Who Will Win The Last Presidential Debate?

Who Will Win The Last Presidential Debate?

Before the debate

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Header

hed: Who Will Win The Last Presidential Debate?

dek: We partnered with Ipsos to poll voters before and after the candidates take the stage.

author1: [Laura Bronner](https://fivethirtyeight.com/contributors/laura-bronner)

author2: [Aaron Bycoffe](https://fivethirtyeight.com/contributors/aaron-bycoffe/)

author3: [Elena Mejía](https://fivethirtyeight.com/contributors/elena-mejia-lutz/)

author4: [Julia Wolfe](https://fivethirtyeight.com/contributors/julia-wolfe/)

artBy: Illustrations by [Anika Orrock](https://www.anikaorrock.com/), Candidate Portraits by [Fabio Buonocore](https://fabuloworld.tumblr.com/)

see_also.readin:

[see_also.links]

*

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Lede in

[+lede]

With less than two weeks until Election Day, Thursday marks the final time President Trump and Joe Biden will face off in a presidential debate. As in previous debates, we’re partnering with [Ipsos](https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/538-final-presidential-debate-2020) to see how voters react to the candidates. The poll uses Ipsos’s KnowledgePanel to check in with the same group of people twice — before and after the debate — to see whether the debate affects their views of the candidates or the race itself.

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Support

[+support]

chart_hed: Most people lean toward <span class=dem>Biden</span> but many still think <span class=gop>Trump</span> has a good chance of winning

chart_dek: How likely respondents are to vote for each candidate and how likely they think each candidate is to win, on a scale from 0 (no chance) to 10 (absolutely certain)

chart_win.hed: How likely are you to vote for each?

chart_likely.hed: How likely do you think each is to win?

[+chartGroupSupport]

{.bar}

id: likelyVoters chart chart-bars chart-likely

chart_hed: How likely are you to vote for each?

{}

chart: chart chart-histogram hist-likelyVoteCand-distro

{.bar}

id: chances chart chart-bars chart-likely

chart_hed: How likely do you think each is to win?

{}

chart: chart chart-histogram hist-likelyWinCand-distro

[]

[]

[+enthusiasm]

chart_note: Respondents were also given the option of third-party candidates or ‘someone else.’ Additionally, they could indicate that they will not vote.

Respondents are very sure of who they plan to vote for: 45 percent of respondents said they are “absolutely certain” to vote for Biden and 32 percent said the same of Trump. Very few are torn — just 2 percent said they were split 50-50 between Biden and Trump.

However, despite Biden’s commanding [lead in the polls](https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/) and among the respondents in our survey, many remain skeptical that he can win the presidency. Overall, 37 percent of respondents said either Trump or Biden was “absolutely certain” to win, while 16 percent thought it was a total toss-up (50-50).

image: stickers

skip: Enthusiasm

chart_hed: Supporters are more certain of their vote than they are excited to vote

chart_dek: How likely and how excited respondents are to vote in the 2020 presidential election, by preferred candidate

legend: trump

chart: catLikely chart chart-waffle chart-waffle-trump chart-waffle-likely gop

chart: catExcited chart chart-waffle chart-waffle-trump chart-waffle-excited gop

legend: biden

chart: catLikely chart chart-waffle chart-waffle-biden chart-waffle-likely dem

chart: catExcited chart chart-waffle chart-waffle-biden chart-waffle-excited dem

chart_note: We grouped respondents by which candidate they gave the higher score to (out of 10). Respondents who gave both candidates the same score are not included. Respondents who already voted are included in the “absolutely certain” bucket and respondents who gave themselves a 50-50 shot of voting are included in the “not too likely” bucket.

A large share of Biden and Trump’s supporters said they were “absolutely certain” to vote, and that includes a <i>huge</i> chunk that has already voted: 44 percent of Biden’s backers and 24 percent of Trump’s. Enthusiasm wasn’t quite as high, with just under half of each candidate’s supporters saying they were “very excited” to vote.

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Favorability

[+favorability]

chart_hed: The popularity contest

chart_dek: How favorably respondents rated each candidate

chart: favorability stacked-bars chart-favorability

We’re also tracking how favorably respondents view Biden and Trump. One thing that’s immediately obvious is Biden remains <i>a lot</i> more popular than Trump: His net favorability (favorable rating minus unfavorable rating) is +4, while Trump’s is -24. The share that say they have a “very unfavorable” opinion of Trump is quite high, too — 52 percent, compared to 35 percent for Biden.

In the last presidential debate, the candidates’ favorability numbers changed more than their support among respondents, so we’ll see whether this debate has a similar effect — or whether the moderator’s ability to [mute the candidates](https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/19/politics/presidential-debate/index.html) means that there will be less movement than last time.

skip: Labels

[+labels]

avg: Average

likely: How likely are you to vote?

excited: How excited are you to vote?

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After the debate

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Header

hed_waveTwo: Who Won The First Presidential Debate?

dek_waveTwo: We partnered with Ipsos to poll voters before and after the candidates took the stage.

skip: bylines are unchanged from above

Lede in

[+lede_wavetwo]

On Tuesday, President Trump and Joe Biden faced off for the first time, [in a rocky and, at times, tumultuous debate](https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-biden-first-debate-reaction-chat/). We once again partnered with [Ipsos](https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/538-first-presidential-debate-2020) to track how the debate affected Americans’ views of the election, using Ipsos’s KnowledgePanel to interview the same group of people both before and after the debate. The topline is clear: Americans were not impressed with the president’s performance. Whether that will actually lead people to change their votes remains to be seen, though it seems unlikely.

