Hillary Clinton Won the First Debate by Every Metric

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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

By now, you’re probably aware that the chattering class has declared Hillary Clinton the winner and undisputed champion of the first presidential debate. But can a bunch of pointy-headed, coastal commentators really see the world through the eyes of an undecided voter? After all, how many obituaries did these eggheads write for Trump’s campaign in the last 15 months, only to find their reports of his political death had been greatly exaggerated?

So, let’s put aside those headlines and bracket every blog post. Here are all the other metrics that show a Clinton victory:

Scientific Polls

Donald Trump won large victories in online polls conducted by Breitbart and the Drudge Report. Which is a bit like saying the GOP nominee won a poll of his rallygoers.

But when we concentrate on scientific polls — which are based on random samples of debate viewers — Clinton was the clear winner.

CNN’s survey found 62 percent of voters saying the Democratic nominee had won the contest, while just 27 percent said that about Trump. That’s the third-widest margin that CNN or Gallup had recorded in a post-debate poll since 1984, FiveThirtyEight notes.

Meanwhile, Public Policy Polling found Clinton winning by a margin of 51 to 40 percent. More critically for Clinton, 63 percent of younger voters saw her as the winner. One of the primary reasons Trump is nipping at Clinton’s heels — even as he’s earned the antipathy of most nonwhite voters and a good many women — is that roughly a third of millennial voters have been pledging their allegiance to third parties. But after Monday night’s debate, 47 percent of voters under 30 told PPP they were more likely to vote for Clinton than before the evening began.

These debate polls don’t always anticipate future movements in surveys of the race itself. One inherent problem is that these instant polls measure the opinions of debate viewers, but debate viewers aren’t necessarily representative of the broader electorate — the voters in CNN’s survey were Democratic-leaning by a net 15 points.

Nonetheless, as FiveThirtyEight notes, the CNN survey has correlated, historically, with movements in post-debate polls.

Betting Markets

Per Reuters:

A Clinton contract on the popular PredictIt betting market gained 6 cents from the previous day’s level to 69 cents, while a contract favoring Donald Trump’s prospects for victory tumbled 7 cents to 31 cents. Contracts are priced from 0 cents to 100 cents, with the contract price equating to a probability of whether that candidate will win the Nov. 8 election…Clinton’s prospects also improved on the Irish betting site Paddy Power. About halfway through Monday’s debate, she was shown as a 1-to-2 favorite, and those odds shortened to 4-to-9 in the moments after the debate ended. Trump’s odds lengthened to 23-to-10 from 9-to-4.

The price swings in PredictIt were the largest since early August, and Clinton’s post-debate position was her strongest since polls began to tighten two weeks ago.

The Actual Markets

It’s been a rough year for the Mexican peso, which has declined 12 percent against the dollar since January. Some speculators attribute a portion of that decline to fears that Trump’s election and subsequent trade policies could weaken the currency of our southern neighbor. But the morning after the first presidential debate, the peso showed significant gains. Here’s The Wall Street Journal:

Following the debate, the dollar was down 2.3% against the Mexican peso, which has been highly sensitive to the U.S. election following comments from Donald Trump regarding plans to build a wall between the two countries and to renegotiate key trade agreements.

“The Mexican peso is widely accepted to be the purest expression of Trump risk,” said James Athey, investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management .

Swing-State Focus Groups

CNN’s focus group of 20 undecided Floridians found 18 declaring the Democratic nominee the debate’s winner.

Frank Luntz’s focus group with undecided Pennsylvania voters found Trump leading in the early going, when the focus was on trade. But when the talk turned to Trump’s tax returns, his habit of stiffing contractors, and his birtherism, the room turned.

By the evening’s end, there was broad consensus among the ambivalent Pennsylvanians that Clinton had won.

The Washington Post’s focus group of North Carolina voters reached a similar conclusion: When the GOP nominee said that he was smart for not paying any income taxes, the tar heels in the room let out a collective “gasp.”

“That’s offensive. I pay taxes,” one Trump-leaning voter exclaimed.

The Mood of Pro-Trump, Alt-right Trolls on 4chan

Finally, the most scientific measure of Clinton’s success: the disappointment of Trump’s meme-savvy minions. Per the Daily Beast:

One of Donald Trump’s most ardent fringe message boards appeared to turn on its candidate of choice during Monday night’s debate, saying he “got played” and that “this was not supposed to happen.”

“I watched it with family mixed Democrat/Republican,” one 4channer wrote. “Every single person on both sides thought Trump looked horrible.”

Hillary Clinton Won the First Debate by Every Metric