CNN Flash Poll: Most debate watchers say Trump did better than Biden

Tristan Rouse/CNN

A person watches the CNN presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden at a watch party at the Union Pub on June 27, 2024 in Washington, DC.



CNN

Seen and registered voters CNN’s Presidential Debate between Joe Biden And Donald Trump By one measure, Trump is often thought to have done better than Biden CNN poll of debate viewers conducted by SSRS, most say they have no real confidence in Biden’s ability to lead the country. At the same time, a majority of those who tuned in say it had little or no effect on their choice for president.

Trump fared better Thursday, according to debate watchers, 67% to 33%. Before the debate, those same voters said they expected Trump to perform better than Biden, 55% to 45%. And in 2020, Biden The discussion was watched by viewers He outperformed Trump in both of their presidential debates.

Republicans who watched the first 2024 debate expressed broad confidence in Trump’s performance, while Democrats were less confident about their party’s nominee, the poll found. Nearly 96% of GOP debate watchers say Trump did well in the debate, while a more modest 69% of Democratic debate watchers see Biden as the night’s winner.

85% of GOP debate watchers say Trump has done more than his rival to address concerns about his ability to handle the presidency — by contrast, only 53% of Democratic debate watchers say Biden has done a better job of addressing concerns, compared to 27%. Neither candidate has done much to allay concerns about their abilities.

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Poll results reflect the views of the debate only among voters who do not represent the views of the entire voting public – their demographics, their political preferences, or the level of attention they pay to politics. Debate viewers in the poll favor Republican affiliation by 5 points over Democratic affiliation, making the audience slightly more GOP-leaning than all registered voters nationally.

An 81% majority of registered voters who watched the debate said it had no effect on their choice for president, and another 14% said it made them reconsider but did not change their mind. Just 5% say they have changed their mind about who to vote for.

Roughly equal shares of Biden and Trump supporters — about 3% each — say the debate changed their minds. Large shares of those who support other candidates say the debate changed their minds. Among debate watchers who said before the debate that they had not picked a candidate or were willing to change their mind, 9% said the debate had changed their mind, and 25% were reconsidering.

Just 3% of debate watchers who said they supported Trump in a pre-debate poll say they are currently voting for Biden, while 5% of Biden supporters say they will vote for Trump.

Among overall debate viewers, 48% say they are only considering voting for Trump, 40% say they are considering only voting for Biden, 2% are considering both candidates, and 11% are not considering voting. One.

Poll results reflect the views of the debate only among voters who do not represent the views of the entire voting public – their demographics, their political preferences, or the level of attention they pay to politics. Debate viewers in the poll favor Republican affiliation by 5 points over Democratic affiliation, making the audience slightly more GOP-leaning than all registered voters nationally.

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57% of Thursday night’s debate viewers say they have no real confidence in Biden’s ability to lead the country, and 44% say they have no real confidence in Trump’s. Those numbers were effectively unchanged from a poll taken before the debate, in which 55% of voters said they had no confidence in Biden and 47% had no confidence in Trump.

Neither candidate scored higher on the measure, but while 36% of debate watchers now say they have more confidence in Trump’s ability to lead the country, only 14% say the same about Biden.

The share of Democratic debate watchers expressing confidence in Biden’s ability to lead the country fell from 54% before the debate to just 39%, though most express at least some confidence. By contrast, 69% of Republicans say they have more confidence in Trump after the debate, compared to 73% who held that view before the debate.

Overall debate viewers think Trump will do a better job than Biden on immigration, 55% to 27%. They give Trump an edge on the economy (56% to 31%) and foreign policy (47% to 35%). Debate watchers trust Biden over Trump to handle democracy (44% to 38%) and abortion (42% to 34%).

By 42% to 27%, voters who watched the debate said Trump offered a better plan than Biden to solve the nation’s problems, and 27% said neither candidate offered a better plan. 48% of debate viewers said Trump better addressed concerns about his ability to handle the presidency, 23% said Biden did a better job, and 22% said neither candidate did. Another 7% felt both candidates did an equally good job.

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Debate viewers’ views of Biden fell slightly after the debate: 31% now view him favorably, compared to 37% in the pre-debate survey. By contrast, 43% of debate viewers view Trump favorably, compared to 40% who had a positive opinion of him before Thursday’s event.

The CNN Flash Poll was conducted via text message with 565 registered American voters who said they watched Thursday’s debate, and the poll results represent only the views of debate viewers. Respondents were selected for participation prior to the discussion through a survey of members of the SSRS Commentary, a nationally representative group recruited using probability-based sampling techniques. Results for the full sample of debate viewers have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.

CNN’s Dana Elofite contributed to this report.

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