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Support

[+slope]

chart_hed_waveTwo: <span class=dem>Biden</span> may have gained <i>a little</i> support, but many still think <span class=gop>Trump</span> has a good chance of winning

chart_dek_waveTwo: How likely respondents are to vote for each candidate and how likely, they think each candidate is to win, on a scale from 0 (no chance) to 10 (absolutely certain)

chartHed_likelyVoters: How likely are you to vote for each?

chartHed_chances: How likely do you think each is to win?

before: Before

after: After

[+chartGroupSlope]

chart: likelyVoters chart chart-slope chart-likely

chart: chart chart-histogram hist-likelyVoteCand-distro

chart: chances chart chart-slope chart-chances

chart: chart chart-histogram hist-likelyWinCand-distro

[]

[+table]

chart_note: Respondents were also given the option of third-party candidates or ‘someone else.’ Additionally, they could indicate that they will not vote.

Most respondents started out firmly in either Biden or Trump’s camp, and the debate didn’t change that: In fact, very few people changed their minds at all about how likely they were to vote for each candidate.

That said, the debate did have a bit more of an effect on who people think will win the presidency. Slightly more respondents now think both candidates have <i>some</i> chance of winning, although those respondents gave Biden a slightly better chance of winning than Trump.

chart_hed_waveTwo: Biden got higher marks for his performance — and his policies

chart_dek_waveTwo: How respondents rated each candidate’s debate performance and their answers on policies

table_performance: Performance

table_policies: Policies

table_good: good

table_poor: poor

table: table table-performance

chart_note_table: Only among respondents who said that they had watched some or all of the debate.

Debate watchers were pretty decisive in their verdict of last night’s performances: Only about one-third said Trump’s performance was “somewhat good” or “very good,” and 50 percent said it was “very poor.” Biden’s performance was more positively received, with around 60 percent saying they thought he performed well. Respondents gave more mixed grades on how they thought the candidates outlined their policies, but Biden received better marks here, too: Almost 60 percent said they thought his policies were “somewhat good” or “very good,” compared to about 40 percent who said the same for Trump.

[]

Enthusiasm, post-debate

[+enthusiasmWavetwo]

image: stickers

chart_hed_waveTwo: Most voters are definitely still planning to vote

chart_dek_waveTwo: How likely respondents are to vote in the 2020 presidential election, by preferred candidate

legend: trump

legend: biden

chart: catLikely chart chart-waffle chart-waffle-trump chart-waffle-likely gop

chart: catExcited chart chart-waffle chart-waffle-trump chart-waffle-excited gop

chart: catLikely chart chart-waffle chart-waffle-biden chart-waffle-likely dem

chart: catExcited chart chart-waffle chart-waffle-biden chart-waffle-excited dem

chart_note: Respondents were asked to rate how likely they were to vote for each candidate on a scale of 0-10, and their preferred candidate is the one who received the higher score. Respondents who gave both candidates the same score are not included. Respondents who already voted are included in the “absolutely certain” bucket and respondents who gave themselves a 50-50 shot of voting are included in the “not too likely” bucket.

Going into the debate, each candidate’s supporters were already overwhelmingly likely to say they were going to vote, and last night’s debate didn’t change that. Both candidates saw <i>some</i> movement among their supporters, but don’t read too much into these shifts. Any change was within the poll’s margin of error.

[]

Favorability

[+slopeFav]

chart_hed_waveTwo: The popularity contest

chart_dek_waveTwo: How favorably respondents rated each candidate

before: Before

after: After

chart: favorability chart chart-slope chart-favorability

chart: favorability chart chart-slope chart-favorability

Americans’ negative opinion of the president’s debate performance did not improve an already poor impression of Trump. Going into the debate, more people had a negative opinion of Trump, but after the debate, the gap between Biden and Trump’s net favorability (favorable rating minus unfavorable rating) grew even larger, from 26 points to 33 points.

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Methodology

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[+methodology]

wave_one: All the data presented here comes from polling done by Ipsos for FiveThirtyEight, using Ipsos’s KnowledgePanel, a probability-based online panel that is recruited to be representative of the U.S. population. For this study, the same group of respondents is interviewed before and after the debate to track whether and how their answers changed. An initial wave of polling was conducted before the debate began, with a follow-up wave after the debate. The first wave of the poll was conducted from Oct. 15 to Oct. 21 among a general population sample of adults, with 3,263 respondents. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 1.9 percentage points.

wave_one: All Wave 1 respondents were weighted according to general population benchmarks from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey [March 2020 Supplement](https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/techdocs/cpsmar20.pdf). Adults are the respondent base for all charts except where otherwise noted. The respondent pool is subject to some amount of attrition from Wave 1 to Wave 2, which our weights account for.

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notes.link:

sources:

:ignore ———————————————————————–

Metadata

title: Who Will Win The Final Trump-Biden Debate?

description: How voters feel about President Donald Trump and Joe Biden before and after the final 2020 presidential debate on October 22.

twitter text: Who will win the final presidential debate of 2020, Biden or Trump?

url slug: trump-biden-final-debate-poll

primary tag: Politics

news tags: 2020 Election, Joe Biden, Donald Trump

 

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