(CBS) Debate watchers say Biden is the debate winner. Eight in 10 call the debate’s tone negative and most felt annoyed watching it.
In the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, voters who watched on Tuesday night say Biden won the debate, but those who watched the heated exchange overwhelmingly called the debate’s tone negative and most felt annoyed watching it.
48% say Biden won, while 41% think Trump was the winner. Biden’s margin is not too different than his lead in national polls. 10% called the debate a tie.
Immediately after the debate, the CBS News Battleground Tracker interviewed likely voters nationwide who watched the debate to get their reaction.
More than eight in 10 voters who watched describe the debate’s tone as negative, including majorities of each candidate’s supporters.
Biden was able to convince more of those in his party that he was the winner than Trump was able to convince people in his party. 92% of Democrats who watched say Biden won, compared to 82% of Republicans who say Trump won. 13% of Republicans called the debate a draw. Although independents gave Trump the edge.
On balance, more debate watchers said their opinion of Biden improved than said that about Trump. Three in four Democrats said the debate gave them a better impression of Biden, while Republicans were a bit more divided about their candidate. 52% of Republicans said the debate made them feel better about Trump; 42% said their view of him had not changed. Few in each party came away with a more negative view of their party’s candidate after the debate.
If the candidates were looking for more positive opinions from independents, that didn’t happen. On balance, more independents came away with a slightly more negative view of each of the candidates than a positive one.
This CBS News survey is based on 1,039 interviews of likely voters who reported watching the presidential debate on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. Respondents were previously interviewed by YouGov between September 25-28, 2020.