclusion of the Common Core standards in the Democratic platform will have a negative impact on linking federal policy and state cooperation.

Neither Romney nor Obama received high marks for their speeches at last month’s conventions. Instead, those surveyed consider former President Bill Clinton and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush more effective messengers when it comes to education than those whose names will appear on the presidential ballot in November.