Last night I said that I thought Hillary Clinton easily beat Donald Trump in the second presidential debate. I got a lot of flak for that. I was told that it was my anti-Trump bias or whatever. Well the results are in. Clinton won. The question is, was it a shlonging or was it close?
Two snap polls came out last night. Snap polls have two main problems, small sample sizes and they are done is a short period. While they do have smaller sample sizes they are still large enough to be accurate. The short time frame is a problem but based on the first debate and the Vice Presidential debate we can be confident that they are accurate. Regardless of their problems we can still use them to figure out who won and what the electorate thinks.
First the CNN/ORC poll. Let me get this out of the way. CNN polls are accurate. Yes their anchors are generally biased but their anchors do not do the polls. Independent firms, which have a reputation of accuracy to protect, do the polls. FiveThrityEight gives the CNN/ORC poll A- rating and determined it actually have a +.1 republican bias. In other words, CNN polls, based on the historic record, are generally pro-Trump. This poll showed Trump being crushed by Hillary. 57% of respondents said Clinton won while only 34% Donald won. Sadly we do not know what other questions were asked so we cannot figure out what effect this will have.
The other poll that came out last night was the YouGov poll. YouGov polls are not as accurate as CNN/ORC but it does give us other questions and cross tabs to look at. In terms of accuracy, they have a +1.6 Democratic bias and a B rating from FiveThirtyEight. The YouGov snap poll had Clinton winning 47 to 42. That is almost a 20 point gap between the two polls but they do both show the same result, Trump losf. I suspect this diffrence has a lot to do with the specific question asked and who they included in the response.
This poll was really good of Trump in a couple of aspects. While it showed him losing is also showed that only 6% of respondents said the debate changed their mind. That is huge and awful for Trump. It means that people who think he did awful will not leave him but anyone who thinks he did good will not come to him. The poll also showed him at 41% among Hispanics. That puts him almost fifteen point’s ahead Mitt Romney in this category.
This also included a lot of bad for Trump. To headline the bad news the YouGov snap poll contained a horserace poll. Clinton neared 50% support while Trump neared 40%. Clinton had 48%, Trump had 42%, Johnson had 3%, Stein and “other” both had 1% and “not sure” had 4%. Beyond the fact that he is nearing a ten point deficit, he would need to get almost all support outside himself and Clinton to win. Given that Johnson has a significant amount of lefty support and Stein has all lefty support that is nearly impossible. Since only 1% of suthossupporting Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton are willing to consider switching sides he is not going to make up ground by stealing her support.
The poll also found that on every issue responders thought Clinton would do a better job. Similarly Clinton was thought to be more prepared, knowledgeable, positive and Presidential. She won the Presidential description by a 57 to 31 margin. I would argue if Trump could win that description we would win this race. Trump won the descriptions of evasive and negative.
Trump has less than 15% support among those under 30. Mitt Romney was almost at 40% among this group. While this is bad for Trump it is worse for conservatism and the Republican Party. As I wrote last month, the worst case scenario is that Donald Trump destroys any conservative and Republican appeal among young voters and killing any Presidential ambitions for generations.
Of course the full polls could change all this but I don’t think it will. I thought last night’s debate was going to the end of the cycle and I think we will look back on Nov8 and see that assessment was correct.
After I posted this NBC released a poll conducted after PussyGate and before the debate.
It is hard to imagine Trump going lower.