It's just over a month before the US presidential election November 6, and President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney are having their first debate at 2pm NZ time.

According to the latest Real Clear Politics average of leading polls, Obama continues to hold a small lead over his challenger, 49-46 in latest reports. But Obama also leads in the important battleground states, which are likely to determine the election.

Both candidates have a lot to lose today. Romney needs to counter the image of him as an out-of-touch millionaire, while Obama will be called on to answer claims his promise of change in 2008 have fallen short.

The US economy remains in a fragile state and while debates don't always change the outcome, there have been many moments in past debates candidates would rather forget.
Follow along below as the Herald brings you reaction to the debate as it happens, with a look at what New Zealanders and viewers around the world are saying.