Joe Biden outperformed President Donald Trump in Thursday’s final presidential debate, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult flash poll released Friday.
The survey found that 54 percent of debate watchers believed Biden won the matchup, while 39 percent said Trump did. Only 8 percent of those who watched said they didn’t know or had no opinion.
Despite most national polls indicating that voters have decided whom they’re supporting in this year’s election, nearly two-thirds of voters tuned in for Thursday’s debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., while 37 percent did not.
The Commission on Presidential Debates’ unprecedented decision to mute each candidate’s microphone when the other was speaking appeared to pay off with viewers after last month’s noxious first debate of constant interruptions that many criticized as an unpleasant viewing experience.
Nearly 7-in-10 of those who watched the debate said they enjoyed the final debate between Trump and Biden, while 23 percent said they didn’t. An overwhelming majority of viewers (65 percent) said both candidates were respectful of each other’s time, compared with 10 percent for the first debate.
While Republican leaders were largely complimentary of Trump’s debate performance against his Democratic opponent, 6-in-10 viewers said Trump was more interruptive. One-in-5 viewers said Biden interrupted more.
After a performance in the first debate that was widely panned by voters, Trump exhibited relative discipline on Thursday night against Biden as he played up his record and interrupted far less than he had previously. However, more than half of those who watched strongly or somewhat disagreed that the president is a good debater, while 41 percent strongly or somewhat agreed.
The debate’s moderator, NBC News’ Kristen Welker, also received praise for her performance from viewers, with 73 percent saying she did a good or excellent job in the final showdown between Trump and Biden. More than 60 percent also said Welker did not favor either candidate, though the president and his campaign tried to paint her as a “radical Democrat” in the lead-up to the debate.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted on Oct. 23, surveying a nationwide sample of 1,848 registered voters, 1,163 of whom said they watched the debate. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points, though polls conducted entirely in one day can carry additional sources of error.
Morning Consult is a global data intelligence company, delivering insights on what people think in real time by surveying tens of thousands across the globe every single day.