After First U.S. Debate, View From Undecided Pennsylvania
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Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 27, 2016
Most pundits agreed that Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton scored a solid victory over Republican Donald Trump in the highly anticipated first debate of the 2016 U.S. general election. Here is a quick video recap of Monday night's debate that includes questions about Trump's tax returns, Clinton's flip-flop on trade deals, questions of "stamina" and "temperament". It also features a Clinton takedown of Trump for using terms such as Miss Piggy and Miss Housekeeping to describe a former Venezuelan beauty pageant contestant.
More meaningful than the analysis of the pundits is the public's view of the debate, as national voter polls have recently indicated a dead-heat between the two presidential candidates. A snap survey by CNN/ORC found that 62% of viewers thought Clinton won versus 27% who thought Trump did so. That's the second largest disparity in CNN's tallies going back to 1984. Among CNN's respondents, 34 percent said the debate had made them more likely to vote for Clinton while 18 percent said it had made them more likely to vote for Trump.
Perhaps even more important than national numbers may be how the candidates' debate performance was perceived in key swing states. While 16 undecided voters in Pennsylvania said they believed Clinton won the debate, only five said that Trump came out on top, pollster and CBS television contributor Frank Luntz found.
Still, this is just the first of three debates and the election is still six weeks away. Stay tuned.