Trump’s Debate Fallout
Debate night was a tough night for the president.
President Trump was responsible for an overwhelming majority of the 741 interruptions during the “debate,” according to one estimate. Chris Wallace, the debate’s moderator, admitted that Trump “bears the primary responsibility for what happened” that night. “I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did,” Wallace said. “I’m just disappointed in the results.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates released a statement calling for “additional structures” to be added to ensure a “more orderly discussion.” Yikes.
Most Americans agreed that Biden emerged victorious on Tuesday night. A CNN/SSRS poll found that 60% of debate watchers thought Biden performed better, while only 28% chose Trump. The remainder thought it was a tie. Even larger majorities found Biden to be “more truthful” and offering better plans.
A separate poll, conducted by CBS News/YouGov, also demonstrated that more people believed that Biden outperformed Trump, albeit by smaller margins. Data Progress found that 51% of watchers though Biden won, and 39% thought Trump won.
Frank Lutz, the veteran Republican pollster, conducted a focus group of undecided voters in battleground states. The results were grim for the president. The words these undecided, crucial voters used for the president: “unhinged,” “arrogant,” “a bully,” “chaotic,” and “un-American.” The words they used for Biden? “Better than expected,” “compassion,” and “coherent.”
Bettors seemed to agree. Oddsmakers at Smarkets, Oddschecker, and Bookies.com all adjusted their odds to favor a Biden win in November. FiveThirtyEight placed the odds of Biden winning next month at 80%, the highest ever mark for the former vice president. As Nate Silver notes, Biden is closer to winning South Carolina or Alaska than Trump is to winning Michigan and Wisconsin.
Then there’s the money situation. Biden raised a whopping $10 million during the debate, with an additional $31.5 million coming in the day after. Biden had previously set the monthly fundraising record in August at $365 million, and then followed that impressive mark with an even bigger September.
Meanwhile, in Trumpland, a different story. Former campaign manager Brad Parscale is under investigation for stealing between $25–40 million from Trump’s campaign, and another $10 million from the RNC. The Trump campaign quickly scrubbed all references of Parscale from their website, and a Trump family member told Vanity Fair that they “are worried Brad will start talking.” The financial losses, coupled with questionable spending elsewhere, has forced the cash strapped Trump campaign to cease advertisements in the crucial battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Finally, this from the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman: “Mr. Trump, some advisers inside and outside the White House say, has telegraphed to them that he is scared of losing — and in particular, scared of losing to Mr. Biden, whom he does not respect.”
If Trump doesn’t turn it around, he’ll be very scared in a few weeks.