Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

No, Trump Didn’t Win the Debate


Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Deal Hudson earlier this week claimed Donald Trump won his first debate with Hillary Clinton. He said he won because he didn’t self-destruct.

We must have been watching two different debates. I think Donald Trump won the first 20 minutes of the debate, but unfortunately for him and his supporters, it was a 90 minute debate.

He was unprepared. He missed opportunities. He at times didn’t even make any sense.

Now, I disagree with Hillary Clinton on policy, but she was poised and prepared. You don’t wing debates, especially if you are a political novice. He was able to get away with this in the primaries with several people on stage, but he can’t in one-on-one debates.

His supporters have said he “won the polls,” but they are referring to online polls that are nothing more than fan polls that can be easily manipulated.

I like to live in this little thing called reality. Scientific polls paint a different picture about the public’s view of Trump’s debate performance:

  • CNN/ORC: 62 percent though Clinton won, only 27 percent thought Trump won.
  • Politico/Morning Consult: 49 percent thought Clinton won, 26 percent thought Trump won.
  • Public Policy Polling: 51 percent though Clinton won, 40 percent thought Trump won.
  • Echelon Insights: 48 percent thought Clinton won, only 22 percent thought Trump won.
  • YouGov has Clinton winning that poll by 27 points.

Only one national poll has been conducted completely after the debate, by Public Policy Polling, which shows Clinton up by four points.

Two new post-debate battleground state polls show Clinton leading in Pennsylvania by 6 points and in Michigan by 7 points. She was leading in those states prior to the debate so it is hard to determine whether this indicates a bump as well. We’ll probably have to wait a few more days to see what, if any, bump Clinton will have from the debate.

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Trump supporters can take heart however. In 2012, President Obama turned things around after a first debate where Mitt Romney took him to the woodshed. The difference, however, is that Obama’s campaign realized they needed to make adjustments.

I’m not so sure the Trump campaign gets that.

We’ll find out soon.

Shane Vander Hart is the online communications manager for American Principles Project, a frequent contributor to, and the editor of Iowa-based

Shane Vander Hart

Shane Vander Hart, an Iowa native, is the online communications manager for the American Principles Project and a frequent contributor to Shane is also the Editor-in-Chief for, a popular Christian conservative blog.

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