The debate appears to have had only a slight impact on each candidate’s popularity, though if anything it aided Clinton. Trump’s 34 percent favorable rating among all Americans is little changed from 35 percent before the debate, but his unfavorable mark has crept up from 59 to 64 percent. Clinton’s 45 percent mark is slightly above her 41-percent mark less than two weeks ago, while unfavorable opinions have ticked down an insignificant two points to 53 percent.
Trump’s net favorability rating of -30 (favorable minus unfavorable) trails Clinton’s -8 among adults overall; among registered voters, Trump’s net favorability is -24 compared with -12 for Clinton.
The Post-ABC poll conducted Wednesday through Friday found Clinton was seen as the debate’s winner by a 53 to 18 percent margin; 17 percent said it was a draw while the rest had no opinion.
Clinton’s widely perceived victory is still not as lopsided as after the first debate between Romney and Obama in 2012, when nearly 7 in 10 registered voters thought Romney won. But her victory is clearer than after the first debate in 2008, when Obama was seen the winner over McCain by a 38-24 percent margin among registered voters.
Assessments of the debate’s winner vary sharply across partisan lines, though Democrats and independents are more apt to declare her victory. Fully 83 percent of Democrats say Clinton won compared with just 24 percent of Republicans, with independents in the middle at 50 percent. Fewer than half of Republicans think Trump won (45 percent), while 25 percent say it was a draw and the rest had no opinion.
Factual accuracy was a recurring theme throughout the debate, with Clinton repeatedly criticizing Trump for factual inaccuracies. A Washington Post analysis found Trump made 10 questionable statements during the debate while Clinton made three.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, partisans have very different perceptions of Clinton and Trump’s factual accuracy, though as with debate reactions overall Republicans criticized Trump more than Democrats knocked Clinton. When asked about Clinton, 53 percent of Republicans say she mainly got facts wrong during the debate, compared with 22 percent of independents and only 4 percent of Democrats. By contrast, 72 percent of Democrats say Trump mainly got the facts wrong, compared with 45 percent of independents and 15 percent of Republicans.
The poll found most people who thought Clinton and Trump got facts wrong suspect the candidates’ were lying intentionally rather than misstating facts by accident, but the level of suspicion differed for the two candidates.
Among those who say Clinton got the facts wrong, nearly 9 in 10 believe she lied on purpose while 11 percent think she did so unintentionally. But only about 7 in 10 of those who say Trump got facts wrong say Trump was lying intentionally, while about 3 in 10 think he was simply misstating facts.
The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted Sept. 28-30 among a random national sample of 630 adults reached on cellular and landline phones. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points for overall results.