ANALYSIS; Where Donald Trump Lost The Debate

ANALYSIS; Where Donald Trump Lost The Debate
ANALYSIS; Where Donald Trump Lost The Debate

ANALYSIS; Where Donald Trump Lost The Debate

ANALYSIS; Where Donald Trump Lost The Debate

If Mr Trump made a poor impression on voters during the debate, the press coverage after it surely made things worse.

Amid this frenzy of blame-casting, Mr Trump, ever Schrödinger’s candidate, also declared himself the debate’s winner. Readers of his constantly whirring Twitter account and watchers of the sympathetic hosts on Fox News were told that Mr Trump had been anointed the winner by several unscientific online surveys. Polls conducted after the debate with statistically sounder approaches disputed this. In one conducted by Echelon Insights, a Republican-aligned analytics firm, 48% of voters declared Mrs Clinton the winner, compared with just 22% who favoured Mr Trump.

The Internet Archive, a non-profit project, tracked which segments of the debate were replayed on influential American television shows. Sure enough, all three of the most transmitted moments paint Mr Trump in a poor light: critical speculation about his reasons for refusing to release his tax records, an interrogation about his incitement of the “birther” theory that Barack Obama was not born in America and Mrs Clinton’s unsparing parrying of his claim that she did not have the “stamina” to be president.

“Mainstream media conspiracy!”, Trumpistas may harrumph. But it is hard to argue that even Mr Trump’s most stinging attack—his denunication of Mrs Clinton’s wishy-washy stance on trade deals—carried the same punch as Mrs Clinton’s well-rehearsed zingers. Mr Trump and his campaign surrogates have hinted that he may take off the gloves and invoke Bill Clinton’s marital infidelities in the second debate. Such a tactic would surely receive heavy media coverage—but could easily sour voters on Mr Trump, rather than his opponent.

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