Trump-Biden debate: Snap poll gives clear double-digit victory to Democrat

Namita Singh
·2 min read
President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio on 29 September 2020 ((Associated Press))
President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio on 29 September 2020 ((Associated Press))

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden did a better job in the final debate on Thursday than his rival Donald Trump, according to a number of snap reaction polls.

CNN’s poll, released shortly after the debate ended on Thursday night, found that 53 per cent of viewers felt Mr Biden had won the debate, compared to 39 per cent who believed Mr Trump had done a better job.

Similar numbers were seen in polls by YouGov America, which had Mr Biden on 54 per cent and Mr Trump on 35 per cent, and Data for Progress (Biden 52 per cent; Trump 41 per cent.

The gap between the candidates has nonetheless narrowed since snap polls done after the first presidential debate, on 29 September.

In that post-debate poll, about 60 per cent of the participants felt that Mr Biden outdid the president.

Interestingly, Mr Trump lost all such polls in 2016 when he took part in three debates against his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton. Indeed, the margin by which Mr Biden won the polls on Thursday night was the second narrowest, at 12 percentage points, in the last five presidential debates that Mr Trump has been a part of.

The highest victory margin was at 35 per cent during the first presidential debate between Ms Clinton and Mr Trump in September 2016.

Viewers of Thursday’s debate held a more favourable view of Mr Trump when it came to handling the economy (at 56 per cent vs 44 per cent for Mr Biden). The support for the Republican presidential candidate seems to have shot up since the last debate, when he was trailing behind his Democratic counterpart on the economy by 2 percentage points.

Mr Biden (57 per cent) was backed by viewers over the issue of the coronavirus pandemic, compared to 41 per cent who believed Mr Trump would do a better job.

The gap was even larger on the issues of climate change (67 per cent Biden to 29 per cent Trump) and racial inequality in the US (62 per cent Biden to 35 per cent Trump).

But the viewers were more evenly divided on the issue of who seemed to be the stronger leader overall, with both the candidates tying at 49 per cent.

The CNN post-debate poll was conducted by SSRS in which about 585 registered voters participated. Results among debate-watchers have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points, the pollster said.