In the first scientific poll after CNN’s debate night poll of debate watchers which came with its shortcomings, the NBC News/Survey Monkey Debate Reaction Poll declared a winner in the first presidential debate of the 2016 election year.
The NBC/SuveyMonkey poll is the first poll of likely voters — rather than debate watchers. A solid majority — 52 percent — of likely voters who either watched the debate or said that they followed the coverage in the news said that Hillary Clinton won the debate.
Perhaps more striking was the portion — 21 percent — of those polled who believed that Donald Trump was the victor. Also, 26 percent believed that neither of the candidates won.
There are some important takeaways from the poll.
- Though Hillary Clinton came out the hands down victor, a majority of voters said that their opinions of either candidate did not change as a result of the debate. It is noteworthy that the poll did not filter for only undecided voters — it also included people who already supported one of the four candidates currently in the race.
- Clinton appeared to boost her image among her own party as a result of her performance and significantly. Some 50 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaning voters said that their opinion of her changed for the better as a result of the debate.
- Trump did not have the same positive impact on his party. About 26 percent of Republican and Republican leaning voters said that their opinion of him changed for the better as a result of the debate. Perhaps the best news for Trump is that about 68 percent said that their opinion of him did not change.
- Among Independent voters who do not have leanings toward either party, a clear majority said that their opinion of Clinton and Trump did not change as a result of the debate. For Clinton that percentage was 66 percent, and for Trump, it was 67.
- Clinton also improved her image among likely women voters. Almost a third — 30 percent — said that their opinion of Clinton changed for the better after the debate. Only 11 percent said their opinion of Trump improved. Some 27 percent of women said their opinion of Trump changed for the worse, while only 13 percent said that their opinion of Clinton became worse.
There were other findings in the poll, all of which favor Clinton. Trump did not fair better in any category. You can read more detailed results here.