Poll: Likely Voters Say Clinton Won Second 2016 Presidential Debate
US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump debate during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 9, 2016.ROBYN BECK / AFP - Getty Images
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Hillary Clinton won the second presidential debate, according to 44 percent of likely voters who watched or followed coverage of the face-off, which came in the wake of a controversy around vulgar comments Donald Trump made about women in 2005. Thirty-four percent of likely voters said Trump won the debate.
More voters thought Trump did better this time around, however, as Clinton’s 10-point margin of victory over Trump following the second debate is much smaller than the 31-point margin she held over him after the first presidential debate.
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These results are according to an NBC News|SurveyMonkey debate reaction poll conducted Monday, October 10 following the second presidential debate.
Although Clinton is seen as the winner, a majority (59 percent) of debate followers said her performance did not change their opinion of her. Just under a quarter (23 percent) of likely voters said their opinion of the Democratic nominee changed for the worse after the debate, and 17 percent said their opinion changed for the better.
Compared to voters’ opinions after the first presidential debate, Clinton did slightly worse this time around; slightly more voters said their opinion of her changed for the worse after the second presidential debate than the first—23 percent after the second to 17 percent after the first. Slightly fewer likely voters said their opinion changed for the better after the second debate than said so after the first debate—17 percent after the second and 26 percent after the first.
In the first debate, a large majority of likely voters (60 percent) said their opinion of Trump did not change as a result of the debate. After Sunday night’s performance, just 48 percent said their opinion of Trump did not change. Slightly more said their opinion of him changed for the worse (29 percent) than for the better (23 percent) following Sunday night’s debate.
Overall, a majority of likely voters who watched or followed the debate have negative feelings about what Clinton (56 percent) or Trump (63 percent) would do in office if elected president. A plurality of voters, however, (44 percent) said they would be scared about what Trump would do in office. About a third (32 percent) said they would be scared of what Clinton would do.
Though more likely voters said they are excited about what Trump would do in office (13 percent for Trump to 9 percent for Clinton), more voters overall would feel positively about her presidency (43 percent) than Trump’s (36 percent).
The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Debate Reaction poll was conducted online immediately following the second presidential debate on October 10, 2016 among a national sample of 3,834 adults who are likely to vote. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. For full results and methodology, click here.
John Lapinski is director of the NBC News Elections Unit.