Romney raises $12 million after the debate

Wendy Carpenter
The Upshot

Mitt Romney has received tangible evidence that his debate performance Wednesday night was a success, receiving $12 million in online contributions, according to the Wall Street Journal, which quotes the Republican presidential nominee's campaign.

The Journal goes on to say that Romney's campaign has also received a bump in volunteers and larger crowds at his events.

The first face-to-face debate between Romney and President Barack Obama was seen on television by an estimated 67.2 million people, and, according to an account by the Associated Press, was "arguably the best 90 minutes of (Romney's) candidacy thus far."

While polls leading up to the debate showed Romney falling behind Obama, the president's lead has shrunk to two percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.

[Related: Debate, jobs report shake up presidential race]

"One in five voters said the Democrat's performance in the contest in Denver on Wednesday made them feel more negative about him and almost a third said they felt more positive about his Republican challenger," Reuters reports.

"I've been in Daytona, Flagler County and St. John's County, and all over, people are asking for signs, asking for bumper stickers, some of them are even asking where they can send money," Florida state Sen. John Thrasher, a former state GOP chairman, told AP. "The energy level is fantastic."

[Related: Four theories on why Obama lost the debate]

Sixty percent of the $12 million the Romney campaign reports as raising in less than 48 hours after the debate came from first-time donors. The total exceeds the amount Romney raised after announcing Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) as his running mate.

The Journal quotes Romney's campaign officials as saying "the number of people who signed up to volunteer to make calls, knock on doors and sign up supporters for (Mr.) Romney has shot up by nearly 63 percent since Wednesday night ... The Republican National Committee, working in conjunction with the Romney campaign and its various state parties, expects to contact nearly two million voters on Saturday and roughly five million for the week."

[Related: Obama, Romney clash on September jobs report]

Meanwhile, Obama and the Democrats raised $181 million in September — their largest monthly total since he launched his reelection bid, his campaign announced Saturday.

Less than a month remains before the Nov. 6 election, and there are three upcoming debates — the vice presidential contest on Oct. 11, a town-meeting format presidential debate on Oct. 16, and the final meeting between Romney and Obama on Oct 22, where they will focus on foreign policy.