Audiences reiterated that Biden’s criticism of Trump was largely justified (73% said they were fair, 26% were unfair), and they disagreed on whether Trump’s attacks on Biden were justified (50% yes, 49% no).
This is a very positive outcome for Trump. In a CNN immediate poll after the first presidential debate, just 28% said they thought the president had won the debate, while 67% said his criticism of Biden was unjustified.
After all, the debate did not make it big enough to move any candidate’s appearance. Biden’s positive comments before the debate were 55%, compared to 56% in post – debate interviews. Similarly, Trump’s numbers were consistent, with 42% of those interviewed before Thursday’s debate saying they had a positive view of the president, followed by 41%.
More debating observers said Trump’s performance raised more concerns about how he would handle the presidency (55%) than Biden (41%).
Observers on Thursday favored Trump over the economy (56% think Trump would handle it better than 44% would say Biden), and were equally divided between the two in foreign policy (50% prefer Biden, 48% Trump). Biden was more credible in dealing with the corona virus (57% biden to 41% Trump), climate change (67% biden to 29% Trump) and racial inequality in the United States (62% biden to 35% trump).
Biden was often seen as offering a better plan for solving the country’s problems (54% to Biden to 42% to Trump), and voters split over who appeared to be the strongest leader (49% each).
Although Thursday’s event was much less controversial than the first presidential debate, Biden was more apt to respond directly to the evaluator’s questions (62% said he did, 31% said Trump).
In the debate, more men than women say Biden did a better job (60% of women said Biden won, 35% said Trump, 47% of men said Biden won, and 44% said Trump did). The Independents often felt that Biden had won (55% Biden to 36% Trump) just as moderates (56% Biden to 37% Trump) and college degrees (64% Biden to 29% Trump). Of those 65 years and older – a group that supports Biden more than Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to most polls – the verdict was a split decision, with 46% saying Biden won, and 43% that Trump and 10% performed equally well. Betany was widely seen by young voters as the first winner of 66% and 27% of those under the age of 45.
Biden’s margin is 1 point wider than Trump’s victory in the post – debate opinion polls. Biden’s margin was the second largest in the recent CNN poll following the final presidential debate, 58% to 31% different from John McCain’s behind Barack Obama after the final 2008 debate.
The CNN post-debate poll was conducted over the phone via SSSRS and included interviews with 585 registered voters who watched the October 22 presidential debate. Results between debater-observers have a margin of sample error of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points. Respondents were first interviewed by phone or online earlier this month, and indicated that they planned to see the discussion and would be ready to interview again when it was over. Respondents who initially reached online were members of the SSRS feedback panel of the National Representation Probability Based Committee.