Hillary Clinton Gets A 4 Point Bump In First Post-Debate Poll

It’s interesting how the media sentiment has shifted on Hillary Clinton. Every since the conventions all you could hear was pundits sagely telling is that it will all be decided at the debates. This received wisdom only intensified in its conviction right through to Monday where it reached a crescendo.

Post debate though, we hear an awful lot of Beltway journalists saying, yes, Hillary Clinton did well and Donald Trump sure didn’t but, how much will that matter? They seem very agnostic about whether it will matter at all.

Howard Fineman admitted Trump had the worst debate performance in modern times-though he like most of his fellow pundits falsely believed he made some great points in his word salad on trade.

Ezra Klein and Scott Sumner on the Beltway Media’s Original Sin

O/T: I’m gratified to see that Scott Sumner HTed this post and that he too looks at the media’s illusions about trade, it’s placing style over substance, and it’s refusal to admit that it’s not just a passive barometer of the news but that it also shapes the news in the way the media chooses to cover it.

Ezra Klein on Trump and the media

In any case, Fineman admitted Trump had a trainwreck of a debate performance. But right away he qualifies it:

Trump’s Debate Performance Was The Worst Ever

“Had the debate been a prize fight, it would have been stopped in the third round. But it’s not clear in this crazy campaign how much it will matter.”


It’s just amazing the 180 reversal from just a day ago. Nate Silver also notices it:

And lo and behold, Morning Consult is out with the first post-debate poll and: Hillary has a 4 point bounce.

“Political analysts were quick to declare victory for Hillary Clinton after the Democratic nominee’s first debate with Donald Trump on Monday night, and a new Politico/Morning Consult poll shows roughly half of likely voters agree with that assessment.”

“According to the survey of likely voters conducted immediately after the debate at Hofstra University, 49 percent of respondents said Clinton won the first bout with her GOP foe. About one-fourth (26 percent) thought the New York businessman edged the former secretary of State, and about the same percentage (25 percent) were undecided.”

“Perceptions on debate performance mostly broke along partisan lines, but Republicans were more likely to declare Clinton the winner than Democrats were to state victory for her GOP counterpart. About one-fifth of Republicans (18 percent) said Clinton won the debate, compared with just 7 percent of Democrats who thought Trump was the victor. And 12 percent of Trump supporters gave Clinton the nod, whereas just 2 percent of Clinton backers named Trump the winner.”

“It’s a clear victory for Clinton, and it comes as both national and state polls have tightened over the past several weeks. She is off to a good start on the debate front, which Americans view as important in deciding how they will cast their vote in November. One-third of voters (34 percent) said debate performance will be a very important in how they vote, while 29 percent said it would be somewhat important, compared with 34 percent of voters said it wouldn’t be too important or not important at all.”(Source)

Of course, even in releasing the results they have to editorialize that it’s just a ‘small effect.’

“But the impact of Monday’s debate is still small. Just 9 percent of voters said the debate changed their minds about who they will be voting for, while about eight out of 10 said it wouldn’t matter. Before the debate, Trump led Clinton by 1 point in the four-way race with Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. But Clinton now leads Trump by 3 points (41 percent to 38 percent), and in a head-to-head scenario, she leads by 4 points (45 percent to 41 percent).”

Couple thoughts:

  1. It’s only been a day. To really assess the impact you need a few more days. The impact could end up being bigger.
  2. But is 9% having their minds changed a small difference? Most voters are partisans who are set with Trump or Hillary. Out of the pool of genuinely undecided or squishy voters, 9% doesn’t sound so small.
  3. If 9% of voters previously with Trump, with third-party, or undecided suddenly switched to Hillary this effect wouldn’t be small at all.

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