YouGov Poll: Undecided and Third-Party Voters Liked Trump in Third Debate

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (R) and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speak during the final presidential debate at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of the University of Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 19, 2016. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read
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YouGov’s post-debate poll finds Hillary Clinton winning the third presidential debate by a 10-point margin over Donald Trump, 49 percent to 39 percent.

However, undecided and third-party voters gave Trump a 22-point lead.

When asked to chose only between Clinton and Trump in the 2016 election, 61 percent of undecided and third-party candidates picked Trump after the third debate, versus 39 percent for Clinton.

This could be an encouraging result for Trump, because 9 percent of respondents to YouGov preferred a third-party candidate, or professed themselves undecided. A statistically insignificant number said they did not plan to vote at all.

Clinton leads by 47 to 43 percent in the presidential race, according to YouGov – a margin-of-error lead that would become a razor-thin Trump lead, if he really did pull 60 percent of the third-party and undecided voters.

(Of course, not all of Libertarian Gary Johnson’s 3 percent or Green Party Jill Stein’s 1 percent are likely to abandon those candidates, and the undecideds won’t all decide to vote for Trump or Clinton in the sixty-forty split envisioned by the poll, so the boldest conclusion that could logically be drawn from YouGov is that it’s a very tight race – a good deal tighter than most other polls suggest.)

The hearty preference for Trump among these theoretically up-for-grabs voters is interesting, because the internals gave Clinton higher marks on most aspects of debate performance, save “passion and conviction”:

68% of debate watchers said Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump should “pledge to accept the result of the election”, including 51% of Republican viewers. 14% oppose a pledge and 18% don’t know.

69% said Hillary Clinton showed “excellent” or “good” knowledge of policies, compared to 40% for Trump. Meanwhile 61% say Trump was excellent or good at showing “passion and conviction”, compared to 57% for Clinton. While 59% rated Clinton positively on acting presidential, only 40% did the same for Donald Trump.

In another interesting tidbit, the two candidates were found to be running virtually even on most issues, with two notable exceptions: Trump leads by 50 percent to 41 percent on trade, while Clinton leads 50 percent to 39 percent on the “fairness of U.S. elections,” a strong negative response to Trump’s refusal to declare unqualified acceptance of the election results in advance.

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