[Update, 9:30 a.m.: Although the raw data on screen showed overwhelming support for Obama, Microsoft says a more detailed crunching of the numbers reveals positive underlying trends for Romney, more along the lines of the broader public reaction to the debate. See the company’s statement below.]

Public opinion polls following last night’s U.S. Presidential Debate are giving the victory to Mitt Romney, but people who watched the debate on Xbox Live and participated in Microsoft’s interactive polling system came away with a very different impression.

The live results shown on Xbox Live during the debate repeatedly favored Obama, as Microsoft’s pollsters asked which candidate came out on top in different aspects of the debate. At one point, Xbox Live switched around the order of the choices, making Obama slightly more difficult to select, but still the president dominated the results.

Chalk it up to demographics. Microsoft has been able to broaden the Xbox 360’s user base beyond hard-core gamers by adding a broader set of entertainment features, but the company acknowledges that its user base still isn’t a representative sample of voters.

However, the company wants its polling data to be taken seriously, and said in advance of the debates that it would be working with the online polling service YouGov to project results that better reflect the broader population, using the raw data from its polling along with aggregated demographic information provided by users.

Update: Here is Microsoft’s statement, based on a more detailed look at the numbers …

Despite the raw, real-time perception of the numbers, Romney was indeed a winner with the Xbox LIVE audience. We asked 10 questions during the debate to gauge who won exchanges or segments, and we found that “undecideds” broke for Romney while Obama consistently lost support from his base.

  • 9 out of 10 times, Romney exceeded his baseline support.
  • 8 out of 10 times, Obama fell below his baseline support.
  • 88% of the respondents were likely voters and 69% engaged to the point of not only voting, but responding that they will definitely talk to their social network about their position on the election.
  • Approximately 30% of participants self-identified as undecided or leaning toward a candidate (11% undecided and 17% leaners).
  • While we don’t release specific numbers for Xbox LIVE events, participation was strong and amazingly consistent throughout the entirety of the debate. We can tell you that we’ve seen approx. 10,000 users responding to the daily polls, and participation in this event far exceeded this number.

Tweets from Xbox Live users provide a sense for what was going on last night …

Image by Chad Kanera via TwitPic.

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  • Jeff

    Really? Xbox guys do not vote. They just game and that is probably a good thing.

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      I can’t address the voting patterns, but the idea of Xbox being all guys who just game is outdated. In my house, for example, the Xbox controller is known as the “Netflix clicker,” and my wife ends up using the console more than I do.

      • Jeff

        so did you wife watch the debate on her xbox then?

        • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

          :) She was out at a meeting last night, or she would have.

    • Nathan O

      I would argue the people who are willing to stream the debates through their xbox would have a pretty high voter turn out

    • Charles W.

      No need to argue. I streamed the debate through my XBox and I vote. I completely agree with Todd. It’s time this outdated stereotype about gamers ends. And rather than make discouraging attacks, I’d rather see more people voting period.

      And to put it in another way, it’s refreshing to see polls like this (as inaccurate as they may be) that cater towards the more tech savy, internet connected user. I’m sick to death of traditional land line phone polls. Pew research even acknowledges a Republican bias due to demographics. One of the largest demographics that vote Republican tend to be older white voters, who also happen to be the single largest group who still uses traditional land line phones. It’s also worth noting that older white voters are the most likely to watch Fox News, the only “News” station that’s been shown to make you less informed the more you watch. And on the other side several of the largest demographic groups for Democrats (those under 30 and minorities) also happen to be the largest groups of people who do not have land line phones with most opting instead for newer technologies like cell phones or the internet. Sadly this demographic is typical more knowledgeable about current events probably due to an increased use of technology and access to information. Every year this polling bias increases.

      That’s just a really long way of saying every time you read a poll on the internet, you aren’t getting a true sample of the views of American. We’re told it’s a view of America because that’s as close as the polling can get.

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Obama! Why is his bar graph red, though? His tie, and his party, are blue.

    • vox populi

      XBox made the decision to run with a more international color palate – one where red is the typical color association for Marxist based philosophies (e.g.: Red China). Viewing the world only through an American blue/red lens is very jingoistic. Hats off to MSFT.

  • guest

    Then that’s about the only place where he did trounce him. Because even democratic supporters on CNN conceded that Romney won. And noone was more surprised than me.

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      Check out the update above … Microsoft has released some underlying data that provide a clearer picture of what was happening. That said, it makes the live results for these things on Xbox Live somewhat meaningless.

      • guest

        Thanks. But it does seem to make their live results meaningless, as you indicate. Surely the team should have addressed that specific point as part of their statement?

  • http://twitter.com/puckyourself Joe McGrath

    The Xbox polls showed what is already commonly known; the outcome of the debates won’t significantly impact votes already decided upon. Romney crushed Obama, but it doesn’t matter.

  • http://twitter.com/puckyourself Joe McGrath

    Also, about half way through, it shut down and said the service (Xbox Live Event) was not available, even after restarting the Xbox (and internet was working fine on other devices). Wonder if they had issues with capacity. Loved the setup though, great idea.

  • Kieran Sniadowski

    The media is puttting their spin on the debate because their rating count on how close the race is and a Romney win keeps it closer!!! MSNBC included!!!

  • Kieran Sniadowski

    I love how Microsoft now tries to spin the real time results to a win for Romney as well …. Xbox be REAL or give it up… if you are not going to report the facts that Romney did not receive anything over 28% down to 22% on any question last night and Obama rec’vd 55% to 62% at any given time as my wife and my friend watched and participated on the Xbox Live Event

  • http://twitter.com/fijiaaron Aaron Evans

    The XBox Live sample is going to be about 90% weighted to the Seattle area.

  • http://twitter.com/fijiaaron Aaron Evans

    “69% engaged to the point of not only voting, but responding that they will definitely talk to their social network about their position on the election.”

    It looks like over 2/3 of those polled on XBox were Ron Paul supporters.

  • http://www.desinle.com/ Desinle

    why would gamers even care about polls..

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