President Obama and Mitt Romney square off in their first debate tonight
POSTED: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 4:30pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 4:34pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — More than 60 million Americans could watch tonight's presidential debate.
President Obama looked relaxed this week. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, knows he has to change perceptions tonight.
More voters now see Romney negatively than see him positively, and that loses elections.
"Only two presidential candidates in the last 20 year of the Wall Street Journal-NBC polling have had a net negative image at this point, and one of them lost, George H. W. Bush. Romney needs to improve that dynamic," says Democratic pollster Fred Yang.
Romney got good news from two battleground states.
In Florida he's now behind by just one point, and in Virginia down by just two.
Still, he remains far behind in Ohio.
Romney has done well in past debates.
"Going up against Mitt Romney is not a fun thing. He has the facts, he drills you, he's tenacious," says former GOP hopeful Rick Santorum.
Tonight's format is from 2008.
The candidates will stand behind two podiums.
Jim Lerher will moderate the 90 minute discussion, with no breaks.