Hillary Clinton holds a nine-point overall lead over Donald Trump after Sunday’s presidential debate, according to a new NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll.
The new numbers indicate that, while Clinton still bests Trump by a significant margin, Trump’s debate performance earned him a slight recovery in his overall level of support -– particularly from Republicans -- which appeared to be in freefall after Friday’s release of a 2005 audiotape of Trump’s sexually aggressive comments about touching and kissing women without their consent.
In a four-way matchup, Clinton now has the support of 46 percent of likely voters, while Trump has 37 percent, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson has eight percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein has two percent.
In a head-to-head race, Clinton bests Trump by 10 points, 50 percent to 40 percent.
The new data incorporate interviews that were conducted after Sunday night’s debate. Poll data released by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal on Monday, which only included interviews conducted before the debate, showed Clinton with a 11 point lead in a four-way contest and a 14-point lead in a head-to-head matchup.
Among only those respondents contacted after the debate, Clinton’s lead shrank to a seven point advantage in both a four-way matchup and in a head-to-head race -- reflecting the same margin that Clinton showed in a mid-September NBC/WSJ poll.
After Sunday’s debate, Republicans also showed more support for Trump as their standard-bearer. Before the debate, 67 percent of Republicans said that GOP House and Senate candidates should back Trump, a share that has now increased to nearly three-quarters – 74 percent, including 83 percent of Republicans reached post-debate on Monday.
“After a weekend pause, Republicans once again consolidated in support of Trump,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, whose firm Public Opinion Strategies conducted this survey along with Democratic pollster Peter Hart.
With the debate in the rear-view mirror, fewer voters also now say that the 2005 audiotape of Trump’s lewd remarks should disqualify him from the White House.
Before the debate, 38 percent of likely voters said the tape is disqualifying and Trump should withdraw from the race, while 42 percent disagreed. But in the overall results after the debate, 36 percent of likely voters said the tape is disqualifying, while 47 percent disagreed.
While his standing in the polls improved slightly after his performance Sunday night, Trump’s favorability did not.
His favorability rating now stands at 30 percent positive, 63 percent negative. That’s compared to 29 percent positive and 63 percent negative before the debate.
The poll was conducted October 8-10, 2016. The margin of error for 806 likely voters polled between October 8-10, including after the debate, is +/-3.5 percent. The margin of error for all registered voters is +/- 3.3 percent.