Who Won The Last Presidential Debate?
We partnered with Ipsos to poll voters before and after the candidates took the stage.
Most respondents went into the debate with a clear candidate preference, and that didn’t really change. The debate also didn’t have much of an effect on who respondents thought would win the presidency, although fewer people said the race was a toss-up (14 percent, compared to 16 percent before the debate). The share who thought Biden had a better chance of winning increased from 43 percent to 46 percent, though both those changes are well within the poll’s margin of error.
Not the huge win Trump needed.
For Mr. Trump, even a draw would have been a blow to his chances. He trails by nearly 10 percentage points in national surveys, and although he still has a chance in the most crucial battleground states, like Florida and Pennsylvania, his path to an Electoral College victory remains narrow. With just 11 days to go, there aren’t many obvious opportunities remaining for him to change the attitudes of voters.
Maybe the post-debate coverage will focus on something that could help the president in certain battleground areas, like Mr. Biden’s comments about transitioning away from the oil industry. But the president had his own potentially damaging comments, such as his reaction to separating children from their parents at the border. Maybe there will be another big news event over the final stretch. (It was at this point in the 2016 campaign — with 11 days to go — that the F.B.I. director James Comey sent a letter to Congress about new evidence in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.) Or maybe things will just naturally tighten on their own, which happened after the third debate in 2016, even before the Comey letter and even though Mrs. Clinton won the post-debate instant polls after the final debate.
But if the polls do not tighten significantly over the final stretch, Mr. Trump will be left in an unenviable position. He will once again be left to hope for a large, systematic error in the polling, this time dwarfing the one that barely got him to victory four years ago in a much closer race.
Hi. It me, the campaign reporter who also spent several years literally only reporting on Pennsylvania and fracking. There are a LOT of things us national reporters are oversimplifying and dumbing down here. Hold onto your butts for a thread.
-Fracking – more accurately the energy economy that has sprung up around it — has been a real boost to the state, particularly Western Pa. Pittsburgh has become a Houstoneque energy hub.
-It’s always been controversial and many Pennsylvanians have been skeptical – particularly in the vote-rich eastern half of the state. And as both Dem and GOP governors under-regulated, voters wanted more scrutiny.
David Rothkopf and Bernard Schwartz/Daily Beast:
Never Forget the Particulars of Trump’s Epic Homestretch Meltdown
From calling fallen soldiers ‘suckers’ to refusing to commit to transfer of power, he’s run the strangest, weakest, and most un-American campaign in history.
Forget Russiagate. Forget the Muslim ban. Forget Charlottesville. Forget Hurricane Maria. Forget attacking our allies and embracing dictators. Forget gutting environmental protections. Forget children in cages. Forget Putin in Helsinki. Forget the racism and the sexism, the stories of abuse and of tax fraud. Forget the obstruction of justice and the impeachment. Forget even the failure of leadership that initially caused the COVID crisis and its economic aftershocks.
In fact, forget the first 44 months of the Trump presidency. Bad as they were, the worst in the history of the American presidency, you don’t need them to make the case that Trump must be defeated on November 3. Just focus on the last few weeks, Trump’s meltdown in the homestretch of the campaign.
Alexander C Kaufman/HuffPost:
At Last, Joe Biden Leaned Into Climate
Polls overwhelmingly show President Trump’s climate denial is his greatest weakness. At the final debate, the Democrat seized on the issue.
At his final presidential debate Thursday night, the Democratic nominee leaned into the issue on which polls show he’s most handily outmatching President Donald Trump, a fossil fuel hard-liner who has stubbornly clung to conspiracies and pseudoscience in the face of mounting climate disasters.
“Global warming is an existential threat to humanity,” Biden said. “We have a moral obligation to deal with it.”
The Supreme Court Is Helping Republicans Rig Elections
Adding more justices to the bench might be the only way to stop them.
For a judge with a brilliant legal mind, Amy Coney Barrett seemed oddly at a loss for words.
