Poll finds most think Obama will win first debate

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David Plouffe, Mr. Obama’s senior political adviser at the White House, went to some lengths to set high expectations for Mr. Romney and try to lower them for the president.

He said he expects Mr. Romney to aim some “zingers” at the president, and said the Republican candidate comes into the debate more prepared “than any candidate in history.”

Wednesday’s debate will not feature any independent candidates such as former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee, who has tried to gain access.

Most Republicans and Democrats said it was OK to limit the people onstage to Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney. Among independents, 49 percent said they preferred to see others let in, while 41 percent were content to let the two top-party candidates duke it out one-on-one.

Ben Wolfgang reported from Washington.

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