Pollster Frank Luntz has been monitoring the debate through his focus group and found that Donald Trump isn’t doing too terribly. Halfway through the debate, 17 felt Trump was winning, 9 said it was a draw, and only 4 noted that Clinton was winning. Another interesting aspect was the group’s reactions to Trump’s 2005 remarks about women and Clinton’s email fiasco.
A lot of media attention was focused on Trump’s awful 2005 comments, where he said he tried to sleep with then-Access Hollywood Nancy O’Dell, who is married, and his frank discussions about groping women this weekend. Yet, Luntz noted that Clinton’s email controversy was of higher concern, and they didn’t believe her response to the email question.
Katie wrote about how Trump promised to prosecute Clinton—a first in American history—over her email situation, which was Trump’s highest, rated moment in the debate. Another interesting angle is that going after Bill seemed to be unpopular with this group, but tying Hillary’s attacks to the women who have made the accusations is effective. Also, and I’m sure you all saw this tonight as well, the group saw that Trump did some good debate preparation.
Trump's tape is bad for him, but Hillary's emails are even worse for her. #debate— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 10, 2016
The group cares more about Hillary's emails than Trump's "locker room talk." #debate— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 10, 2016
It's halftime – who's winning the debate so far?— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 10, 2016
• 17 say Trump
• 4 say Hillary
• 9 tied
Focus group member: "It's clear that Trump practiced."#Debate2016— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 10, 2016