I can't imagine that after what we saw tonight the needle doesn't move some.The Neocon take, as per Charles Krauthammer:
He was just bad.
I've talked to a lot of people that have done a lot of research and these sort of instant things, these dial groups. I think what you hear around this panel is pretty much shared by the research that I've seen tonight.
Yeah, she was prepared, she was solid, she did a good job. He just kind of -- as he went further into it... He just -- the further they went, the worse it got. They almost wanted to throw the towel in after 90 minutes. That's enough.
It was not exactly the knock out fight that we thought. It was a spirited fight. I think in the end it was something like a draw. But I do believe that the draw goes to the challenger in the sense that Trump did not go over the line. And the very fact he could go 90 minutes on the same stage ultimately elevates the challenger, that's just automatic for any debate of that support.The Master Persuader impression, from Scott Adams
I think he did allow himself to get very defensive and she exploited that. She kept coming back for things where he wasted a lot of time on taxes, on some of the other issues he felt personally about, and, as a result, he missed a lot of opportunities. She presented herself as she always does. Solid, solid, knows her stuff, not terribly exciting but reliable. I think that is the best she can do. Likable, she couldn't but that is not something within her reach.
He contained himself in the sense that I don't think he committed any gaffes but he allowed himself -- she could find out something personal about him that would make him down rabbit holes at a time when he had wide openings to go after her on e-mails and other items, and let them go.
Trump only had to solve one problem at the debate: Seem less scary. He did. Think about it. Clinton won the debate on points but looked like a recently turned zombie learning to smile for the first time. Trump was Trump. Tie.My perspective, which should be largely discounted because, as is my habit, I did not watch a single moment of it. Partly because it's not worth staying up for, but also because I think I get a better take on the reaction to the debate by not having any personal impression to discount.
My verdict: a minor Trump victory that will not get in the way of the polls continuing to gradually move in his favor towards the predicted Trumpslide.
This is a testable conclusion. If I am correct, the polls will continue to move modestly Trumpward. A minor Hillary win will arrest the polls at the virtual tie point that was reported pre-debate. A big Hillary win would start gradually reversing them, and a big Trump win would trigger the preference cascade and see Trump rapidly move into an unassailable lead.
The important thing to remember is that the substance of the debate, the actual words, the stuff that the media discusses, is only about one-third of the effect of the debate. Hillary clearly won the words portion thanks to Trump allowing himself to be distracted and failing to take advantage of the numerous openings she gave him. But with the non-verbal aspect, the candidates each had to meet a separate objective. Trump had to appear convincingly presidential and look as he merited being on the stage. Hillary had to appear healthy and sane.
Trump did the former. While Hillary didn't collapse, go on a coughing jag, or go into full bobblehead mode, words such as "creepy" and "zombie" and "weird"and "Nixon" appeared often enough in reactions to the debate that it is clear she failed the optics element.
Remember, people's reactions are cemented at distinct and unique moments that vary considerably from one person to the next. I was both mystified and amused by the reactions of some people to my debate with Robert Murphy; I couldn't relate to their perceptions of either party and I was not only there, I was one of them! So, don't make the mistake of thinking that it's even possible to isolate two, or three, or ten factors that will trigger the decision response in a viewer, as it could be a weird smile, a convincing phrase, or a momentary look of confusion that does it.