A new ABC News/Washington Post poll provides further evidence Republican nominee Donald Trump's popularity ratings were hurt by his performance in the Sept. 26 presidential debate, though new national polls indicating the full extent of the damage have yet to surface.
According to the ABC News/Washington Post poll, while both candidates remain broadly unpalatable to the public, Trump's favorability ratings saw a significant reduction following the debate, whereas Clinton's saw a slight uptick. Trump was deemed "unfavorable" by 64% of those surveyed, a 5% gain compared to polls conducted prior to the debate; Clinton's "unfavorable" ratings were 53%, a 2% decrease. Further, Clinton's "favorable" rating increased by 4% to 45%; Trump's "favorable" rating fell 1% to 34%.
Most alarming for Trump supporters: While 53% of adults told the pollsters Clinton won the debate, only 18% decided in favor of Trump. And when asked about the candidates' presentation of facts during the debate, 32% said they believed Trump intentionally lied, while 21% said the same of Clinton.
The Washington Post characterized the results as evidence Clinton was en route to regaining control of her campaign following recent weeks, in which she appeared at risk of falling behind, though noted the overall impact on either candidate's favorability ratings was "slight."
Other polls suggest Clinton may be on a track to regain some of her momentum following the debate. A more telling — albeit less quantifiable — sign of things to come will be whether or not Trump's reaction to the outcome of the debate compounds the damage.
At a rally in Manheim, Pennsylvania, on Saturday night, Trump went off script during prepared remarks on Clinton's treatment of former presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' supporters, launching into a 25-minute speech on Clinton's incompetence and telling Trump supporters to patrol polls on election day. Trump "imitated Clinton by flailing his arms and jostling side to side" and mocked her collapse from pneumonia earlier this year as well as suggested she was unfaithful to her husband, former President Bill Clinton, according to the Washington Post.
All of this comes at the end of a week that saw revelations that Trump may not have paid federal income taxes for 18 years, a 3:00 a.m. tweetstorm in which the candidate told his followers to look up a sex tape by former Miss Universe Alice Machado and news Trump appeared (fully clothed) in a softcore Playboy porn film.