Does a president have the power to postpone an election? Senator Dianne Feinstein of California asked. Barrett said she would have to approach that question—about a power the Constitution explicitly grants to Congress—“with an open mind.”
Is voter intimidation illegal? Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota asked. “I can’t apply the law to a hypothetical set of facts,” Barrett replied. Klobuchar responded by reading the statute outlawing voter intimidation, which exists and is, therefore, not hypothetical.Should the president commit to a peaceful transfer of power? Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey asked. Barrett replied that, “to the extent this is a political controversy right now, as a judge I want to stay out of it.”
Trump’s sideshow fizzles out
The president tried to turn debate day into a trial of the Biden family’s allegedly shady business dealings. It didn’t go smoothly.
In the end, the Nashville debate was more about Tony Fauci than Tony Bobulinski.
Trailing by nearly 10 points in the polls, and facing the potential for the greatest repudiation of an incumbent president since Jimmy Carter in 1980 — a 400-plus electoral vote victory is possible for Joe Biden — Donald Trump arrived at the final debate of the 2020 campaign seized by an issue that was never really discussed.
Partisanship, Impeachment, and the Democratic Primaries: American Political Discourse
PUBLIC DISCOURSE IN THE U.S. 2020 ELECTION: JANUARY AND FEBRUARY
The biggest change we observe in these first two months of 2020 compared to the election cycle of four years ago is the degree to which conservative media activists have shaped mainstream media coverage. In 2016, right-wing media activists succeeded in influencing mainstream coverage of Hillary Clinton, particularly on the unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing associated with the Clinton Foundation, which exacerbated and fed upon coverage of her emails and fueled suspicions of corruption and dishonesty. In the current election cycle, conservative media activists rolled out the same playbook that was so successful in 2016. This time, the corruption allegations were focused on Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and their dealings with Ukraine and China. This story was picked up by mainstream media in 2019, but the core allegation—that Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to remove a prosecutor in order to protect his son—fell apart under scrutiny. By January 2020, while conservative media continued to push out exaggerated and false claims, the dominant mainstream framing of this story had shifted to Donald Trump’s abuse of his presidential power for his own political gain, which overshadowed the well-established and misguided actions of Hunter Biden to cash in on his father’s name. The discredited allegations of corrupt dealings by Joe Biden were getting no play in mainstream media. While conservative media continues to exhibit a remarkable capacity for reframing news coverage to align with the beliefs and perceptions of its core audiences, in January and February of 2020, its power to shape mainstream media coverage was diminished compared to 2016. This is the most notable change we observe and has the potential to alter the electoral calculus in the November election.
John A Stoehr/Substack:
Trump holds everyone in contempt, including Republican voters
Scorn for real people’s real problems is why the debates matter.
Again, I don’t know exactly what about the first debate caused Biden’s margin over the president to grow. No one can really say for sure. Cause-and-effect is not possible to identify in public polling. But the margin did widen. That’s a fact. Trump’s disdain for ordinary human frailty was a part of that. I can’t help thinking (hoping?) even hard-shelled Republican supporters were put off by the sight of such naked disgust for a problem lots and lots of people face, especially amid the scourge of opioid addiction.
The pundit corps was, last night, and is, this morning, noting the differences between the first and second debate, in particular the president did not beclown himself quite so heroically, which, by the magic of punditry, means he did just as well as Biden. Meanwhile, the concrete detail I’m seeing popping up is Trump’s indifference to the suffering of 500-some children in government custody after being taken from their immigrant parents as part of the administration’s sadistic policy of deterrence. Such indifference is appalling—to liberals and others who have living, beating hearts. But I don’t think Trump’s remarks, however soulless they in fact are, are going to move public polling. (Some apparently believe Trump said “good” in response to the fact that these children are still not reunited with their parents. He didn’t. He said “go ahead” to moderator Kristen Welker. Rendered in mush-mouth, it sounded like “good.”)