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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

CNN Poll: Biden Beats Trump in Last Presidential Debate

Jennfier Agiesta writes at CNN Politics that ” according to a CNN Instant Poll of debate watchers. Overall, 53% of voters who watched the debate said that Biden won the matchup, while 39% said that President Donald Trump did.” In addition,

Viewers once again said that Biden’s criticisms of Trump were largely fair (73% said they were fair, 26% unfair), and they split over whether Trump’s attacks on Biden were fair (50% said yes, 49% no)…That’s a more positive outcome for Trump. In a CNN Instant Poll after the first presidential debate, just 28% said they thought the President had won the debate, and 67% called his criticism of Biden unfair.

All told, though, the debate did not do much to move impressions of either candidate. Favorable views of Biden before the debate stood at 55%, and they held steady at 56% in post-debate interviews. Likewise, Trump’s numbers held steady, with 42% saying they had a favorable view of the President in interviews conducted before Thursday’s debate and 41% saying the same afterward.

More debate watchers, though, said Trump’s performance raised concerns about how he would handle the presidency (55%) than did Biden’s (41%).

Thursday’s debate watchers preferred Trump over Biden on the economy (56% say they think Trump would better handle it vs. 44% who say Biden would), and divided about evenly between the two on foreign policy (50% prefer Biden, 48% Trump). Biden held a wide edge as more trusted to handle the coronavirus (57% Biden to 41% Trump), climate change (67% Biden to 29% Trump) and racial inequality in the US (62% Biden to 35% Trump).

In terms of demographic breakdown, Agiesta notes:

Women were more likely than men to say that Biden did the better job in the debate (60% of women said Biden won, 35% Trump, while among men, 47% said Biden won, 44% said Trump did). Independents also largely felt Biden won (55% Biden to 36% Trump), as did moderates (56% Biden to 37% Trump) and White voters with college degrees (64% Biden to 29% Trump). Among those 65 and older — a group backing Biden in greater numbers than they did Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to most polls — the verdict was a split decision, with 46% saying Biden won, 43% Trump and 10% saying they both did equally well. Younger voters broadly saw Biden as the winner, 66%, to 27% for Trump among those under age 45.

The poll of 585 voters has a m.o.e. of 5.7 percentage points.

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