According to CNN polls, 60% of debate watchers said Vice-President Biden won the debate, whereas only 28%1 said that President Trump did. These numbers closely resemble the post-debate result from after the first Presidential debate in 2016, where 62% of debate watchers said Hillary Clinton won, and 27% said Donald trump did. From this debate, 69% said Biden’s attacks on Trump were fair, compared to 32% who said Trumps attacks were fair. 57% of debate watchers said that the debate will not impact their choice for president, 43% said it will. Of those 43%, 32% said they are now more likely to vote for Biden, and the rest leaned towards voting for Trump. This poll was conducted by SSRS via phone and includes interviews with 568registered voters. Margin of error is +/- 6.3 points.


A poll conducted by CBS News showed a thinner margin between the two candidates. 48% of debate-watchers said Biden won, whereas 41% said Trump had been victorious, and the remaining 10% saying it was a tie. The poll also asked viewers how the debate made them feel, with the overwhelming majority, 69%, answering annoyed, 31% saying entertained, 19% answered the felt pessimistic, and only 17% felt more informed after the debate.

This poll further asked watchers who of the two they thought was more honest and had more physical and mental stamina. The majority answered by saying Trump maintained more stamina, whereas Biden was more honest and trustworthy. Just like the CNN poll, more viewers said that their judgement of Biden improved rather than worsened, and the same was not said for Trump. This survey was based on 1,039 individuals who are likely to vote and watched the debate on September 29 2020 Margin of error is +/- 3.4 points.


The 6ABC polls were conducted online on their website, and open for anyone to vote. Following the trend of the rest of the polls conducted thus far, the majority, 59%, said Biden won vs 41%who declared Trump victorious. When asked if the debate changed who they’d vote for, a whopping 94% answered that it would not, compared to 4% who said it would. Only 6% of pollsters said the debate changed their opinion of President Trump, compared to 13% of those who changed their opinion on Biden after watching the debate.

Los Angeles Times – Frank Luntz4:

Republican polling expert Frank Luntz conducted a virtual focus group of 16 independent undecided voters from battleground states via the Los Angeles Times. Overall, the group leaned more towards voting for Biden after the debate than Trump. They described Trump as “horrid,”“ crackhead,” and “un-American,” and were positively surprised at how well Biden did, by

describing him as “professional,” “coherent,” and a “leader.” This reemphasizes that the majority of those who watched the debate said Biden was victorious, and can predict that if the elections were to take place today, swing-states would lean more towards Biden. However, this was a very, very small focus group and although it gives us some insight into undecided voters minds, it does not reflect states as a whole.

It is important to note that instant-reaction polls do not represent all the voters or a wide enough sample. These pollsters have agreed to taking these polls before watching the debate, so they are watching the debate with some biases in mind. Moreover, in past elections, winners of these polls did gain points in real polls in the short run, but not necessarily in the long-run. This was the case for John Kerry, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and most recently Hillary Clinton.


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