News World US media awards the presidential debate to Clinton, the polls tell a different story
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US media awards the presidential debate to Clinton, the polls tell a different story

The media gave the first presidential debate to Hillary Clinton, but the polls gave it to Donald Trump. Photo: AP
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It was no knockout, but the majority of the United States media agreed that Hillary Clinton claimed a points decision over Donald Trump in their first of three debates ahead of the November presidential election.

The trouble for the Democratic candidate is that many of the online polls did not agree.

The New York Times editorial board, which has officially endorsed Mrs Clinton, accused Mr Trump of dishonesty by “repeating, among other lies, his slander that Mrs Clinton invented the [non-US birth] slur against President Obama”.

“But anything short of dropping his pants in the Hofstra University auditorium would still have left him with the support of a large portion of the American electorate,” the editorial said.

The NY Times said Mrs Clinton went into the debate needing “just enough levity, mixed with substance, to be stern but not shrill, funny but not flippant, smart but not pedantic, able to stand up to bullying”.

“On balance, she pulled it off, swatting his attacks aside and confidently delivering her own criticisms from higher, firmer ground,” it said.

On the west coast of the US, the Los Angeles Times said Mr Trump found himself walking into verbal traps set by “his exquisitely prepared opponent”.

It said Mr Trump “displayed precisely the character traits that make him an unacceptable option even for many members of his own party: a hypersensitivity to criticism, a streak of viciousness, an inability to confess error and a willful ignorance about the issues he would have to deal with as president”.

Conversely, the LA Times said Mrs Clinton was “not only in command of myriad details of foreign and domestic policy, but assertive in challenging both Trump’s policy positions”.

Mr Trump’s hectoring, manic and forceful demeanour was on full display during the first debate, but his attacks failed to unsettle Mrs Clinton, who was able to deflect the challenges to her record.

HEMPSTEAD, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton pauses during the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York. The first of four debates for the 2016 Election, three Presidential and one Vice Presidential, is moderated by NBC's Lester Holt. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton was able to deflect the challenges to her record. Photo: Getty

Around 100 million people watched the contest, which was an opportunity for both nominees to pitch their message to undecided voters.

Mrs Clinton often put Mr Trump on the defensive, saying he had “rooted for” the collapse of the housing industry and had considered climate change to be a hoax.

Mr Trump repeatedly underscored his role as a political outsider, questioning the economic stewardship of President Barack Obama and the administration of former president Bill Clinton, who sat in the front row.

But while Mrs Clinton handled the tricky questions and the constant interruptions to her answers, analysts said that, like her opponent, she may not have done enough to convince voters to switch camps.

The Washington Post, under the headline “The first debate proved again that only one of the candidates is fit to be president”, was strongly in support of Mrs Clinton, but admitted that both candidates’ performances would likely please their core supporters.

The online polls of many large media websites disagreed, with most naming Mr Trump as the victor, nine hours after the debate.

While CNN viewers gave the debate to Mrs Clinton…

Time Magazine readers were giving the edge to Mr Trump.

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Source: Time

CNBC viewers agreed.

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Source: CNBC

 As did the broadcaster CBS.

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Source CBS

And the Washington Post‘s overall poll tracking voter support for the past two months indicated Mr Trump gained a bump from the debate.

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Source: Washington Post

While the various media organisations stressed their polls were “unscientific” and not meant to be an accurate representation of the US electorate, the results must have the Clinton camp concerned.

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